Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 4:27PM
If you live in New York City and like beer, there's absolutely no reason why Bierkraft wouldn't be one of your favorite places on Earth.
The store was opened in 2001 by Richard Scholz, a former mortgage broker who worked in the Rheingold brewery in college and developed a love for beer as a home brewer in the 1990s, and his wife, Daphne, a former specialty food buyer for Bloomingdales. Together, they've created a mecca for all things beer-and gourmet-related.
The shop is divided into two narrow aisles. Side A: the beer. Refrigerators store over 1,000 varieties of beer, separated by country. Looking for Harviestoun Ola Dubh 16 Year from Scotland? Got it. How about Eggenberg Urbock, from Austria? Not a problem. Also keep an eye open for seasonal specialties like cans of Hell of High Watermelon Wheat Beer in the summer and just about every Oktoberfestbier known to man in the autumn.
Once you make it past the refrigerators, you'll come upon the constantly-rotating growler section. Where beers in the cases tend to be a little pricey, the 64-ounce growlers are a great deal. Usually in the $10-15 range, growler fills let you enjoy a beer at home that you'd be hard pressed to find outside of a specialty beer bar. Cases in point: Ballast Point Oktoberfest, Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, and Kelso Satisfaction, currently on tap. The 14 growler taps were joined last year by two cask ales, which are naturally carbonated and fermented in the barrel from which they're poured.
As you round the corner you'll come upon the deli section. This isn't your average Boar's Head deli counter; Daphne keeps it stocked with house-made roast beef and turkey, as well as cured meats from D'Artagnan and Salumeria Biellese. The well-curated cheese selection includes aged Gouda, Tallegio, Humboldt Fog, and truffle-flecked Sottocenere. All products are available by the pound, but are best eaten piled on a long baguette, paired with such surprising additions as boquerones, pickled serranos, and cherry mustard. Sandwiches are $10 flat, no matter what you get on them. Hot specials like meatloaf and pulled pork crop up occasionally, as well.
Also in stock are some of the city's best ice cream sandwiches, as well as local chocolate from Mast Brothers and hard-to-find Zapp's potato chips, a Louisiana favorite.
Up until this year, Bierkraft was a market only. You couldn't drink your beer there, and there was no space to eat your sandwich. Well, all that's changed with a recent acquisition of an on-premises beer license and the conversion of Side B into a cozy seating area with picnic tables. Grab a pint and a sandwich and you've got yourself a charming weekend afternoon. And don't forget to drop by Tuesdays at 7 for their weekly tastings; the brewers themselves often show up.
Bierkraft, 191 5th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. (718) 230-7600.