As New Yorkers continue to debate the unofficial drink of summer 2021, one frothy beverage has emerged as an unlikely candidate: the smoothie-style beers of Evil Twin founder Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø. Not to be confused with beer slushies — the frozen, plastic cup beverages that rear their heads whenever temperatures creep above 60 degrees in New York City, and of which Jarnit-Bjergsø is “not a big fan” — smoothie-style beers are milkshake-thick, in-your-face sweet, and fruit-forward, sometimes obnoxiously so.
The beer style from Evil Twin was previously only available in Ridgewood, Queens, where the brewery is based, and at a handful of craft beer bars across the city. But this week Jarnit-Bjergsø is bringing his eclectic list of beers to a new taproom and bar in Dumbo, where smoothie-style sours, cocktail slushies, hard “pastry seltzers,” and whimsically named double IPAs are all on the menu. Evil Twin Dumbo, the brewer’s highly anticipated sequel, opens at 45 Main Street, a block from the Dumbo waterfront, on Wednesday, June 2.
Since opening in Ridgewood a little over a year ago, Evil Twin has attracted a loyal following for its use of ingredients that — at least at the time of its debut — were lesser-seen in the city’s craft beer scene. The Dumbo taproom’s opening menu has 20 beers on tap, including those made with guava, clementine, plum, and habanero.
Notably, all of the brewery’s production is still happening in Ridgewood, but the Dumbo taproom is bringing Jarnit-Bjergsø’s tough-to-find beers closer to fans in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In addition to a rotating list of draft beers, canned and bottled beverages will available for takeout. Starting in mid-June, the taproom will also serve coffee from local roaster Sey at a walk-up window each morning.
Mezcal and vodka cocktail slushies are also part of the plan. The taproom’s frozen drinks come courtesy of Selma’s Bar, a 24-seat speakeasy located behind Evil Twin’s Ridgewood brewery. The bar, named after bartender Selma Slabiak-Casner (formerly of Mother of Pearl and Dear Irving), opened two weeks before the onset of the pandemic, according to Jarnit-Bjergsø, and never had the chance to come into its own.
Selma’s remains temporarily closed for now, but two frozen drinks from its menu have made their way to Dumbo, including a mango mezcal margarita and a brain freeze-inducing “summer crusher,” made from vodka, pear liqueur, prickly pear, and rainbow sprinkles.
At just under 2,000-square-feet, the Dumbo taproom measures slightly larger than the brewery’s indoor bar in Ridgewood, a stunning greenhouse set-up with string lights and hanging plants. Here, the team is going for a similar vibe in a 74-seat space with 23-foot-high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and plenty of plants.
The taproom comes as a big win for Dumbo, a neighborhood beleaguered by widespread construction and a downturn in foot traffic during the pandemic, but one that increasingly seems poised for a comeback. Aside from Randolph Beer, which is located further inland with no waterfront views, and Transmitter Brewing in the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard, Evil Twin is one of the neighborhood’s only sources for freshly tapped beer.
“There’s a few restaurants but not many bars,” Jarnit-Bjergsø says of Dumbo. “We felt like we could make a little bit of a difference down here.”
The Dumbo expansion comes more than a decade after Jarnit-Bjergsø founded Evil Twin, a “nomadic brewery” that operated without a permanent home until he opened his Ridgewood brewery in 2019. Aside from the two locations of Evil Twin, Jarnit-Bjergsø is also behind Greenpoint’s much-beloved Tørst, a craft beer bar he opened with his wife Maria Jarnit-Bjergsø in 2013.
Evil Twin is open Monday to Wednesday from noon to 11 p.m., Thursday from noon to midnight, Friday from noon to 1 a.m., Saturday from 10 to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 10 am. to 11 p.m.