Where There’s Smoke: Claro Brings Oaxacan Southern Comfort to Gowanus

Just after opening at the end of the summer — when it was still nice enough to eat outside — Claro’s sprawling back patio provided a smoky refuge in the heart of Gowanus. Relaxed and neighborhood-y, this paean to Oaxaca the southern Mexican state where co-chef/owner TJ Steele has lived on-and-off for the past decade and a half — proved ideal for indulging in refreshing seafood tartares and ceviches, such as diced salmon ($17) perked up with pickled cherries and crushed peanuts, and a muddle of octopus, conch, and shrimp in spicy tomato called campechana ($18). You’d sit at one of the summery teal tables beneath a vine-choked pergola or perch next to the open wood-fire kitchen as wispy flecks of ash fluttered through the air. Campfire aromas hung heavy in the air, forecasting an impending small-plates storm showcasing supremely pungent masa creations made from heirloom corn nixtamalized in-house: lobster tostadas dappled with sweet corn and a briny aioli suffused with tomalley, or lobster giblets; tlayudas, broad tortillas scattered open-faced with roasted vegetables or folded over and stuffed with sliced skirt steak and “stinky” gorgonzola crema; and all manner of memelas ($9–$12), smaller masa discs that might arrive slightly crisped in intense Benton’s bacon fat or layered with bits of hearth-smoked pork ribs and fresh, ricotta-like cheese.

Brooklynites un-ironically cracking jokes about the area’s gentrification. Pottery and ceramic dishware from Oaxaca fill the foyer shelves, and the walls are splashed with distinctive murals from renowned Oaxacan artist Dr. Lakra, including a specter rising from a cup of mezcal and a trio of mischievous anthropomorphic goats cooking a nude pinup in a cauldron. Though the bones of the space haven’t changed much since this address was home to creative New American spot the Pines, there’s renewed warmth emanating from the kitchen via homey recipes and hearty consommés and stews. A bowl of porky pig-head pozole ($19), dense with soft hominy and large enough to share, is as restorative as it is intoxicating. Fans of egg drop soup will fall for higaditos Oaxaqueños ($11), a deeply flavored potage crammed with chicken, pork, duck, and thin, yolky ribbons. And while you’ll only encounter a few of the region’s many moles (there are hundreds) at any one time, you should seek out soupy mole amarillo ($21), mild and herby as a base for chicken legs stewed with potatoes; nutty, russet-hued mole rojo ($26) ladled over veal cheeks; or mole negro ($24) made with chilhuacle chiles, earthy and chocolatey but not too sweet. The latter soars as a foil for lone chile rellenos, the colossal poblanos encased in a thin, crispy egg-batter shell and hiding shredded turkey studded with raisins and toasted almonds that restores some dignity to the typically overlooked poultry. Chile-rubbed goat ($30–$42) frustratingly only makes sporadic appearances. If you see it, grab it. Steamed in avocado leaves on the hearth and further cooked in duck fat, it’s another rock-solid case for getting Americans eating more of the misunderstood, underappreciated (stateside, at least) meat.

Steele opened Claro at the beginning of September with fellow Union Square Café-alum Chad Shaner, chef of nearby oenophile’s den Freek’s Mill. In function, if not form, the food here is similar to that of its older sibling, with smallish, thoughtfully constructed dishes meant for sharing. It’s a years-long dream realized for the copiously tattooed New Jersey native, who also helped found mezcal brand El Buho. To that effect, beverage options lean heavy on agave spirits, a boon to those interested in learning the category’s nuances. Lower-proof alcohol meanwhile is marginally underrepresented, a shame since it would be fun to let Mill’s beverage director Alex Alan loose in this setting. Still, you’re liable to enjoy pairing the few selections with Steele and Shaner’s cooking. Sweet, floral Riesling from the Finger Lakes is aces with bay scallop and apple tostadas ($17), while another thin, crunchy tortilla gets buried under a pile of tender octopus and pork cheeks ($18) showered with pickled peppers and chicharrones. Devouring it with a hot sauce–doused michelada in tow is something like kismet.

