Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Anne Becerra at Treadwell Park, a beer hall and gastropub in the Upper East Side, to check out New York City’s first designated beer cellar: the Cellar at Treadwell Park.
The brainchild of Becerra, Treadwell Park’s beverage director, who is often billed as New York’s first female Cicerone, a beer judge, and a credited expert, christened the cellar with a visit from Sam Smith’s of England in October. The visit was fitting breaking of the beer cellar’s seal, as Becerra aims to use the space to bring back excitement for world class beers. (Samuel Smith’s stouts are among them.)
(Samuel Smith Old Brewery, located in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England, is Yorkshire’s oldest brewery, founded in 1758.)
In a beer world where the most highly anticipated brews tend to be the most short lived (think hazy, “juicy” IPAs whose high concentration of hop matter makes them best enjoyed fresh, some even within days of packaging), a beer cellar reminds us of the other end of the spectrum: the aged. The patient. The wise. The fireside sippers best enjoyed in contemplation, in conversation, and with friends, whether around a tasting room table or the dinner table.
These beers are in danger of being forgotten by a younger generation of craft beer enthusiasts who are so consumed with chasing the latest release of a DDH DIPA (that’s double dry hopped double IPA, for the uninitiated) or adjunct-laden dessert stouts that they miss the history built into the beers they love. Many of these beer nerds, Becerra would venture to guess, have never tasted a Samuel Smith, or for that matter, a Schlenkerla or a Cantillon.
Beer Cellar at Treadwell Park: Where Classic Beers Can Be Appreciated
Becerra’s beer cellar at Treadwell Park is the place where world class beers can once again be appreciated, all in one place. To start, she’s created a reserve list—because typically, robust bottle lists can be overwhelming—along with a separate, more copious list of selections spanning years and vintages. Beers are also each given their own page in this growing binder, so if a customer is unfamiliar, they can learn about the beer’s origins and flavor profiles before committing.
“This is the starting point, but it’s just going to keep growing. I really wanted to make sure people can learn about the beers and try new things out without being intimidated, so every beer has its own page,” she said.
A beer description might include information like where a yeast is cultivated, how the beer is made, how the terroir, or sense of place, comes into play, and how long it takes—and how lovingly difficult it is—to brew these beers. (This not only educates the customer; it also, perhaps, justifies a potentially steep price point.)
“We don’t want people to come in and feel like if they don’t know every little thing, then they’re not welcome. There are a lot of references to the wine world, to the spirit world, to barrels and things…There’s some familiarity [there], so they won’t see an overwhelming list and be like, how do I start?”
For now, the Beer Cellar at Treadwell Park is invitation only, but Becerra plans to host private tastings and meet the brewer events in the future.
“This is the kind of place that I’d want to hang out and have a beer,” she added.
The decor of the beer cellar is warm, wooden and rustic, with beer books, glassware and memorabilia collected from, or inspired by, similar tasting rooms at breweries around the world. It includes nicknacks from Becerra’s beer travels, which she is both grateful for and longs to share with patrons.
Spending an hour to two in the Beer Cellar at Treadwell Park is “being able to travel through beer and say, ‘this tastes like Belgium,’ ‘this takes like Italy,'” said Becerra. “Not everyone has the opportunity to travel and do all these things, but they can come here and have a beer here from [almost] anywhere in the world—or recreate an experience they have had.
The Beer Cellar at Treadwell Park is located at 1125 First Ave. (62nd St. & 1st Ave.) in Manhattan. Learn more about Anne in this #WomanCrushWednesday post.