My search for the best beer in New York continues….

PAULANER, 265 Bowery (between Houston Street and Stanton Street), Lower East Side

People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them they can go to the Paulaner brewery on the Lower East Side. Anybody who knows much about beer, history, or Germany can tell you that Paulaner Brewery is an historic Munich brewery opened by monks in the 17th century. It’s one of the gathering points every year for the famous Oktoberfest.

Tank to Glass

But more recently, the Paulaner brand has expanded across the world opening up brewpubs in places like Singapore and Moscow. Its first US location opened about three years ago in New York right on the Bowery, which is notable since this was the old Kleindeutschland (little Germany) neighborhood from the 1800’s

In the Middle of the Bar

Many people might walk by this German beer hall and mistake it for a typical sports bar. But you might notice all the brewing equipment and then discover there is wonderful, authentic German pub food available and the brewmaster Andreas Heidenreich is brewing the freshest lagers every single day right on premises.

The Freshest Around

These beers are not filtered, they’re not shipped, they’re not even put in kegs. The beer you drink here is ultra-fresh and I can’t think of a better way of trying classic German styles without investing in an international plane ticket.

The Classics

I’ve been coming to Paulaner since we launched our NYC Brewery tour when this brauhaus first opened. It was a great place to begin the tours since these are the most approachable and historic beers being made in the cutting edge world of New York craft beer.

Bier Flight at PAULANER

And while I’ve tried most of their beers here and there, I try to remian somewhat sober when working, so I found some time on my day off to sit at the bar and officially work my way through one of their flights. This is one of the more expensive flights at NYC breweries (at $12 for five 3-ounce pours), but this is Lower East Side rent after all.

Hefeweizen at PAULANER

The tasting starts with their world-famous Hefeweizen. This is a classic hazy wheat beer with a hint of sweetness and a strong yeast focus. It’s not as funky as the Belgian-style, but has a subtle bubblegum note. It’s highly carbonated and you can see how this has become a century’s old classic.

Dark Hefe Bock at PAULANER

After that, things took a turn for the darker with the Dark Hefe Bock. This is a more roasty, malty version of the Hefeweizen. I actually personally prefer this to the original because I think it has a bit more complexity.

Munich Lager at PAULANER

Next came the Munich Lager, which is an excellent example of why all the big mass produced beer corporations adopted this style. Paulaner’s is much better and you can taste the tradition. The gold liquid is very crisp with a mild, but sweet body. No huge flavors. But the key to this beer is the freshness and healthy effervescence.

Munich Pale Ale at PAULANER

The Munich Pale Ale is the brewery’s most experimental beer. Germans don’t usually make top-fermented ales but rather stick to the historic lagers. Since he’s in the midst of New York City and our IPA craze, the brewmaster decided to get a little cheeky. It’s still a mild, muted beer but it has a peppery and a fruity bitterness that is not common with most German lagers. The main flavors are tropical fruits and citrus. It’s how Germans would do IPA’s if that was something they did.

Winter Bock at PAULANER

And finally, the seasonal brew was the Winter Bock which had a dark cola color and cherry aromas. This is a great warming winter or holiday beer. It has sweet malt notes with a good bite of alcohol. The body is still light and pleasant.

Germany in New York

Paulaner is a fun place and a great starting off point if you want to learn about historic beers or are a craft beer novice. There are no funky sour beers or sessionable IPA’s, but sometimes, to get a good appreciation of the innovative stuff, you have to look at the originals. And it’s great that we can do that right here at home.

Is Paulaner the best brewery in NY? In some ways, it’s the most unique. But this is really more of a bar with fresh beer and

brewing equipment on display. Tours are only available for private groups. But it will save you the airfare to taste fresh German beer and so it gets a 7 out of 10.

Is Paulaner’s Hefeweizen the best beer in NY? It’s a classic style and is flavorful and light with a potent yeast quality. Fresher than you could find in the bottle. 8 out of 10.

Is Paualner’s Dark Hefe Bock the best beer in NY? I prefer it to the original at 9 out of 10 because of its complex roasty notes that play nicely with the special yeast strain.

Is Paulaner’s Munich Lager the best beer in NY? It’s a good entry-level craft beer if you’re used to drinking the mass produced stuff. Crisp and clean and very dry, it earns a 7 out of 10.

Is Paulaner’s Munich Pale Ale the best beer in NY? The German take on an American style is very interesting, but rather subtle and gets an 8 out of 10 for tropical fruit notes and an easy-to-drink body.

Is Paulaner’s Winter Bock the best beer in NY? 8 out of 10 for a potent alcohol bite rounded out by a sweet, roasted winter personality.

PAULANER BRAUHAUS
265 Bowery (between East Houston and Stanton Street),
Lower East Side
(212) 780-0300
paulanernyc.com
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Category: Beer

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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