An encima bajo cocktail (left) and the dulce de calabaza, or candied winter squash, for dessert

“Frotole,” an apparently trademarked dessert (all $12), takes Mexico’s delightfully viscous, masa-thickened and cinnamon-infused hot chocolate and gives it the Serendipity 3 treatment, turning it into a frozen treat laced with goat’s milk caramel, whipped cream, and blackberries. Candied winter squash served in its syrup silences the table, sweeter than pumpkin pie by a zillion and simply, beautifully tempered by gobs of unsweetened whipped cream. On a menu that changes as often as Claro’s, it’s one thing I hope sticks around for a while, at least until the patio opens back up.

284 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215


Need a Good Group Cocktail? Dive Into Insa’s Modern Scorpion Bowl

Some drinks are made to sip quietly in dark corners, while others are meant to be shared in big spaces filled with the sound of friends toasting each other. The Scorpion Bowl is the latter, and it’s a drink that pairs particularly well with the Korean barbecue at Insa (718-855-2620; 328 Douglass Street, Brooklyn).

Dillon Mafit, head bartender at Insa, became a Korean-food addict when he moved to New York. The first time Mafit wandered to K-Town was exceptionally memorable because he’d never tried Korean barbecue before. He was smitten — which might explain why Mafit was so inspired to create an epic drink list for Insa. He wanted to make drinks that could stand up to the hearty, spicy flavors in Korean cuisine. Mafit eventually settled on one of the menu’s standouts, the scorpion bowl, because the drink (like the barbecue) was strong and meant to be shared.

“It was called the Scorpion because it delivered a sting the next day because it was so potent,” Mafit explains. He thinks the cocktail pairs particularly well with Insa’s menu because “there are so many spices and flavors going on [with the food menu], it’s really nice to have something that is bright and citrusy.”

To make a drink meant to be shared by up to six people, Mafit based the recipe on a single serving — similar to how the original Scorpion was thought to be made at the Hut bar in Hawaii. The basic elements of the drink are consistent across the board: rum, orange juice, orgeat syrup, and gin. The variations on those ingredients (and the addition of others, like brandy or cognac) depend on the bartender’s imagination.

Mafit selected a dark rum that wasn’t too sweet but was heavy on molasses. He also chose a straightforward cognac and Gordon’s dry gin thanks to its mild floral notes. Mafit’s version of the Scorpion Bowl also includes two unique deviations from the original recipe: plum wine and toasted cinnamon. The plum wine fits in with Insa’s theme (Mafit uses it in place of a grenadine floater), while the flaming cinnamon stick provides a nice aroma and visuals. After all, when you’re out drinking with your friends, it’s fun to have the drink put on a show.

When crafting the large-format beverage, Mafit approaches it like he’s making any other single-serving cocktail. “You always start small, perfecting the ratio as a smaller drink,” he says. “I do a lot of keg cocktails, bigger cocktails. From that, I have an understanding of how to move proportions and keep them the same. If you do it right, there’s not really much of a change that occurs with the drink.”

For guests who only associate Scorpion Bowls with the spring breaks of many years past, Mafit believes the hangover special deserves a new, ballyhooed rep. After all, the era of “serious” tiki drinks is upon us.

“We’re kind of entering an era where people are moving beyond the 1920s Prohibition idea,” says Mafit. “These are the drinks that need to be made and taught.”

Mafit’s recipe for both a single-serving and party-size Scorpion Bowl can be found below. He notes that the drink gets better the longer it sits — so you don’t have to polish off a party bowl in one sitting.

