615 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
A gypsy has found home in Greenpoint, and fortunately for us, he’s opened his doors to the public. Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who operates Evil Twin Brewing without a physical space using breweries in South Carolina, Spain and Norway to make his highly respected, much sought-after beer, has moved to Brooklyn and opened Tørst with Daniel Burns, formerly of Noma and Momofuku.
Burns’s component, an adjoining 26-seat restaurant called Luksus, doesn’t open until May (they’re currently serving cheese and charcuterie boards with house-made Danish rye bread stuffed with flax, sunflower, and berries), so Jarnit-Bjergsø’s list of 21 drafts and more than 200 bottles are the primary focus now. It’s fierce, it’s educational, and it’s the most stellar beer program in all of Brooklyn.
While expectedly heavy on Evil Twin offerings, the menu is also full of rarities and Tørst-only exclusives that would be impossible to attain without Jarnit-Bjergsø’s global connections. Examples include Tørst Front Room, a smooth, licorice-like barleywine aged in Malaga barrels (the same base is also maturing in port barrels and will pour exclusively for Luksus as Tørst Back Room), and a special rhubarb-brewed variant of It’s Alive from Mikkeller, another gypsy brewery owned by Jeppe’s twin brother, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. A house beer by Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewery is also forthcoming.
But the real star of the show here might be the Flux Capacitor draft system, a glass-encased motherboard of gauges and red tubes resembling something out of Forbidden Planet. Designed by Gabe Gordon of Long Beach, California’s Beachwood BBQ & Brewing (Tørst is pouring Beachwood’s Amalgamator, a punchy West Coast-style IPA, and five others), the Flux Capacitor allows control of carbon dioxide and nitrogen pressure, as well temperature, for every pour, so stouts, for example, won’t be served arctic and dead at 38 degrees. Handles are also organized from light to dark, to approximate the color of the dispensed beer. It’s the kind of thing beer nerds dream of.
The interior, designed by hOmE, is an amalgam of Brooklyn and Scandinavian influence, featuring rows of reclaimed wood, orb-like lighting, and 60s-era Danish chairs. Though swarmed by a large first-night crowd clutching vibrant wine glasses and sharing Cantillon bottles (subsequent afternoon visits were also busy), Tørst’s staff is calm, aware, and beer-intelligent. The latter was evident in a bartender’s confident description of and stated preference between both De Molen exclusives: Rhythm & Blues Barrel Aged, a barleywine aged in bourbon barrels, and Hel & Verdoemenis 666, a Russian imperial stout brewed with cognac-soaked wood chips. An informative encounter with a bartender alone is usually enough to recommend a bar; at Torst, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Photo by Robert Caputo