While brewing at home is great fun, the Brooklyn Brew Shop team likes to get out and grab a beer every once and a while. Who doesn't? With that in mind, we would like to give our fellow beer drinkers the scoop on some of the best beer bars in our area. From Brooklyn to Manhattan to the occasional stop out of town, here's where you might find us drinking tonight.
Beer Culture looks, at first glance, almost depthless. Like a lengthy tunnel, the bar seems to slink into the depths of 45th Street, a dusky speakeasy just a stone’s throw from city attractions like the Birdland Jazz Club and the Eugene O’Neil Theater. It’s a humble corridor of craft beer, just a tiny orange sign, proudly wearing the shop’s name, calling out to passersby: “I’m here for beer lovers.”
This space holds a boast-worthy collection of beers, with over 400 bottles and cans from all over the world waiting to be enjoyed. Such are the efforts of Matt Gebhard, former beverage director at Midtown bar and cafe, BXL East, who said that Beer Culture, with it’s many beers, is fueled by passion and appreciation for those who work in the brewing field.
“My family, we're all small business owners,” Gebhard said. “We didn't come from much, so being able to build this bar ... it really makes me appreciate those who are really working hard for what they're doing, and [who] do it for the passion of it."
That passion is on display behind the bar in a wonderful way: despite their tiny batches and often limited production, craft breweries are finding space on Beer Culture’s shelves. This is no accident, said Gebhard, who would like Beer Culture to serve as a “test area” for starting breweries, as a way to get their products into the wild for the first time.
“That allows us the opportunity to really run through a bunch of different little breweries, or bring in one of theirs, or two of theirs,” Gebhard said. “We try to offer as much oddball, low production, small batch stuff as possible. That's where my heart lies.”
Gebhard’s efforts are evident in the beer selection: Beer Culture’s menu is rife with local names, including Brooklyn-based Other Half Brewing and Long Island’s Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. The shop's house beer, a farmhouse ale called BC1, was brewed by Long Island City’s Transmitter Brewing in collaboration with Gebhard himself, perhaps the boldest manifestation of the bar’s loyalty to local beer. Between beers like these and the massive collection of Belgian and German-style beer on the shelves, Beer Culture’s variety is genuinely astonishing, just the way Gebhard likes it.
“Go to any Joe's bar on the corner, it's easy to get 30 draft beers and 30 bottles, and that's great,” he said. “But once you step it up a little bit, that extra couple of hundred beers makes a difference.”
Suffice it to say that those looking to taste beers from near and far will find plenty at Beer Culture. Start with their house beer, which, long tasting short, is delicious.
Visit: Beer Culture // 328 W. 45th St. New York, NY 10036 // 646.590.2139