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.

Not your dad’s milkshake…but maybe your great great granddad’s

shakeRemember when a frosty milkshake cost just a nickel? Neither do I. But this Thursday, Brooklyn hot spot The Bell House (149 7th St., Brooklyn–map) is putting those bygone deals to shame, offering their take on the shake free of charge, starting at 9 PM.

A shot of history: back when milkshakes were invented in the late 19th century, they were often used as health tonics, fighting consumption with one key ingredient: whiskey. Pesky prohibition did away with the whiskey-laced shake, but it couldn’t wipe it from our memory entirely (in fact, Prohibition probably made everyone’s memory a bit clearer).

makersThe Bell House’s vanilla whiskey shake is a throwback to the good old days. And they ain’t using rotgut, either. They’re mixing their shakes with Maker’s Mark, aged at least five and a half years in weathered oak barrels to create a bourbon of consistently outstanding quality, one of the best to come out of Kentucky. The stuff’s not cheap, so tip your tender well. After all, she may be helping you fight off the TB, or at least a nasty case of sobriety.

The tip, from MyOpenBar.com

The slippery Slope

ellisbar1I live in the Gowanus/South Slope area of Brooklyn, and in the past the one thing that’s drawn me away from my neighborhood is its lack of great bars. If I need to liven up my evening I’d usually head at least as far away as the north Slope or Smith St. But a rash of recent openings (along with the splendid weather) has given me all the more reason to stay home. The best: Ellis Bar (627 5th Ave., Brooklyn–map).

Ellis is a clean, comfortable neighborhood bar with excellent food. I mentioned its ridiculously cheap party deal in last week’s HHotW, but it turns out Ellis has a full calendar of drink specials that can keep you abuzz on the cheap. Consider tonight’s special, which they repeat¬† every single Wednesday: 25 cent shots of house bourbon to accompany live music, starting at 9. Mondays feature $3 Heineken, Tuesdays have canned beer specials (and trivia), and weekends have extended and reverse happy hours.

Ellis has an up to date website and a blog, so you can check in and fill out your calendar accordingly.

Last minute Happy Hour of the Week

ellisbar

This one is too good to pass up. Ellis Bar (627 5th Ave., Brooklyn–map), a recently-opened restaurant/bar in South Park Slope, is just shamelessly seeking attention. Tonight, Friday January 23, they’re hosting a bash and serving 1 cent Harpoon drafts, 1 cent shots of Jager, Soco, and house bourbon, and 1 cent cocktails, including margaritas and my favorite, caipirinhas.

If that’s not generous enough, they’ll also serve up chicken wings, sandwiches, and samplers, FOR FREE. As I said, completely shameless. The party starts tonight at 9, and every penny pincher with his or her head in the game will be there.