In the “Booze Buzz” series, we take you to the latest and greatest watering holes throughout the country. Today, we head to Circa Brewing Co. in Brooklyn.
You know what I like even better than a glass of ice cold beer on a scorching summer day? Not having to take a long, sweaty subway ride home afterwards. Circa Brewing Co., welcome to the neighborhood.
Circa Brewing Co. opened in Downtown Brooklyn less than a month ago, but it’s already found a steady stream of regulars (including us) who are incorporating it into their weekend bar circuit. Here’s why.
What’s the Buzz on Circa Brewing Co.?
Circa Brewing Co.’s roster of food and drink talent is pretty fierce. Owner Gerry Rooney brought on the Bruckert brothers (really I’m just trying to start a collective famous people term like “Coen brothers” here) to spearhead the pizza and beer that makes this place a winner.
Luke helms the kitchen as chef de cuisine and head pizza chef, while his twin brother Danny is head brewer. It’s impressive that Circa snagged Danny, whom beer aficionados may recognize as the former head brewer for Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. (He also may or may not have had a past life on Broadway — which, if the Internet does not lie, makes me even more a fan of Circa’s beer.)
If you’ve got the “Brooklyn is too far mentality”
*ahem Manhattanites*, guess what? Circa is easily accessible via public transit: it’s only two stops into Brooklyn on the F line (get off at Jay Street–MetroTech). So no excuses for not grabbing some grub here, people.
After stopping by three times for delicious beer and pizza (increasing the sample size for our research, of course), we’ve got the scoop on what to get at Circa Brewing Co.
When we heard that Damon Boelte was directing Circa’s cocktail program, we grew extra excited. Boelte is the head bartender at Grand Army, a stellar cocktail bar in its own right, so we decided to start our liquid journey at Circa with some beer cocktails.
Standouts included the Tropicalé! cocktail ($13) — which features coconut tea rum, lime, honey, mint, and Circa IPA — and the Nova cocktail ($14), which includes bourbon, lemon, aperol, pamplemousse, and Circa Belgian Wheat. The former was well balanced, while the latter was refreshing with its blast of grapefruit.
But let’s be honest, most folks here are initially drawn to Circa because of its craft beer. We sampled the following beers over three times at the joint:
- Belgian Wit – 4.2% ABV, $7. Fruity and spicy citrus notes.
- IPA – 6.8% ABV, $7.50. Big fan of this one, with its notes of pine and citrus.
- Double IPA – 8.5% ABV, $9. If you like hoppy beers, impress your date by ordering this beer, which is actually more juicy and tropical than expected.
- Amber Lager – 5.2% ABV, $7. Sir Campsalot really enjoyed this beer, which is toasty with some toffee flavors.
- Saison – 7% ABV, $8. Dynamite beer for the summer; easy and refreshing to drink with enough complexity to keep you interested.
- Nitro Stout – 4% ABV, $7.50. Clear favorite for Mr. Five O’Clock and myself, perhaps unsurprisingly since we are huge fans of Guinness. Rich flavors of coffee and chocolate.
Props to Circa for letting us move our beers around the restaurant. A large group vacated this table in the back, so Mr. Five O’Clock swooped in and took some more photos. Ah, the life of beer blogging.
Yes, pizza and beer is an obvious combination that’s been done countless times before. However, Circa’s pizza is freaking delicious.
We’re completely enamored with the Fancy Bacon and Eggs Pizza (pictured above, $20), which is sassy yet classy — like if Anthony Bourdain and Rachael Ray could agree on what a good breakfast should look like. That divine creation is available on their brunch menu, along with other standouts like the Lox Pizza (stracciatella, shaved red onion, crispy capers, dill, lemon zest, everything spice) and the Benedict Pizza (maple cured ham, spinach, classic hollandaise, farm eggs).
At dinner, try the juicy cheeseburger with fontina cheese ($18), or the Salumi Pizza ($18), which features hot soppresatta and honey. Both of these options pair quite well with a pint — but hey, you knew that already, didn’t you?
Fortunately, Circa has 6,000 square feet of space, which means plenty of options for seating. We were able to waltz right up to the bar for Sunday brunch and Wednesday happy hour, which made this beer geek quite happy. There’s also table service indoors and outdoors.
I strongly recommend making reservations on Friday and Saturday nights, though, as we waited 30 minutes when we walked in at 7:00 PM on a Friday last week. Admittedly, that’s not terrible in the grand scheme of things, but it could have been avoided if we’d planned ahead.
I’m betting that this place will only get even more popular with time, so when in doubt, make a reservation.
Circa’s interior feels industrial, yet chic. We loved the seamless curvature of the wooden bar inside (see above). There’s even a place to play shuffleboard, which is handy for Friday night waits.
Since Circa is a fully operational brewery, the work doesn’t stop once guests arrive. If you’re lucky, you can see head brewer Danny creating new batches of beer!
Given that we’ve already been here three times since it’s opened, I think it’s safe to say that we’re fans of Circa. Staff are knowledgeable about the food and drinks they serve; the pizza is on point; and the beer is better than most options in the area. We can see how $20 pizza and $7.50 pints can seem “overpriced” to some people, but in this case, we think it’s worth it.
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All costs were paid by me, and all opinions are my own. All links are included for informational purposes only. Hey, I just really like introducing folks to good beer.