Best beer stores in NYC
Where to pick up six-packs, growlers, kegs and more.
Tue Feb 15 2011
Photograph: courtesy Skibbo Discount Beer & Soda
Skibbo Discount Beer & Soda
New Beer Distributors
Despite being a stone's throw from the more heavily trafficked Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room, this place boasts its own formidable bounty (800-plus options), often at better prices than you'll find up the road. The shelves are organized regionally for American craft brewers, and by country for global picks ranging from France to Vietnam. Anglophiles can discover more than 40 British bottles, like the crisp, ciderlike Moorhouse's Pendle Witches Brew ($5.45) and a pitch-black Meantime Coffee Porter ($4.05). Meanwhile, six taps dispense beers from breweries such as Ithaca and Goose Island for your growler, and 15 different beers can be ordered by the keg. 167 Chrystie St between Delancey and Rivington Sts (212-473-8757)
Skibbo Discount Beer & Soda
It would be a mistake to judge this Bronx shop by its garish Corona banners. Alongside the requisite stacks of swill you'll find the borough's most comprehensive (and fairly priced) beer collection: 500 American craft and international bottles. Sniff out hits from domestic favorites like Lagunitas and Long Trail, plus European classics such as Saison Dupont. Eight taps are at the ready to fill your growler (buy one there that says "Da Bronx"), while kegs can be ordered with a week's notice. If you don't see what you're looking for, talk to jovial owner Tommy Altieri—he's happy to take requests for hard-to-find brews. 3156 E Tremont Ave between Lasalle and Waterbury Aves, Bronx (718-829-0956)
Spuyten Duyvil Grocery
Evangelists of Joe Carroll's nearby bar Spuyten Duyvil know what to expect at his artisanal minimarket. The same fiendish reverence for good beer is reflected in a 200-bottle array of esoteric American and European options, with a particular focus on regional Belgian breweries. On a recent visit, we spied rarities like a bottle-conditioned Gavroche French Red Ale ($11) and the Dugges' Double IPA ($8) from Sweden. While the pint-size shop is packed from wall to wall with clinking bottles, Carroll manages to squeeze in a few gourmet goods to go with your drinks, like brined cukes from Rick's Picks and Nunu chocolates. 218 Bedford Ave at North 5th St, store 1M, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-1520)
Tri-Boro Ice Co.
If you're a self-sufficient beer nerd, you'll feel like a kid in a candy shop here. The distributor is often busy loading trucks with suds destined for local bars and restaurants, so shoppers are left to wander the 4,400-square-foot retail maze at will. You'll find more than 400 bottles from around the world (Blue Point Rastafa Rye Ale, Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen), which you can snap up knowing you won't find better prices anywhere in town. Four recently installed tap lines fill growlers with American craft options, and the keg selection should suit any type of soiree, from a fratty blowout (Coors Light) to a locavore bash (Ommegang). 41-08 Astoria Blvd between 41st and 42nd Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-728-9462, tri-boroice.com)
Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room
You'll never look at a supermarket beer aisle the same way after seeing this full-service hops mecca, which has its own separate room removed from the rest of the store. While it's not the cheapest place to buy a six-pack, the attention to detail is second to none: The 1,000-plus picks are meticulously organized by geography and kept at the proper storing temperature, and a committed staff is happy to either geek out or educate you, depending what you're looking for. It's easy to lose an afternoon rifling through selections like the full range of Danish brewer Mikkeller's single-hop series, in which each beer highlights one distinct variety of hops. A horseshoe-shaped wooden bar hosts frequent tasting events and fills growlers with six mostly local taps. And if you'd rather just make your own, pick up everything you need to home brew, including grains, yeasts and bottles. 95 E Houston St between Bowery and Chrystie St (212-420-1320)