Blog: Bierkraft Oyster Shuck & Craft Beer Fest
If you are a resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn you are well aware of the bounty of sudsy goodness to be found at Fifth Avenue’s Bierkaft. The store is filled with an impressive catalog of some of the best foreign and domestic craft brews. In recent years they’ve opened up the store to the public to enjoy a pint or bottle of the beer which the store sells at tables set up in the front. They’ve also rolled out a menu of some of the best quality made sandwiches this neighborhood has to offer. Not only can you buy great beer, but you can hang out and enjoy it in the store. But bigger is better and Bierkraft has outdone themselves once again, by opening an outdoor Biergarten just in time for summer. After this long winter we deserve it. The opening day for the outdoor space was this past Saturday with Bierkraft’s 1st Annual “Oyster Shuck and Cask Fest.” The weather on Saturday wasn’t the best- it was actually rainy and pretty windy but that didn’t keep beer lovers away from this event.
The cask beer selection was basically a greatest hits of some of the fine ales that Bierkraft has to offer. The beer was served in either pints or half pours which allowed the patrons the chance to sample a great beer without having to commit to an entire pint. The impressive cask brew menu read as follows: Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball, Ithaca Flower Power, Blue Point Pale Ale, and Sierra Nevada Style King Ghidorah just to name a few. But the king of the cask ales had to go to Kelso Oyster Stout. The Oyster Stout is a special and limited cask made by Kelso just for this event. It is so limited in fact that once the cask is finished, that’s it; it’s gone. The group I was with couldn’t get enough of this ale. I’m guessing one of the reasons had to be its limited nature, but most of it had to do with the beer’s tremendous flavor. Like most stouts, the Kelso Oyster has a dark black color with a chocolate taste to it. It was also quite light, making it perfect for repeat pints.
As a fan of all things seafood, I was naturally drawn to the oysters brought in specifically for this event. Any time I can get my hands on one of these slippery shellfish is a good day for me. On Saturday, Bierkraft went all out by bringing in two vastly distinct, and well sought after oyster varieties- the Robins Island from Peconic Bay, Long Island and Effingham from British Columbia. They were served either by the half or full dozen, and with accompanying lemon slices, cocktail, and minuet sauce. We decided to order a half dozen, getting three of each. Either naked or with some lemon and sauce, each of these oysters were some of the best I have had outside of New Orleans. Each presented a fresh and brine filled bite, and paired brilliantly with any beer on the menu.
By the time we decided to call it a day, the place was packed even as the rain was falling heavier then before. The lines for both beer and oysters stretched around the edges of the outdoor space, and every table was filled to capacity with revelers eating, drinking, and yes being quite merry. For those who could not fit outside, the tables inside the shop let them enjoy the festivities safe from the rain.
The weather on Saturday may not have been conducive to an outdoor festival, but the people who were in attendance didn’t seem to mind. The amazing selection of cask craft ales were flowing at a steady pace all day, allowing everyone to try a new and rare beer. The large chest of oysters were being shucked, and slurped down by happy festival goers, at a rabid rate. They were just that good, and most importantly so fresh! We urge you to head over to Bierkraft all spring and summer long. With a beer selection that puts most places to shame, and an outdoor area in the heart of a great Brooklyn neighborhood it really is a no brainer.
- Alan Smithee