Crown Finish Caves
925 Bergen St., Suite 101, Brooklyn, NY11238
Back in the 19th century, Crown Heights’ old Nassau Brewery made beer, storing its lagers in cool brick tunnels dug 30 feet underground. While beer production has ceased, the building owners have transformed the lagering tunnels into Crown Finish Caves, a facility dedicated to aging cheese deep beneath the Brooklyn streets.
To honor the building’s history, I’ve again partnered with the owners to curate an event dubbed “Wild Wheels.” The idea: With washing, cheese is steadily bathed with brine, wine, spirits or beer that helps keep the cheese moist, encouraging the bacterial growth that supply idiosyncratic flavors and aromas.
The best beers, we’ve discovered, are ones low in hops (the flowers have antimicrobial properties, inhibiting growth) and high in Brettanomyces, a wild, unruly yeast that can supply notes of tropical fruit, or maybe musty earth and barnyard. The Crown Finish Caves team is washing a test cheese made with pasteurized cow’s milk by Andrew Torrens of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Manhattan. Two batches were made: one inoculated with cheese ripening cultures and one as a blank slate, both washed with seven different Brettanomyces-dosed beers produced by Other Half, Finback, Threes Brewing, Transmitter Brewing, Right Proper Brewing, KelSo, and Sixpoint.
The cheeses, which are washed thrice weekly for several months, will then be served with the beer, creating a never-before-tasted pairing. And yes, you will be eating the cheese and drinking the beer in the old lagering tunnels, where the temperatures stay right around 50 degrees no matter the weather.
Additionally, brewers will be on hand to discuss the effects of Brettanomyces on beer. Plus: handmade pretzels. Wild Wheels is the delicious intersection of the building’s past and its future. Space is very limited: just 75 tickets. The experience: never to be repeated.