Tørst means “thirst” in Danish, but customers can do more than quench their thirsts at this uber-beer bar in Brooklyn, NY. Since it opened last spring, critics have heaped superlatives upon Tørst, heralding it as the “best beer bar in the world.”
Generating much of the interest in Tørst is the stellar reputations of the two cofounders: Danish gypsy brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of the cultish Evil Twin brand, and chef Daniel Burns, whose culinary resume includes stints at the Michelin-starred kitchens of Noma in Copenhagen, The Fat Duck in the U.K. and Momofuku’s Test Kitchen in New York. The thirty-somethings teamed up to create a serious bar destination.
“People are coming from Europe and other parts of the U.S. to town to check us out,” says Burns, “but we definitely want Tørst to be a neighborhood spot first and foremost.”
Behind an unassuming door is a quietly handsome space decorated with reclaimed multi-toned wood wall paneling and tables, accented by cream and beige tiles. “We are going for a Scandinavian meets Brooklyn aesthetic” says Burns, “clean and minimal but still warm with all the wood.” Along one side is the long marble bar, with the day’s 21 tap offerings and specials from the 200-bottle menu listed on the mirror behind it.
And what a list that is. Quite a few of the taps are filled with much-sought-after ales from Evil Twin brewery. Beyond that, Tørst’s ever-changing list boasts rarities not seen in other bars in New York or around the world, thanks to Jarnit-Bjergsø’s international connections and the bar’s close relationship with Brooklyn neighbor 12 Percent Imports.
“We strive to have really interesting beers on tap and in bottle at all times; that’s something we are very committed to and take very seriously,” says Burns mabout the oft-changing tap selection. The bar often buys the smaller sixth-barrel kegs to keep the drafts fresh and the keg rotation moving.
Tørst’s list recently included a funky saison from Evil Twin called Ron & The Beast; a sour and salty German Rittergut Gose; Thisted Limfjords, a Baltic porter from Denmark; and Toccalmatto B Space Invader, a Cascadian IPA from Italy—to name just a few. Prices range from $5 to $12 and up. Drafts are an 8-oz. pour served in wine glasses, another detail to show how serious Tørst is about beer.
But the geekiest aspect of this Brooklyn beer bar is undoubtedly the “Flux Capacitor.” This elaborate draft system allows the operators to dial in the ideal gas mix, pressure and temperature required for each beer. The name is a reference to the movie Back to the Future, and the futuristic tap system was custom- designed for Tørst.
“It looks so crazy with all the dials and gadgets but we can tweak the right flow for every beer,” Burns says. What’s more, the wooden tap handles are stained to indicate to color of the beer served.
Tørst is not just for knowledgeable aficionados looking to taste their way through those unusual selections. Newbies can sample and learn from the knowledgeable staff. “Our bartenders are ready to guide customers in the right direction,” says Burns.
The latest move at Tørst is Luksus (Danish for “luxury”), a 26-seat restaurant tucked behind a door at the back of the bar. The restaurant, which opened in July, is Burn’s baby.
Working out of a tiny glassed-in kitchen, he turns out a finely wrought five-course tasting menu. The $85 prix fixe changes often, but has featured Nordic-accented dishes like Radish/Razor Clam/Cucumber/Bone Marrow as well as Lamb/Sunchoke/Burnt Hay/Tongue Salad.
No wine selections here; Luksus aims to show that beer can be as apt a food pairing as wine. The optional beer matches, curated by Jarnit-Bjergsø, run an additional $45.
“We are very happy with the way things have gone so far,” says Burns. They may open another place, but have no concrete plans yet. “But Jeppe always has something new up his sleeve for brewing and other projects,” Burns notes. ·
Thomas Henry Strenk is a writer of all things drinkable based in Brooklyn.