Scorpion Bowl (Single Serving) by Dillon Mafit
2 oz Gordon’s Gin
1 oz Eldorado Dark Rum
1 oz Paul Masson
1 oz Plum wine
2 oz Pineapple orange juice
0.5 oz Orgeat
0.5 oz Cinnamon syrup
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 Flaming cinnamon stick*

To make a party bowl (32 oz / 1 quart )
8 oz Gordon’s Gin
4 oz Eldorado Dark Rum
4 oz Paul Masson
4 oz Plum wine
8 oz Pineapple orange juice
2 oz Orgeat
2 oz Cinnamon syrup
4 dashes angostura bitters
1 Flaming cinnamon stick

*To prepare flaming cinnamon stick, soak in 151-proof rum for at least 5–10 minutes before lighting

Single Serving: Pour all ingredients — except cinnamon stick garnish — in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain and serve in a pint glass with fresh ice. Garnish with flaming cinnamon stick.

Party Bowl Serving: Pour all ingredients into a large bowl along with several large scoops of ice and stir until mixed thoroughly. (If you have quart-sized container with a tight seal, then the party-sized bowl can be shaken without ice prior to pouring into a serving bowl with ice.)


Tap Into Unreliable Narrator, A Reimagined Ale From Threes Brewing

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.


Celebrate Outdoor Drinking Season With Other Half’s Hop Showers

As spring slowly but steadily announces its presence across the city, beer drinkers in New York ready themselves for one of the best times to knock back pints of craft brew. Spring sees the return of baseball, a sport that may as well have been designed as an excuse to publicly enjoy beer in a crowded setting. But perhaps your desire to hit up Citi Field or Yankee Stadium to purchase Bud and its flavorless, Beechwood-aged offshoots, at $10+ a pop, is somewhat tempered. That’s OK. The fact that our thoroughly mediocre ball clubs are back signifies the re-emergence of a far more meaningful public drinking space: the beer garden. As a toast to the times, get your hands on Other Half Brewing’s Hop Showers IPA. It’s fresher than mowed Bronx outfield. And far more sanitary, too.

The 7.4 percent ABV, highly hopped ale merges all manner of citrus, including grapefruit zest, juicy orange, and even a late push of mango into the finish. Until recently, the beer was available only on draft, but Brooklyn’s fastest-growing microbrewery has recently launched a limited canning line, bringing Hop Showers to the streets in psychedelically designed sixteen-ounce aluminum tubes. They went quickly.

As you await the return of the can, you can still enjoy Hop Showers on tap all across the five boroughs. Head over to Jimmy’s No. 43 for a pint, as the East Village bar and eatery directly adjacent to last month’s tragic blast should finally reopen its doors to business this weekend.

And with temperatures slated to reach the upper sixties by the middle of next week, properly prepared drinkers will seek the refuge of outdoor patios and roofdecks. This year, the city welcomes a spate of newcomers ready to serve the thirsty throngs al fresco. Threes Brewing is among them — by the end of the month, the massive Gowanus brewpub plans to open its backyard garden to the public. It even launched its own Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource funds for the ambitious outdoor transformation. In addition to its own beers, Threes almost always has Other Half’s popular line of IPAs available on tap.

In Manhattan, craft cognoscenti can head to Eataly’s sun-soaked rooftop to enjoy Hop Showers ten floors above Madison Square Park. Birreria partnered with Other Half last month as part of a series of collaborative beer dinners highlighting local(ish) breweries of the Northeast. This Sunday, Birreria hosts New Hampshire’s Smuttynose for a five-course pairing starting at 7 p.m.

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This Weekend’s Five Best Food and Drink Events in NYC – 2/27/2015

Will a new month bring better weather to the New York area? Possibly. While you ponder this uncertainty, here are five sure things taking place this weekend.

Kids Food Festival, Bryant Park, 42nd Street at Sixth Avenue, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.

Mixing food and education, this event focuses on healthy eating habits for young whippersnappers and includes a variety of cooking demonstrations from the likes of chefs Bill Telepan and Joey Campanaro. Demonstrations include decorating cakes and learning how to make banana-and-peanut-butter quesadillas. The two-day fest also includes a scavenger hunt, food samples, and live entertainment. The event is free to attend, though tickets are $25 for all cooking demonstrations; check out the full lineup on the event website.

