Burp Castle might not be the best spot to pick for a rowdy weekend night on the town. One of the distinctions of the small East Village bar (aside from its, err, memorable name) is its monastic sensibility. With murals of medieval scenes on the walls, Gregorian chants on the stereo, and bartenders occasionally bedecked in full-on Benedictine gear, it’s the perfect destination if you’re looking to kick it like it’s 1154. The bar’s infamous quiet policy further cements the Dark Ages vibe – imbibers should be careful not to speak above a soft hush to avoid the bartenders’ zealous shushing and punitive plainchants.
Why visit a bar that quite literally pushes the mute button on any overly-energetic expressions of revelry? The persnickety may value it as a quiet oasis in a neighborhood best known for hordes of loud and stumbling NYU students on a seemingly perpetual bender. Really, though, this is a bar that believes in the sanctity of a well-brewed beer, and its cheeky quiet policy is not purely kitsch. Burp Castle is a monastery not for the divine worshipper but rather for the worshipper of suds, and establishing a solemn aura of reverence is only appropriate.
The beer lover looking to pay their respects is met with a menu of primarily Belgian beers, many of which were produced in monasteries themselves. While what’s on draft rotates constantly, the selection generally covers a range of Belgian styles, from funky and fruity lambics (Timmermans Strawberry Lambic and St. Louis Framboise are regularly featured), to well-known Belgian standbys (Delirium Tremens, Maredsous Tripel), to rarer quasi-Belgian styles favored by beer geeks (cult Danish brewer Mikkeller is consistently featured, including their dizzying Monks Brew quadruple).
That’s not to say that the menu is composed exclusively of yeasty, high-alcohol Belgian zingers. Burp Castle gives a solid nod to American craft beer, with breweries like Allagash, Southern Tier, Ommegang, and Cigar City regularly poured on tap. There’s further diversity to be found on the bottle list, which expands continentally with German, British, Czech, and even Ukrainian options. Burp Castle even helps to support the local New York microbrewery (and we mean micro) scene by hosting monthly meetings of the New York Homebrewers Guild, where brewers and drinkers alike can sample New York’s homebrewers’ latest projects.
The Homebrewers Guild meetings might be the one time per month that this small bar lets the noise level creep up to raucous levels, but whether you’re going to meet area brewers or to (quietly) quaff that imported dubbel, Burp Castle is a destination for idolaters of ale.