Straight from the middle man

Ever wish you could economize on beer by getting it straight from the brewery? You can’t. Due to antiquated liquor laws and an oversized Annheuser-Busch lobby in Washington, breweries can’t even sell their beer directly to retail stores. They have to sell to distributors, who then sell to your corner deli or supermarket. Of course, there’s a price markup every time the beer changes hands.

nbdBut there is a way to cut in early: most distributors have warehouses in the city where they sell beer directly to the thirsty consumer. Unlike NYC retailers, they sell in bulk–kegs, 30-packs, and cases, meaning you can stock up for a fraction of what you’d pay at a deli.

For the bottle sipper, pick up a case of Brooklyn Pennant Ale for $33.59 at American Beer Distributors (256 Court St., Brooklyn–map), or a case of Dos Equis Amber for $25.99 at Carousel Beverages (436 3rd Ave., Brooklyn–map). If you’re really looking to save dough, grab a 30-pack of Genessee Cream Ale (it’s better and cheaper than Bud Light) for $15.99 at New Beer Distributors (167 Chrystie St., Manhattan–map).

Warehouses can be a Mecca even for the consummate beer snob, sporting celebrated but hard-to-find American micros like Left Hand, Allagash, and North Coast, and imports like Orval and Sinebrychoff. At around $10 per six pack they’re not cheap, but they’re cheaper than you’ll find them anywhere else in the city.

New members welcome

GYCIf you’re a Penny Palate regular, your yacht club membership probably lapsed a long time ago. Like, in a previous lifetime. But with weather like this, it seems criminal not to do your eating and drinking out of doors. Luckily, Smith Street has just the club for you–no membership dues, collared shirts not required.

To be fair, Gowanus Yacht Club (323 Smith St., Brooklyn–map is not an actual yacht club, nor is it actually on the Gowanus Canal. But yacht clubs are stodgy and the Gowanus Canal is a putrid cesspool, so I’d say GYC comes out a winner in the end. Pass through the unimposing fence and head to the bar, where you can order hot dogs ($2), burgers ($4 for a single, $6 for a double), and beers at Canal prices. A PBR is $3, but kick in an extra dollar for a can of Porkslap Pale Ale or Moo Thunder Stout from Butternuts Beer–high class taste in a low-class can.

You’ll get to enjoy a diverse crowd–I’ve sat at the bar with hipsters, grizzled Brooklyn vets and, once, a beagle who had a hard time staying upright on his swivel bar stool. By the end of the night, you might have the same problem.

Happy Hour of the Week: One year for EVT

evtIn this climate, it’s worth celebrating if a new restaurant can stay open for a month. East Village Tavern (158 Avenue C, Manhattan–map) has made it an entire year, and they’re spreading the wealth this Friday with a free open bar from 6-8 pm.

EVT gets the job done by having something for everyone: the beer enthusiast–16 rotating taps with a wide and seasonal selection of American craft brews; the food lover–a high end, seasonal bar food menu; even the dive hound–Big Buck Hunter and pinball. It’s no wonder that you find yourself among a diverse crowd.

EVT’s got a great happy hour to begin with: Monday through Friday from 4-7 drafts are $3, well drinks are $4, and sliders are $2. But nothing beats an open bar. Knock off work and get there early (these things do tend to fill up), and it will be a happy birthday for them and you.