Third Annual “A Wing and a Prayer” Chicken Wing Cook Off, Hoboken Elks Club, 1005 Washington Street, Hoboken, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Unlimited wings, wine, and beer are reason to brave the PATH and head out to this festive Hoboken party. Spicy, sour, and every flavor combination you’d consider dipping chicken in will be available until 9:30 p.m.; tickets are $40 and include all the food you can eat.

2015 NYC Beer Week Closing Beer & Brass Brunch, Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, Sunday, noon

Looking for a lively brunch option to entertain anyone crazy enough to visit New York this time of year? Try a buffet plate of fried chicken, pancakes, and other brunch fare courtesy of Blue Ribbon while enjoying a pint of New York craft brew. A brass band will perform from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and guests can work off their meal on the lanes afterwards. Reservations are $40 and include one beer of choice.

Superf*ckingyawn! Launch, Threes Brewing, 333 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, Sunday, noon

For the launch party for Threes Brewing’s Superf*ckingyawn, an IPA whose title is just barely printable, the Meat Hook crew is roasting up a lamb, and a live bluegrass band will regale the crowd. Reservations are $50 if you want a food and beverage deal, though admission to the event is free.

Levine’s General Store Gluten-Free EatUP! First Anniversary Celebration, Freddy’s Bar, 627 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, Sunday, 1 p.m.

If your gluten-free cupboard is bare these days, it makes sense to stock up at this pop-up market, which offers a large selection of locally made gluten-free items. Shoppers can meet the makers, sample, and purchase everything from Italian pasta to decadent baked goods. There’s also $5 American Pale Ale and a tasting from Glutenberg Beer, plus the chance to mingle with fellow gluten-free folk.


An Exciting Elixir for a Stale Statesman: Mitt Romney Inspires Our Beer of the Week

It’s barely 2015 and we already have our first official casualty of the Almighty 2016 Presidential Election Cycle. Mr. Romney, we hardly knew ye. Just kidding, Mittens. You’ve been clambering toward the highest office in the land since all the way back when John McCain was a widely respected figure in national politics. We’re well over a decade removed from those days. As you close the door on yet another campaign, allow me to open the fridge to a fresh new Imperial ale out of Brooklyn. Threes Brewing has just thrown its hat in the ring as a candidate in the New York City IPA Primary, introducing its first heavily hopped offering. With a name evoking the same level of excitement that Romney has always elicited in (at least 47 percent of) the electorate, we bring you Superf*ckingyawn — our beer of the week.

When Threes Brewing opened late last year, it brought more than just the promise of inventive craft styles to Gowanus. The mammoth brewpub on Douglass Street incorporated a rotating pop-up kitchen, a beer garden, artisanal coffee bar, and multi-use event space, all under one roof. With something for everybody, the new neighborhood hangout represented the same sturdy consensus-building defining the Romney/Ryan ’12 ticket.

Noticeably absent, however, was a debut IPA. Presumably, the three owners who inspired the bar’s numerical name were tired of all the so-called hops-takers. You know the type; no matter how many IBUs their brewers offer them, these folks are always thirsty for a bigger handout. Rather than appease these nasty ne’er-do-wells, Threes launched with subtler styles: saisons, wheated session ales — the kind of stuff that’s only enjoyed after you’ve pulled yourself up to the bar, by your bootstraps.

But learning from the mistakes of Mitt’s past, Threes quickly realized that you gotta give the depraved masses what they want. Enter Superf*ckingyawn — a 9.5 percent hop bomb with undertones of tropical fruit and sticky pine resin. It’s that big, bold beer you want to stack up against grilled, spiced meats. Happily, the brewpub agrees and will team up with The Meat Hook on March 1 to host its own convention of sorts, although this one is unlikely to feature Clint Eastwood or many empty chairs. The Sunday-afternoon celebration will, however, showcase a whole roasted lamb.

