Brewed Coffee and Brews: Brooklyn’s Best Coffee Shops for Beer, Part I

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Photos by Jane Bruce

This is a two-part portal into the borough’s best coffee shops that offer great beer. These places pleasingly pair life’s paramount beverage bookends: brewed coffee and brews. #IlliterationIdiot

Bedford Hill Coffee Bar (343 Franklin Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant)

This garden-level cafè, opened in 2010, charms on the corner of Greene and Franklin Avenues in Bed-Stuy, even when it’s filled to capacity or a caffeine-craving queue extends to the entrance. (The latter is a familiar scene on most mornings; my apartment is nearby.) The owner is Allison Stuart, who spotlights Milwaukee’s Anodyne Coffee in a homey low-ceiling space adorned with vintage wallpapers, funky-blue tiling, and reclaimed dark-wood doors as paneling. While an Americano—or five, depending on my workload—regularly fuels my day’s start, a joy to enjoy as sunlight enters through the shop’s large windows, it’s the Alemericano that lures me to return and remain later amid candlelight. The craft-beer menu’s core is four drafts pouring mostly American breweries: locals like SingleCut BeerSmiths, Grimm, and Great South Bay; nationals like Perennial, Founders, and Almanac. Whether made in Brooklyn or Boulder, Colorado, most taps are priced comfortably at $6 (sizes vary). Happy Hour delivers a daily $1 discount from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to midnight.

Drink These Here Now: Other Half Forever Ever IPA, SingleCut KIM Hibiscus Sour Lagrrr!, Grimm Forcefield

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Blind Barber (524 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg)

The former home of Second Stop Cafe now houses the second Blind Barber to open in New York City—and the first location of this bicoastal company that combines barbershop and bar in Brooklyn. The city’s younger, on the corner of Lorimer and Ainslie Streets in Williamsburg, is a calmer and caffeinated contrast to its seductive sibling speakeasying in the East Village. While the elder has a sexy lounge to the shop’s back, the inverse is the case here, with a clean, laptopper-catering cafè at the front serving Blue Bottle coffee and a food menu of salads, grilled cheeses, and tacos. An impressive focus on beer is also present at Brooklyn’s Blind, which is most enjoyable during a weekday Happy Hour from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. that transforms its five seasonally rotated, usually American drafts—one of which always pours a proprietary juniper-spiced IPA from KelSo; Braven Brewing’s Braven White is a recent mainstay—to only $4. Remember: Every cut or shave in the barbershop receives a complimentary beverage.

Drink These Here Now: KelSo Blind Barber Juniper IPA, Founders Porter, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Budin (114 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint)

This spacious and streamlined Nordic-themed coffeehouse proudly serves beans from the Northern European region’s most revered roasters—Norway’s Tim Wendelboe, Sweden’s Drop—alongside New York City’s deepest and dopest selection of its brews. Lorcan Precious, owner of Beer Street (also in Greenpoint), helms the latter’s menu of eight drafts and 15 bottles and cans usually featuring Evil Twin, Nøgne Ø, Borg, and Lervig Aktiebryggeri; it’s no surprise that several java-juiced beers are often in the mix, including To Øl’s Mochaccino Messiah and Mikkeller’s Koppi Coffee IPA. Budin’s name, pronounced Booth-in, is Icelandic for “the shop,” apt considering the space’s back is dedicated to selling design goods curated by one of three owners, Rut Hermannsdòttir, who lives in Norway. (Another, Crystal Pei, splits time between Greenpoint and Iceland.) Before reaching the rear to browse the books and wool blankets, grab a draft from the sleek stool-lined Modbar—most are available in two sizes—but don’t venture too far: Budin’s backyard is a no-beer zone.

Drink These Here Now: Omnipollo Nebuchadnezzar, Evil Twin Molotov Lite, Borg Garún (The latter’s Fenrir, an IPA brewed with malt smoked over the poop of Icelandic sheep, also appears occasionally. Yum!)

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