Threes Brewing (333 Douglass Street, Brooklyn; 718-522-2110) has been open in Gowanus for less than a year, but it already exudes the finesse of a neighborhood fixture. Venture in on a busy summer afternoon and the cavernous interior — now joined by a backyard beer garden— is humming. Local folk musicians anchor a communal vibe as a large, boisterous slice of young Brooklyn gets their collective drink on. It’s that rare breed of establishment that fills a void with such precision, it’s difficult to imagine what times were like before it opened. Much thirstier, I suppose.
As their beer program continues to evolve, Threes is figuring out what works and what doesn’t; what to feature as flagship, and what to relegate to seasonal rotation. Firmly entrenched in the former category is Unreliable Narrator, their obligatory India Pale Ale. Despite its name, the beer is consistently dependable, and has been since inception. Each sip speaks the story of a brewery that’s helping to position Gowanus as the newest destination for craft beer fanatics. Cheers to that, and cheers to Unreliable Narrator, our beer of the week.
Craft Beer has skewed so heavily towards massively hopped ales over the past half decade, the term IPA is nearly synonymous with the scene. The style threatens to become a caricature of itself. But Threes flagship offering reimagines the category in a new light, just when it needed a makeover. Unreliable Narrator plays more on the floral, juicy side, without bombarding the tongue in a deluge of bitter astringency. The most bitter element of this ale is actually its piney nose; on the tongue it tastes like a slightly carbonated, fresh flower tea.
Brewmaster Greg Doroski explains his beer’s distinctive character; “although Unreliable Narrator features big, juicy tropical flavors and aromas, it is far from one-dimensional. I would argue that our house ale yeast is just as important [as the hops].” Yeast is a commonly overlooked flavoring component in beer. Cultivating the proper microorganisms for fermentation is a daunting task, which is why most breweries source their yeast from specialists. By introducing their own, Threes ups the funk while maintaining a tighter control on their finished product. This allows them to deliver a unique expression like Unreliable Narrator, where the yeast and the hops achieve tight synchronicity.
Threes, it turns out, is helping develop culture in their brewing vessels and their native neighborhood, alike.
Although Unreliable Narrator is now making regular appearances on taps across the city, it’s best to voyage to the source in Gowanus. There you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the drink straight from the tank — at a specifically designated temperature of 48 degrees. Just make sure you get your own story straight before you start knocking back a 7.5% IPA that drinks like orange juice. An 11-ounce pour goes for $5, 22-ounces for $9.