The opening of Brouwerij Lane, the new high end beer store in Greenpoint, was met with much excitement; friends who dropped in to the grand opening said you could hardly move through the crowds clamoring for free beer and expensive imports.
We waited till a later date to see what the store, a former chop shop, had to offer. In what has quickly become a daily tradition, a beer tasting was underway and beer snob clients and staffers alike were a touch on the drunk side (it took too many tries for our selection to be wrung up at the register, with wildly different sums each time). The staff's not quite as friendly and helpful as my newest local obsession, Marlow and Daughters, but that's okay.
The selection is fun to browse and you can mix up six packs with anything you want. Prices on bottled beer are a tad high (many can be found cheaper in Manhattan Avenue bodegas), but Brouweij Lane does offer a number of bottles not readily available elsewhere in the area. Stick to trying stuff you haven't seen anywhere else and you'll feel less foolish the next time you walk into Nature's Garden and spot a bottle of Delirium for less.
But the real draw, and the thing that makes the beer snobbery and high prices disappear is the Whole Foodsesque growler system. For a $5 deposit you can get yourself a growler; for $10 more you ca fill it with anything they have on tap. We tried a great beer called Gruut Belgian Amber, which the tap master informed us would be a staple in the lineup; the other taps change frequently, which is exciting if you love trying new things. You get about four or five glasses of beer from the jug and you can fill it up again and again and again.
I loved doing this at Whole Foods but it was never convenient to bring my growler back for a refill. But now, with Brouwerij Lane in the neighborhood, I can take advantage of this ingenious system much, much more often.