Bushwick Brews: Our One Year Anniversary at The Sampler

Rafael pouring at The Sampler at it’s opening last summer. Photo courtesy of Dane-Rhys Photography for our very first column. (All other photos by Bart Koscinski for Bushwick Daily.)

We are fast approaching the one year mark of Bushwick Brews!  It’s hard to believe that one year ago I was shooting the shit with Maria Gotay (our lovely Music Editor) telling her in way to much detail the scoop about the beer I had brought in a growler to our rooftop BBQ.  That night she  had the idea for this column and our buzzed handshake on it quickly progressed to my very first Bushwick Brews.  Since then I have spoken with new and budding local breweries like Finback, SingleCut, Grimm Artisanal Ales, and Braven;  taken boozey adventures by boat and train; and tasted some incredible brews from all around the neighborhood.

This week I thought it only appropriate to check back in at The Sampler, the site of my very first column, to see what’s changed in the past year since their opening and of course sample some beers!   They still had some choice brews on tap from their own birthday one week ago and Casey Kreher, one of their fabulous hires in the last year,  shared with me his ideal flight from their current pickings.  Below is a delicious one year celebration sampling:

#1 Ayinger’s Bräu Weisse

This German beer is a classic brewing of the famous Hefeweizen style–essentially an unfiltered German wheat beer.  It pour a cloudy yellow due to the fact it’s unfiltered, and has very little head.  The aroma is full of fruity banana and spicy clove, as is the flavor.  It’s a bit bready and vanilla-y as well, somewhat creamy and yet somehow light.  Casey put it well: This beer is “Germany’s summer in a glass.”  At 5.1% ABV, you can have a couple while you watch Germany play Brazil in the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday.

#2 Stillwater Artisanal Ale’s Table Beer

If you could brew something to have on your table every day, what would it be?  This was the question posed to Stillwater, Evil Twin, and Westbrook, who all created table beer variations on this theme. For this iteration Stillwater took the lead and created a Belgian in name and yeast only, as for all intents and purposes this drinks like a hoppy American Pale Ale.  Any belgian funk is overpowered by the piney, floral hops in this translucent golden brew.  There’s a little grapefruit and grass in each sip as well, and a little dry on the finish.  At 4.7% ABV it’s quite a refreshing summer brew.

#3 Sixpoint’s Barrel-Aged 3Beans

A year ago, when Sixpoint first released their 3Beans Baltic Porter, they must have decided it was too light.  After all, it was only brewed with creamy Romano beans, coffee from Blue Bottle, and Mast Brothers’ cocoa.  So they got fancy and threw it in bourbon barrels for a year and only recently extracted it to create this tap-only gem.  This adds a light wood scent to the an aroma heavy with chocolate and coffee scents, and balances out some of the sweetness while blending well with the rich flavors.  In the glass it’s an opaque black-brown with a little creamy head.  Be careful as you sip: this one could knock you out.  The original was 10% ABV and this is sure to be higher.

#4 Off Color’s Dawdle

In life some of us scurry along, while some of us dawdle.  When Off Color opened last year they hustled a little too fast to make loads of their Scurry Dark Honey Ale.  Lucky for us some of the excess Scurry ended up in barrels to age and became the even more complex Dawdle.  Dawdle is a resurrection of an old German style called a Kottbusser, this bewitching beer combines light and dark elements to create a brew rich with honey, molasses, chocolate malts and oats, lightened by pilsner malts and extended conditioning.  It’s a dark, almost opaque beer, best served at room temp and only about 6.2% ABV to Scurry’s 5.3%.

In the past year The Sampler has established itself as one of the preeminent craft beer destinations in all of Brooklyn.  Its 18 taps constantly rotate, serving choice beers from across the country and world, with several dedicated exclusively to local breweries.  They keep one tap dedicated to Finback and bring in beers from Grimm, Bridge & Tunnel, Sixpoint, and more as they become available.  They have started holding bottle shares and other local events, like beer releases, Monday Trivia Nights, and boisterous World Cup viewing parties.  They further commit to the community by showing local artist’s work, and were even an unofficial stop in this Spring’s Bushwick Open Studios.  All this in only one short year–here’s looking forward to what the next year brings for them and us!

The Sampler is located at 234 Starr St, between Irving and Wyckoff Aves.


Mon – Thu: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Fri – Sat: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am

Sun: 12:00 pm – 9:00 am

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