Don't call it a beer garden! The management of Birreria insist that even though their handsome new rooftop oasis atop Eataly is producing three cask-conditioned ales right there on the 15th floor, the establishment is most certainly not a beer pub. When it comes to the menu, "we're not just throwing out some staples," the management emphatically declared at last night's media preview. The full menu is still "under construction" but we're told chef Alex Pilas will be serving "rustic Northern Italian cuisine" influenced by the country's Austrian neighbors.
When it opens June 3rd, you can expect "a lot of meat," with a variety of house-made sausages and pork shoulder. Last night the blood sausage being passed around was quickly consumed by the press pack, and the fried mushrooms were also devoured with gusto. The thyme-accented pale ale was the only beer on tap last night, and it was tasty; when Birreria opens there will be nine beers on tap, dozens of craft bottles, and wine on tap as well.
The three beers produced in those copper tanks on the roof are made with a new process combining aspects of both Italian and American brewing methods; the team behind the suds consists Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head in Delaware, Teo Musso of Birra Baladin in Piedmont, and Leonardo di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo in Rome. They'll change their beer with the seasons, but besides the pale ale they're currently turning out a wheat beer brewed with peppercorns and a classic Italian mild chestnut ale.
The 4,500 square foot space features a fully retractable roof and will be open year round. We're told that capacity on the roof will be tightly controlled; once every seat is filled, they'll stop letting people up, instead taking their cell phone number and setting them free to roam Eataly or repair to the park. Because of the roof's high walls, the views of the city skyline are mostly obstructed, but who needs views when you can feast your eyes on that indispensable Flatiron building? We can see Birreria being an alluring summertime destination once the sun goes down, the Empire State Building lights up, and the surrounding buildings transform into illuminated jewel boxes.
200 Fifth Avenue (at 23rd Street), (212) 937- 8910, Starting June 3rd, open 7 days a week from 11:30 am to 1:00 am.