The term lager tends to get a bad rap because it brings to mind some of the worst of American beer – Budweiser, Miller, Coors, etc. They are beers that you most often drink with one purpose in mind: getting drunk enough to forget what you’re drinking. I normally steer clear of lagers – even those brewed by craft breweries – when I hit the bar for a pint. However, as I sat at the dimly lit Three Diamond Door this weekend all my self-righteous ideas about lagers imploded when I tried a glass of Uinta’s Baba Black Lager.
Baba Black Lager pours an opaque brown, so dark that a friend of mine raised one skeptical eyebrow as I offered her a sip. “What the hell is that?” said the look on her face. Loogie-laced coffee grounds? Rancid bong water? But being a brave and trusting soul she tried it, and then proceeded to order herself a pint. Don’t be afraid of Baba’s murky depths; they hide only delicious and smoky, coffee flavors produced by the dark malt used to brew it. That said, in some ways this beer has more in common with styles such as porters and stouts than its pale cousin, the light lager. But beyond the cut of its bittering hops, its slightly creamy, slightly caramelized, roasted body, makes Baba Black Lager the black sheep of the family.
Unita Brewing Company (pronounced you-in-tah) is named for an East-West mountain range in its native Utah, which in turn is named for the Ute Indians who once resided there. Since setting up shop in a mechanics garage in Salt Lake City in 1993, they have become a large and respected craft brewery; shipping bottles, kegs, and cans across the country. Unita does some other pretty cool stuff too, operating their facilities entirely on solar and wind power, and donating the spent grain from their brews to feed local ranch animals. We’re glad they’ve made it out to Bushwick, particularly to such a great spot as Three Diamond Door.
Not unlike the Baba, Three Diamond Door is dark and sophisticated. With a long, wooden, art deco bar and cozy vintage booths, this new locale on Knickerbocker is a great place to enjoy a pint. They feature fifteen beers and a prosecco on tap at any given time. Though their tap list could stand a little beefing up with some more unique and quality brews, so long as they have Baba on tap I’ll be coming back for more!
Unita Brewing Company’s Baba Black Lager gets 3/5 stars – 1 for its delicious roasted malt flavors that stand out but don’t dominate in the way of a stout or a porter, 1 for its appropriateness to season and locale, and 1 for changing the game on lagers.
Three Diamond Door is located at 211 Knickerbocker Ave, between Jefferson and Troutman. It opens at 2pm Mon – Fri and at 12pm on weekends, and closes nightly at 4am. My Baba Black Lager was $6.
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks.