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A good Brooklyn beer source

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A good Brooklyn beer source

tom philpott | Oct 17, 2001 11:15 AM

This can hardly be a find, given that it resides in the heart of trendy Cobble Hill. But I would like to remind Brooklyn beer fiends of the treasure that is American Beer Distributing, Inc., which occupies an unassuming shop front at 256 Court.

I first heard about the place at the recent American beer tasting given by Slowfood at the Puck Building. The event was mostly disappointing. It featured a dozen or so small brewers; for some reason, each one was limited to featuring only product. Predictably, this gave rise to a whole bunch of pale ales, and very few stouts, porters, or more obscure styles. Unforgivably, insensibly, Sierra Nevada and Anchor—those two pillars of the US microbrew scene—sent their most famous, ubiquitous beers: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anchor Steam Beer. Now, these are fine, well-made ales; but my Prospect Heights corner store carries one, and a short walk into Park Slope will get me the other. For this I shelled out 30 bucks? Where was the latest barley wine release, or a preview of the new holiday ales?

Also, the states of Vermont and Massachusetts, where I have found excellent beers, were woefully underrepresented. Anyone ever try McNeil’s? If you love beer, get thee to Bratelboro, home of this excellent product.

There were, of course, some very good beers at the Slowfood event. One of them, if I remember right, was made by Long Trial, another Vermont stalwart, and I asked the guy behind the table where I could find it in NY, given that beer selections here tend to be, let’s say, limited. The man produced the card to above-mentioned beer distributor, mumbling something about how NY delis don’t have the shelf space for big selections, but that I should give this place a try.

I did. The place is very friendly. The selection of American microbrews is the best I’ve seen in NY, but still not especially impressive. However, the place is stocked with some real English gems, bottle-conditioned wonders whose existence I had been ignorant of. As the weather turns colder I will be sampling some of these, and sharing my tasting notes here.

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