In the meantime, Superf*ckingyawn is now on tap at Threes along with the brewery’s newest pilsener, Vliet Pils. Since Romney has yet to make an official endorsement, let’s just assume he approves. He should know; he’s tried both of them. Actually, as a devout Mormon, probably not. All the more to pour for the fine craft enthusiasts of the five boroughs.


This Week’s Five Best Food Events – 1/12/2015

Learning. Cooking. Eating. If you made a promise to yourself to start being active in one of these categories, then consider five of this week’s most intriguing events.

Your Liver, Your Health, National Gourmet Institute, 48 West 21st Street, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

Now that the holidays are over, work on treating your liver right by picking up a few tips from natural medicine expert Dr. Peter Bongiorno. The class will focus on identifying foods and remedies that best support liver function and detail the benefits of undergoing detoxification. Reservations are $45.

Spicy Sichuan Cooking, The Brooklyn Kitchen, 100 Frost Street, Brooklyn, Tuesday

Tame the winter cold this week by learning how to cook with spicy Sichuan pepper. Instructor Diana Kuan, author of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, will cook up a variety of dishes focused on the ingredient, such as dan dan noodles, mapo tofu, and cucumber salad. Class attendees will also learn how to properly store and prepare the Sichuan peppercorn. Students receive beer pairings alongside each dish; reserve your seat for $85 through the Brooklyn Kitchen website.

Williams-Sonoma Presents Road to Lyon featuring James Beard Award Winning Chef Paul Qui, Williams-Sonoma, 10 Columbus Circle, Wednesday, 6 p.m.

In preparation for the the 2015 Bocuse d’Or Culinary Olympiad, Austin-based chef Paul Qui is hosting a fundraiser for Team USA complete with wine and select appetizers. Guests will have the chance to watch Qui prepare several dishes for the worldwide chefs’ competition as part of a live demonstration. Reservations are $75, and your ticket includes wine and small bites.

Captain Lawrence Beer Dinner, Whole Foods, 214 3rd Street, Brooklyn, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Head to the Gowanus Whole Foods for a five-course meal complete with beer pairings courtesy of Elmsford, New York–based Captain Lawrence Brewery. Dishes include poached shrimp, pear and winter squash salad, and lamb bacon; beers include a smoked porter and the 12 percent ABV “Frost Monster.” Reservations are $50.

Burns Night Celebration Dinner, The American Scottish Foundation, 575 Madison Avenue, Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Celebrate Scotland with an evening of music, Balvenie whiskey, and traditional bagpipes before sitting down for supper. The event also includes a reading of Robert Burns’s poem “Address to a Haggis,” complete with a ceremonial presentation of the famed Scottish dish. Festivities include a raffle and traditional Celtic dancing. Additional information, including ticket package options, is available through the event’s website.


Threes Brewing Launches Brewpub in Gowanus

When Threes Brewing opened their doors earlier this week, it brought more than just craft beer to the neighborhood. Brooklyn’s newest brewpub is also a sizable event space, offering live performances, a coffee bar, and a rotating pop-up eatery.

Of course, beer will remain a central theme, and owner Andrew Unterberg–along with two partners, Joshua Stylman and Justin Israelson–express an interest in unique styles of suds. Sour beers, for example, will play a prominent role on the menu here. Tart and tangy, and brewed in the tradition of Belgian Lambics, sours are fermented using wild yeasts and bacterias that impart a wicked, unpredictable funk. To reign in inconsistencies, they usually spend time aging in wine barrels for up to three years. Threes Brewing has a whole stash of funky beer sitting in barrels on the north fork of Long Island, slowly awaiting their introduction to the brewpub’s two dozen tap line system.

Those 24 handles include four dedicated to kegged wine, and an enviable assortment of local guest brews. There’s also a noteworthy collection of whiskey lined up behind the bar.

