Beer Table in Park Slope: The Anti-IKEA of Furniture Themed Alcohol Purveyors

by Jason Roth on June 10, 2009

A “beer table” sounds like the kind of table you’d find in Heaven, if Heaven and beer tables existed. Fortunately, it turns out that our lowly Earth’s Beer Table ain’t so bad, either.

Beer Table is a restaurant (or is it a bar?) in Park Slope that has no “standard” beers. The beers change constantly, along with the food, which is designed around the beer. If you like Budweiser and peanuts freshly handled by the two-thirds of males who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, this is not your place. (I might suggest Rudy’s as an alternative. Added bonus: free hot dogs.)

After at least a year of getting their weekly email updates, I finally got my ass to Beer Table this past Saturday. The event that finally brought me in was the in-person appearance of Italian brewers, including those from Le Baladin, Birra del Borgo, and Birrificio del Ducato. As I discovered this year at Convivio, and later in Italy itself, the Italians make some damn good beers. (I always thought Moretti and Peroni were the Rolling Rocks of imported beer. I.e., glorified urine.) This event was worth the trip from Queens to Brooklyn, and it also gave me the chance to experience, and instantly get hooked on, Beer Table.

The “bar” at Beer Table, if you can call it that, seats two or three people. It’s really a small counter at the intersection between the eating area and the kitchen/pouring room. The main seating consists of five or so small, communal tables. The beers of the day are listed on a big board, and both the drafts (which included one cask conditioned ale) and the bottles were available by the glass. As if a food menu built around beer didn’t prove that this place was made for real beer fans, the 6-ounce wine-style glasses of beer should do it. I’m sure there are people who get royally blitzed at Beer Table, but they do it slowly and in style.

To compliment our beers, my wife and I opted for the picholine olives, pleasantly flavored with rosemary and orange zest. More interestingly (and harder on the wallet) was the $16 piece of Willoughby cheese from Ploughgate Creamery, “custom-washed in Birriificio Italiano Cassisona” just for Beer Table. I can’t say I tasted the beer, but the small piece of brie-like cheese sure as hell tasted good. Easily worth the price, and along with the uniquely marinated white raisins that accompanied it, the cheese and olives were enough to convince me to schedule a return trip.

Co-owner Justin Philips stopped by the table to say hello, and it quickly became clear that Beer Table is, and could only be, a labor of love. It’s a nice exception when someone takes something seriously that other people just take for granted. Especially when that something is beer.

I mentioned to Philips that I got hooked on Italian beers on a recent trip to Italy. Purely coincidentally (geek that I am) I was wearing an Italian T-shirt that had been given to me by the co-owner of a place called Bir & Fud, located in the Trastevere region of Rome. Phillips responded with: “Leonardo”, then turned away. He tapped a bearded guy at a nearby table on the shoulder, and introduced him to us as Leonardo Di Vincenzo from Birra del Borgo. Turns out Leonardo is also co-owner of Bir & Fud. Gotta love it. I finally got to tell him how good his Punterelle was.

Beer Table clearly might have been created for me. But I’d invite anyone else who likes beer and food to give it a shot, too.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Hornbuckle June 11, 2009 at 9:25 pm

That is a seriously cool story and one hell of a coincidence. I”m a little slighted at your smacks against “rolling rock” however. I’d definitely check out this place.

Jason Roth June 11, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Don’t worry about the Rolling Rock comment. Even astronauts drink urine.

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