BROOKLYN’S BARCADE BRINGS GAMING TO SPECIALTY BREWS
The original BARCADE in Brooklyn’s hipster Williamsburg section brought arcade gaming to endlessly rotating American craft draughts in 2004. A caliginous North Side bar with a grimy dive feel and rustic furnishings, Barcade’s a genuine one-of-a-kind novel idea promoted mostly by Jersey-bred co-owner Paul Kermizian. Just around the corner from international beer haven, Spuyten Duyvil, this dank brick-walled industrial space has an enclosed front patio walkway that offers patrons the chance to take a break from the 24 taps and 35 games to sit and chat.
Serious craft beer enthusiasts with a hankering for vintage electronic games from Asteroids and beyond will go spastic over this place – especially the cheap quarter-priced video gaming fee. Loud rock music blasts from the speakers, echoing to the high warehouse ceiling.
Tonight’s Winter Beer Night at Barcade and the crowded bar is plush with young beer folk. Several locals bring their dogs here while imbibing some of the best suds found under one roof. One’s seated next to Climax Brewing owner Dave Hoffmann, whose father and I drove in with him this cold Thursday evening in early December ’11. Hosting boss Paul Kermizian chats with Hoffmann and I at the left side bar, chewing the fat over a wide variety of brews.
I usually sojourn to Barcade on the way to Williamsburg rock shows a few streets down, but tonight I’ll be drinking for four whole hours since I don’t have to drive home or attend a concert. There’ll be so much socializing going on I’ll forget to drop a few quarters in the ’70s/ ’80s-related video games. The beers discovered run the gamut from a cabernet-wined strong ale to two barleywines, two Baltic Porters, a honeyed pils and a rummy gourd-spiced elixir (full reviews given in the Beer Index).
As we settle in around 8 PM, I dig into Kelso Cabernet Quad Bock, an oaken Cabernet Sauvignon-soothed quadrupel with sharp-hopped raisin-plum dried fruiting, musky Muscatel wining and tart cranberry-raspberry recession. Probably more suited to a noir-ish nightcap, its eloquent warmth loosened me up right away.
Traditional Czech-styled moderate body, Fisherman’s Honey Pilsner, brought a raw-honeyed lemon pucker to grassy-hopped herbage and sourdough malting. Brewed by Cape Ann’s Jeremy Goldberg, one of the stars in the informal ’02 documentary American Beer (alongside Kermezian), put together a wholly successful Fisherman’s line of brews and each one’s specially priced when featured at this venerable Brooklyn hideaway.
Next came Harpoon Leviathon Baltic Porter, a chocolate-y full body aged two years for a deeper wood-smoked molasses sapping. Similarly styled Sixpoint S.M.P. Baltic Porter contrasted its dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, and coffee bean roasting with beechwood smoked nuttiness.
We stepped outside to get some air before I reached for a few high alcohol treats that’d put me to sleep on the way back to Hoffmann’s brewery.
First up, excellent rum barrel aged Avery Rumpkin had a rum-spiced pumpkin pie sweetness sidled by red chery, bruised orange and candied apple illusions. As I sip this brandy-wined cognac-like strong ale, several new customers walk in and grab a few Middle Ages Dragon Slayer’s alongside Dogfish Head Faithfull. In town for the extended weekend, these twenty-something professionals admit revisiting Barcade time and again. And a few walk over to play Donkey Kong.
As my buzz thickens, I reach for some water before delving into two English-styled barleywines. A Challah-breaded almond toasting invited the dryer Pretty Things Our Finest Regards. But California’s sweeter Bear Republic Barrel Aged Olde Scoutter outdid its worthy winter-warming Massachusetts opponent. Its lilting bourbon lick recieved a brown-sugared fig-date conflux and oak-aged vanilla simmer.
Though Brooklyn’s Barcade may seem inconspicuous and inconsequential from the street, customers will be surprised by its tempting American craft beers as well as the large video game selection. Daily 5 to 8 PM happy hour offers $1 off well drinks. So double your pleasure and start gaming while fully imbibing with friends.