“We are a place where craftsman — like mad-scientist-poets — create illuminating beer, where music performances enliven, and art performances enlighten,” says Unterberg. Pretty lofty aspirations for a brewpub. But Threes clearly intends to be much more. “It is our aim to create a pillar, both as a responsible manufacturer and a community space, that will be here for years to come.”

Kicking off with a New Orleans-based brass band and a week’s worth of Roberta’s pizza is a great way to start. Threes Brewing opens daily at 4 p.m. and is a three block walk from the Union Street subway station.


This Week’s Five Best Food Events – 11/17/2014

Is all that cold wind blowing you over? Stock up on some much-needed grub at these five food events.

Reimagining Puerto Rico: Lucky Luna Cocina Criolla Supper Club, Lucky Luna, 167 Nassau Avenue, Monday, 7 p.m.

This Taiwanese-Mexican Greenpoint restaurant is debuting its first supper club, which will feature a twist on conventional Puerto Rican cuisine. The five-course dinner will focus on bilí — a rum infused with vanilla and peppercorn and other spices. Dishes include fried plaintain and beef soup, pork-shoulder-stuffed steamed buns, and braised rabbit; the recipes were created in collaboration with chef-writer Von Diaz and are featured in her Puerto Rican food memoir and cookbook, Gordita. Tickets — which include drink pairings — are $80.

Food Policy for Breakfast: NYC Health Technology Food Forum: How Can Technology Help (and Hurt) Public Health Initiatives?, CUNY School of Public Health, 2180 Third Avenue, Tuesday, 8:45 a.m.

Grab a coffee and enjoy a morning discussion on the power of technology to help — or damage — public health initiatives. A panel of six speakers — including Jennifer Goggin of the online marketplace Farmers Web — will address the increasing influence of technology in the food world and look into its pros and cons for such topics as public health access and the prevalence of diet-related diseases. RSVP in advance.

Masters of Social Gastronomy Present: American Pie, Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street, Brooklyn, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

Apple and pumpkin pie are the topics of choice at this monthly gathering of edible education. Hosts Sarah Loman and Jonathan Soma will dive into the orchard and chat about how Granny Smith apples got their name, and the science behind the difference in some varieties. The duo will also tackle pumpkin spice and how it made its way from gourds into lattes. The event is free to attend and guests do not need tickets.

Inuman at Pulutan, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, Thursday, 6 p.m.

Craving a Pacific island getaway? Join Kuma Inn, Maharlika, and other restaurants bringing a taste of the Philippines to Manhattan this week. This year’s theme has chefs reinterpreting traditional Filipino classics; attendees will vote for their favorite dish. Tickets start at $65 and include beer, cocktails, and unlimited tapas.

Cocktail Class, The Third Man, 116 Avenue C, Friday, 5 p.m.

Fans of cocktails can learn what to stir, shake, and crack an egg into during this hands-on educational experience. Bartenders will also cover topics like the use of liquid nitrogen and how to make a chartreuse flame. Classes are $85 and include a bartender kit to take home; reservations can be made by emailing



Stoners rejoice: Weedeater return to Brooklyn for the second time in a little over a month. Those who missed them at September’s Uninvited Festival (read: most local metalheads, as there was an unofficial underground shunning of that poorly-promoted event) in Gowanus can catch the North Carolinians this time at Saint Vitus. Like the band’s sound, the crowd is sure to be thick as a plume of dank-ass schwag–which is to say, crudely packed, a little grimy, but good enough for a buzz. Not to be missed are Lazer/Wulf, from Georgia, who are listed third on the bill of five bands. This instrumental prog metal trio enjoys math-y tricks in song and album structures but never at the expense of memorable grooves. Come for the braniacs; stay for the crunkness. With Full of Hell, Lazer/Wulf, Family (Brooklyn), and Tiger Flowers

Fri., Nov. 7, 8 p.m., 2014