Quench Your Tørst

TorstThinking about trying out Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø’s Tørst this weekend? Well, let’s just say the Bitch is Ecstatic (on the precipice of Orgasmic, see review below) about this Greenpoint bar.

If you don’t know about Tørst (located at 615 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn – right next to the Nassau G stop), then you’ve probably been in a beer-free coma for the last three months. I’m not going to regurgitate all that has been said about Evil Twin‘s evil twin (he’s not, incidentally, and our kids go to school together if I’m going to announce my connections in an effort towards transparent journalism), which has been going around in all the beer press since the bar opened last weekend.

Jeppe has a super cool story, however. As a gypsy brewer, he can make his “Danish” beer pretty much anywhere. So why not Brooklyn? Apparently the thought crossed his mind, and he has relocated to north Brooklyn with his wife and the aforementioned children to set up shop here.

And what a shop it is! Twenty-one draft lines of some “you can’t get it anywhere but here” brews, plus a slew of bottles (I’m still researching the list!). This place is a must destination for any serious (or quasi-serious) beer drinker.  A limited kitchen (they’re offering either a meat or cheese plate, handsomely presented with an inordinate amount of olives) will be expanding closer to summer with Chef Dan Burns five-course, Scandinavian tasting menu.

Here are the high/low points of my visit (if you can call any of my constructive criticisms “low”):

The Good/Great

  • Aside from the vast selection of beer and reasonably priced food, the space is incredibly elegant and perhaps the most tastefully appointed bar I’ve ever seen. It’s like Jeppe took all that Ikea sensibility and then shopped at Design Within Reach. The bar would be hipster chic if it were situated four blocks south.
  • They only serve beer. They only ever will serve beer. Yeah, you can get a soft drink if you want, but for Loki’s sake!!! don’t ask for wine. This is a great and powerful adventure in craft beer bars. Bless the journey! Embrace Port Jesus!
  • Despite being slammed, the bartenders kept their cool and were serving up glasses in a flash.
  • The 8-oz pour means you can try a lot of brews without getting hammered.
  • A great place for groups of beer lovers, and a damn fine bar for singletons (aka The Bitch, although I did know a half-dozen people in the place, both behind and in front of bar).

The Bad

  • As with any “It bar,” you’re gonna get a clientele with a massive and comprehensive knowledge of beer. Let’s just say, the bar staff really needs some training on how to deal with us. Two examples: One friend was asking about beers on draught and the bartender kept trying to offer her “what she wanted.” She knew what she wanted, which was for the bartender to answer her question so that she could choose for herself. My experience was even worse. With 21 taps and a menu situation (see below), I wanted to get “a beer I cannot buy anywhere in a store.” What was I poured? Femme Fatale!!! I mean, come on! You can buy that at Whole Foods. I know it’s a good beer, but why not offer up a Port Jesus (which I got the next time I came in via a different bartender)?
  • The cheese plate was served sans napkins and utensils. Maybe you can pick up charcuterie with your fingers, but I’m not spreading cheese on lovely danish bread with my hands. They need some knives worthy of the wooden plank upon which they serve your meal. Also, some small to-go containers for the olives would be lovely. I left over half of mine on the bar for someone else to eat; I’m guessing they were trashed. A crying shame (I wanted to take home, but no container with which to do so).
  • What is it with widely spaced hooks under the bar? There could be a hook at every chair (or every chair and a half). Hooks will do nothing to detract from the place, and it will stop people from placing their coats willy nilly all over the bar. Not to mention, my hook was three bar stools away from me and I left without my bag (did I mention going back the next day for Port Jesus… it was a reward for having to retrieve my bag, which had nothing of value in it, but I do like the thing!).
  • This place is not for those light of wallet. Remember those convenient 8-oz pours I mentioned? Well they start at $5 and go up. That’s $10 a pint, my friends. Is the beer worth the price? I believe it is. But it’s unlikely to become your neighborhood hangout with the bar bill that ensues from drinking here for hours on end. Bring friends and share!

torstThe Bitch Wants You To Fix

  • Did I mention the bar is beautiful? Well, it’s a little too aesthetically pleasing. Someone decided that rather than have a horrible chalk board behind the bar upon which to write the draughts, they would employ dry erase marker on mirrors. Yes, it’s beautiful. And unintelligible! You can only read roughly six draughts at a time, meaning you have to walk the length of the bar just to know what’s up there. This is fine at noon on a Sunday, but at six on a Friday or Saturday, ummm, no. Just no. Fix it!
  • ABVs anyone? There’s not a damn ABV in the place. Not on the reflective draught menu nor on the extensive paper bottle menu. I drink based on how fast I’m gonna get smashed. I don’t have a smart phone, but even if I did, I want to be at the bar, not hanging out at Rate Beer or Untapp’d.
  • Come on. Can we get some real glassware? The wine glasses look nice hanging above the bar, but they don’t do a thing for most of these beers. Also, the pours into them are really inconsistent, meaning sometimes you can smell the beer but usually you can’t. I want to embrace the scent before I drink. You really cannot accomplish this with the current glassware line-up. These beers deserve to be poured into the correct stemware… and by that, I don’t mean a white wine glass.

With these minor adjustments, this will be a truly Orgasmic bar on the Brookyn (and world) bar scene.

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