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things i learned from the brooklyn brewery
   may 25, 2003

What a crappy Memorial Day weekend here in NYC. Five days of drizzling rain - not even a solid thunderstorm to mix things up. In the absence of plans, me, Steve, Jill, Rob, Grellan and Krucoff motivated to the Brooklyn Brewery out in Williamsburg in search of their free tour that comes with a bonus of two complimentary drinks.

If you're planning on making the journey, here's six things to keep in mind...

#1 - Taking the L? Get in the last car.

We took the L from 1st Avenue; the Queens crew left from Union Square. We made the risky call to meet on the train, first car. We walked to the end of the platform, they walked to the end of the platform, we met on the first car, we took the L one stop, we got off, and then we walked all the way back to the front of the platform. Save yourself the 500 steps and stick to the last car.

#2 - Get there early and buy some wooden nickels.

Tours are supposed to start every hour on the hour. Do yourself a favor, get there a few minutes early and buy a few wooden-nickels at the gift shop before the lines get all crazy.

Bonus points if you make your own wooden nickels at home.

After the tour you can trade the wooden nickels for all sorts of delicious treats like Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn Weisse.

$10 = 3 wooden nickels = 3 pints.

#3 - Stand in the back of the tour.

When the guy comes around rounding up people for the tour, don't get all head-of-the-class and run to the front of the line. You're not going to miss anything - the 'tour' is really a 10 minute long history lesson given from the room in the pic. There's no walking around, there's no seeing the secret bottling facility (which is hidden upstate), but there are free drinks to be had - and if you hang in the back, you'll be first in line to get your free-beer tickets...

... and you'll beat the mad-dash to the bar. Dilly-dally like we did and you'll be waiting in this madness. You get two tickets - each one is good for one half a beer. Trade in both and get a full pint - genuis!

#4 - Send someone to save a table.

Another advantage to the back-of-the-tour thing is that not only are you first in line for beers, but you've also got first pick of the tables. I highly recommend this round table near the bar.

Steve Simmons, dealing cards with hands of fury (the same hands of fury that allowed him to cheat his way to Vice Asshole at Ace Bar.)

ps: I cheated too. Steve made me do it. Sorry. (sniffle)

Me and another better-than-average hand. Note the Black Chocolate Stout, a Brooklyn Brewery exclusive, just above the Queen of Hearts.

#5 - Don't be embarrassed when you walk outside into broad daylight reeking of lager.

One free beer ticket + 3 tokens + 50 minutes to use them before the brewery ends = recipe for disaster. The brewery closes at 5pm, so at 4:55 when they shout out 'last call' ignore your instinct to grab three more drinks (er, as we did). By 4:57 we lost our table, our folding chairs were put away and we were heading to the door, drinks in hand.

#6 - Don't bother making plans for late night.

Post-brewery, we made the trek to Ace Bar for some happy hour buck hunting. The combination of super cheap drinks at the brewery plus happy hour specials back in the East Village rendered thoughts of late-night plans irrelevant.

Still, around 8:30 or so, Grellan, Krucoff and I were wooed by the tail end of "Free Beer Hour" @ Filthy's, hosted by none other than celebrity bartender (and TV star), Kristen Vermilyea.

ps: Free beer from 8-9pm every night at Filthy McNasty's. Pass it on.

(the end)

updated: 5.25.03
(c) 2003, dennis crowley