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7th Ave, Brooklyn

My last meeting of the day on Friday was with a small startup that was introduced through a colleague. After an hour and a half of discussions and demonstrations, we went to a nearby Belgian bar on 43rd and 6th. The last time I went there, I ended up in the emergency room with an appendicitis, but I don’t think that was their doing. The beer selection is great, with Delerium Tremens, Duvel, Corsendonk, Leffe, etc. This bar is one of the few places that I like to visit in mid-town as most of the stuff around there is very touristy and overpriced, at least that I know of. I’m sure there are many more local haunts in the area that I’m not familiar with.

While we’re chatting, Tye tells me about a place in Brooklyn called the ‘beer table’. Basically, a wine bar for beer drinkers, beer table stocks unique and hard to find bottled beer and hosts four different drafts that are also hard/impossible to find elsewhere. beer table is located on 7th ave, in Park Slope/Brooklyn. Having nothing else to do this weekend, I decided that K & I should take a visit to beer table to check it out.

Kelly was not doing so well on Saturday night, complaining of bad allergies and ‘too much fried food’, but she toughened up and came with me to the F train. I tried to talk her into a walk around Prospect Park, which we haven’t seen yet, but she’s not having it. So, we take the train to 7th Ave and immediately find a little Italian place called Scalino’s. It looks promising and is BYOB (my favorites!) so we grab a bottle of Pinot Nero from a wine store down the street and sit down for a meal of comfort food Italian. To be honest, it was nothing to write home about. The broccoli rape with sausage appetizer was the standout. The over-sauced penne and papperdelle was satisfying, but also heavy and not very unique. The best part of the meal was the price… $40 for two apps and two mains – at least half of what it would’ve been in Manhattan.

After dinner, we walked over to the beer table. Justin quickly came up and introduced himself as the owner and explained the concept (above), and offered tasting of all the drafts. The drafts were priced between 6 & 10 bucks, but the bottles ranged from $6 to $90-something! We settled for a Belgian Witte bier (Vlaskop?) and a darker, but dry St Bernardus. Both were on draft and both were delicious.

beer table seats about 35 people at 4-5 community tables and I really like the concept. Justin used to be a beer importer and that was how he got started though he commented that now he just goes online and does his research there. I’m not sure how he gets the beer delivered, but I guess if he has to mark up the beer a $1 per bottle, it isn’t a big deal.

beer table menu

Justin does an impressive job of describing the beers on the menu. While wine tasting notes can sound exclusive, pretentious and altogether silly, Justin’s descriptions have some same appeal of beer itself, accessible and understanding. While chatting and enjoying our time, one of the bottles on the menu kept catching my eye. A description ending with “sausage in a glass”. Who wouldn’t want to try sausage in a glass?! Other notes included were “huge, smoky, meaty, rich, bready”. What the hell was this beer? We had to ask.

Schlenkerla Urbock is a smoked beer. “Its smoky flavor is being achieved by exposing the malt to the intense, aromatic smoke of burning beech-wood logs at the Schlenkerla-maltings. After mixing it with premium-class hops in the brew, it matures in 700 year old cellars, deep down in the hills of Bamberg, into a mellow, magnificent-tasting beer, best drunk directly in ‘Schlenkerla'”, according to the Schlenkerla website.

smoke beer

When the bottle was opened, the description made complete sense. Smoky and meaty, it really did smell of good German sausage and while you think that would be too much to drink an entire bottle of, it wasn’t.

beer table was a success and Brooklyn too. Kelly has even decided that she could actually live there. But we won’t.


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