This week I decided to push my comfort zone and not only leave Bushwick for the little traversed (at least by this Bushwickian) neighborhood of the Financial District, but to sample brews imported from Germany, on draft at Bavaria Bier Haus instead of my usual all-Amercian fare. Bavaria Bier Haus is located in one of my favorite areas of FiDi that I first discovered as a college student on an internship one summer, but never found my way back to again until now: Stone Street.
In the mid-1600s, when New York was Nieuw Amsterdam and the “mayor” was actually burgomasters — or Dutch magistrates — Stone Street was known as Brewers’ Street and was not the quaint historic block it is today. At one point locals appealed to their burgomasters, whining that the street was becoming seedy and “unfit for public use.” The solution: “Pave the said street with round stone on the first favorable opportunity.” The rest is history, or rather, the street went through various transformations before closing to traffic in the early 00s so that bars could serve food and drinks outside in the summer, one of Bavaria Bier Haus’ biggest draws as spring approaches, though it’s quaint German style makes it a prime destination anytime.
Bavaria Bier Haus serves 13 German beers on tap at any time, by the half liter, full liter, 2 liter, and, yes my friends, the massive, ass-whoopping 3 liter – the equivalent of nearly 8.5 bottles! They have a special relationship with Erdinger, the world’s largest wheat brewery, founded in 1886 in Erding, a small town in the Bavaria region of Germany. Even their long wooden bars were built in Erding by a crew who was flow out to the states to complete the project on site. Bavaria Bier Haus consistently features at least three Erdinger beers in their tap line up.
My photographer, Bart Koscinski and I sampled several beers before deciding to stick to the bar’s roots and get Erdinger brews (a half liter in my case and an ambitious 2 liters in his) to go with dinner. We tried the Schofferhofer, a shandy-esque beer that was so sweet and grapefruity it almost tasted like soda pop. Next we tried the Erdinger Hefe-Weizen, followed by the Schneider Aventinus, a bready, banana-y concoction, and finally the Kostritzer Schwerz, which was very grainy and yeasty, with a huge aroma of roasted malt.
Erdinger Hefe-Weizen, or literally Erdinger’s “yeast wheat” beer, is an unfiltered German beer style. This means the leftover particles of yeast float in the beer throughout its duration, giving it a cloudy apearannce. Mine was a light yellow-orange with a thin white head and a slightly bready, citrusy aroma, though nothing near the dominance of orange in a Blue Moon. The citrus carried into the taste which had banana and bready flavors as well, although the yeast bite was rather light. All-in-all entirely drinkable if not hugely memorable beyond the experience of the bar itself. Bart settled on the Erdinger Hefe-Weizen Dark, a dunkel style beer. The Hefe-Weizen Dark pours expectedly more dark than it’s brother – a deep brown with an aroma of oatmeal and roasted malt to match. The taste is a bit spicey, with cloves and hints of raisin to it, but a bit thin on the tongue and weak on the finish. Bart’s was served in a 2-liter boot, which I gladly helped him knock back! For this alone I suggest you head down to FiDi next time you’re feeling adventurous and get your own!
Bavaria Bier Haus gets 3/5 stars – 2 for the badass experience of drinking in a traditional Bavarian beer hall on a historic New York street, and 1 for the unique opportunity to drink all-German brews on tap in every size leading up to the full boot.
Bavaria Bier Haus is located at 19 S William St New York, NY 10004. To get there direct from Bushwick, take the J to Broad St. Beers are $8 per 1/2 liter.
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks. Let her know what you’re drinking and where via Twitter and Instagram, hashtag #bushwickbrews.2014-02-03