No strong-arming is needed to frequent Four & Twenty Blackbirds, whether for a chocolate/pecan pick-me-up at the original Gowanus location, a slice amongst the stacks at the Brooklyn Public Library branch, or a residency at the sleek and sunny counter—equipped with truly resplendent “pie wall”—newly opened in Prospect Heights. And yet, Emily and Melissa Elsen have outdone themselves in their latest space, going for broke by procuring a beer and wine license.
So if you thought there was simply no way to make Salty Honey pie any better, check out the sisters’s shrewd booze pairings below.
Lemon Chess Pie & Ramona Wine Cooler: “We fell in love with the Ramona at a party. It’s a fresh-squeezed grapefruit drink from Momofuku’s Jordan Salcito, that’s just starting to ramp up distribution. Grapefruit’s not easy to pair, since it’s sour and bitter and can deaden other flavors, but we blend citrus all the time; there’s actually orange juice in our Lemon Chess pie. So we thought we’d go with that, because the pie is custardy and creamy and neither item is too sweet, so they end up complementing each other, instead of blending into one.”
Brown Butter Apple Streusel Pie & Bad Seed Cider: “Wilklow Orchard provides 99% of our apples. And they happened to be in the beginning stages of launching their Bad Seed Cider brand just as we were starting up our kitchen, so the businesses have grown together, in a way. Which makes this pairing a pretty natural, close-to-home thing. Any of our apple pies, from the Brown Butter Streusel to the Salted Caramel, will go with any of Bad Seed’s ciders, but we especially like the ginger version. Since ginger is also a baking spice, it works really, really well.”
Salty Honey Pie & Other Half IPA: “Keeping with the theme of cool people doing special stuff, we’re also excited to be able to work with Other Half, whose home base is in Gowanus as well. Of course, we didn’t realize how hard it would be to get our hands on the cans; people will literally sleep overnight in their cars for the privilege of buying some. But we knew, having obtained their IPA, that we needed a pie that would really stand up to it, and that is definitely our Salty Honey. Honey, like IPA, is floral and herbal, and the pie is punchy, full bodied, rich, dense, sweet, salty and addictive, just like the beer!”
Black Bottom Oat Pie & Lady Justice Stout: “War Flag Brewing is another Brooklyn company, which, of course, we love. And stout and chocolate make a pretty obvious pairing. But we especially like how the coffee notes of the beer complement the cookie crumble on the pie, and how the roasted barley enhances the toasty oats.”
Buckeye Pie & Extra Brut Vouvray, Domaine du Facteur or Domaine Ribiera, La Vista: “Based on Ohio’s famous Buckeye candies, our new peanut butter and chocolate pie is super rich and decadent. So you can go either way when it comes to beverages; the citrusy bubbly cuts right through the fattiness, while the red wine rounds it out.”
634 Dean St., Prospect Heights
Photos by Max Branigan