Food & Drinks

Bottoms up at the Brooklyn Brewery

Everybody loves guzzling draft beer, but not all bars in New York are very disciplined about cleaning out their tap lines. One way to avoid skunky beer is to suckle it straight from the teat, so to speak, at the Brooklyn Brewery.

Every Friday night from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., the brewery opens its doors to the beer-swilling public for one of the best happy hours in New York. The cavernous warehouse just across the East River from Manhattan in Williamsburg is a refreshing alternative to cramped city pubs. Acquire some wooden beer tokens at a very favorable exchange rate and grab yourself a Winter Ale, Weissbock, or whatever’s in season. I’m an Abbey Ale man myself. Check out the rotating art exhibits, shoot a game of pool, get funky to the musical stylings of the DJ, play Parcheesi at one of the dozen-plus picnic tables, or just set your beer on a stack of pallets like God intended and check out the steady parade of beer society.

The early part of the evening is popular with hipster parents who sip and socialize as their leather jacket-clad youngsters chase around the amazingly agile brewery cat. Refugees from the work week, from Greenpoint lager louts to Manhattan slicksters, arrive between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., and the place is usually honking by 10 p.m. The beautiful thing about it is they kick everybody out at 11 p.m., before things get out of hand. It’s a good time to head home, and an even better time to move on to the next venue. For a more academic brewery experience, drop by on Saturday afternoon for a tour.