Brooklyn Cider House Bubbles Up on Flushing Avenue
Just days before we rang in 2018, Brooklyn Cider House opened its doors and taps on Flushing Avenue a few blocks down from Tina’s, on the border of Bushwick and East Williamsburg. Head cider maker and Queens resident Peter Yi is angling to bring the taste and feel of the sagardotegi—the lively and communal cider houses famous in the Basque region of Spain—to this sleepy stretch of Brooklyn with locally produced, better-than-you’ve-ever-tasted hard apple ciders.
On tap, you’ll find its line of four ciders: Bone Dry, Kinda Dry, and Half Sour, all produced in Yi’s Twin Star Orchards upstate in New Paltz; and Raw, which is made right on premises at the Cider House. The whole line uses different mixes of varietals grown at Twin Star along with heirloom cider apples that Yi sources himself. New York State-produced wine and beer is also available, with plans to expand the menu to include other ciders, wines, and spirits from around the world in the coming, warmer months.
Being that sagardotegi are meeting places for neighbors to clink glasses and share plates, Yi is making sure BCH follows this tradition by offering both a small food menu at the bar, and a full, seated restaurant within the same venue. Some of the bar offerings include a hormone- and antibiotic-free burger with fries, Korean chicken wings, and smaller snacks like Marcona almonds and Spanish olives. The dining room menu boasts dishes like a tortilla de baccalao omelet, chorizo braised in a BCH cider, and more. There are two inexpensive prix fixe menus available as well (meat and fish or vegetarian), each composed of 5 communal courses. Txotx, or “cider catching” (in which guests catch the cider in their glass as it falls directly from the large, 80-year-old chestnut barrels from Asturias, Spain) is a unique way to get to know your fellow diners, and is only offered as part of the dinner experience.
BCH houses all this — large bar area, dining room, cider catching room, and cidery — in a 12,000-square-foot former warehouse between the Morgan and Jefferson L train stops. They’ve made it comfortable and inviting with long communal tables, original murals by artists Pixel Pancho and Dede, and a bar that’s lit to shimmer and glow. It’s easy to warm up quick in a place that feels like Spain yet tastes like New York, and you can look forward to Basque-ing in their sunlit outdoor seating come spring.