Dear Bushwick has been a neighborhood hit since they first opened their doors on Wilson Ave in the fall of 2012 and introduced us to a classy modern version of British pub food, (hold the mushy peas)! Perhaps there is no better reflection of the British joint done on New York soil of than their taplist, which currently features malty brews from the cosmopolitan epicenters on both sides of the pond: the Coffee Porter from Meantime, a brewery based in London, and ERIC More Cowbell! Chocolate Milk Stout from SingleCut, a small Queens-based craft brewery.
Dear Bushwick owner Darren Grenia gave me the rundown on the beers, which are perfect rich drinking to battle the never-ending cold while huddled around the bar, or just the thing to sip on after you finish your dinner. Why? These two beers highlight their adjuncts, or the additional ingredients not found in your most basic beer recipe. This means you get to enjoy two of your favorite things at once, whether it’s coffee and beer or chocolate and beer – it’s a toss up for me, so I indulged in both!
Darren explained to me that they only serve 10 oz pours of Meantime’s Coffee Porter even though the beer’s alcohol content is a steady 6% ABV, because that portion holds as much caffeine as a single regular cup o’ Joe! Meantime sources their beans from Rwanda, using FairTrade purveyor Union so you can feel good about your beverage’s source while you knock a couple back. In the glass, the Coffee Porter is almost black with a thin tan head, looking for most intents and purposes like a very strong cup of coffee. It smells it too, with a huge coffee aroma and taste that is smooth on the tongue even as it punches a ton of roasted coffee flavors from start to finish. Other flavors are a bit lost to the coffee, but if you pay attention there’s a hint of vanilla and of caramel malt as well, and the hops are quite subtle but there to provide the necessary balance. If you like coffee as much as I do, you won’t be able to resist a pour or two!
SingleCut’s Chocolate Milk Stout, named for the famous Christopher Walken SNL sketch, is as thick and chocolately and delicious as its name promises. Sourcing is a point of pride for SingleCut as well: all the chocolate in the beer is all made in Red Hook. The Chocolate Milk Stout pours a dark opaque brown with a frothy beige head and smells every bit like its namesake. It’s thick and creamy on the tongue, with more sweet chocolate flavors, not overpoweringly sweet thanks to some roasted malt taste, but definitely the milk chocolate of your childhood milkshake not the grown-up bitter chocolate of your 99% cocoa bar. Each sip will leave you smacking your lips in satisfaction, a beer-milk mustache clinging to your upper lip.
These two beers deliver almost too well on the adjuncts promised in their names and the experience is completely enjoyable. The focus here is less the beer and more the enhancements, but with such delicious ones who can complain? I’ll certainly return soon for more coffee, chocolate booziness that combine the best bits of being a grownup with the tastiest memories from childhood.
4/5 stars – 1 for great beers that support the bars larger initiative, 1 for quality sourced beers brewed with quality sourced adjuncts, 1 for the intense coffee roasted-ness of the Porter, and 1 for the childish chocolatey indulgence of the Stout.
Dear Bushwick is located at 41 Wilson Ave, and is open for dinner daily from 5pm – 11pm and serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm. The Coffee Porter is $9 for 10oz. The Chocolate Milk Stout is $5/8oz or $9/16oz.
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks.