Brooklyn has a storied beer history, and one professional tour guide is offering it up in a four hour bike tour. Edible Magazine’s Rachel Wharton filed the following report.
The Bike Brooklyn Beer Blitz is a six-mile bike ride led by Matt Levy, a professional city tour guide who loves bikes, beer and the city's forgotten past.
“At the turn of the 19th century, Brooklyn was the largest concentration of brewers, mostly German, than anywhere else in America and probably in the world. Per capita, there were more breweries here than Washington, DC, Detroit and Cincinnati combined, says Levy. “You had Rheingold, Schaefer… behind me you've got the Ulmert Brewery, you had Fallert, you had Eastern Brewery, which then became the Otto Huber Brewery, which then became the Hittleman Brewery, which then became the Goldenrod Berwery, which then became the Edelbrau Brewery.”
Brooklyn once housed four dozen breweries. Now, only a few buildings remain, and none make beer.
However, Levy knows how to look for old signs, arched windows and a roof line like a German castle. Another clue is a detached office building next door, like the Ulmert brewery on Beaver Street.
“If you were a brewer and you ran a factory, the last thing you would want to do is smell beer all day long when you’re trying to work,” says Levy.
Another of Levy's favorite lines is about a massive old building on Bushwick Place.
“One of the biggest breweries in Brooklyn, second in size only to Schaefer, was the Huber, Hittleman and Eastern District Brewing Company, which see has beautiful kegs planted into the side of the wall and architectural detail and names planted inside the building. Within a few years it's going to become a 500-person outdoor/indoor beer-garden-live-music venue called the Wick, named after Bushwick,” says Levy. So that's incredible that there's going to be a beer garden inside of a former brewery, built in 1864.
For more about Matt Levy's tour and New York City's beer culture, visit EdibleManhattan.com.