Steven Baird grew up on a small farm two hours outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. It was a “dry county,” meaning the sale of any kind of alcoholic beverages was forbidden. So how ironic is it that today, Baird has forged a successful career working in the beer industry.
Baird, 35, is one of four partners that are the Wiley Brothers who together own four other beer houses across Brooklyn and Queens– Bar Great Harry, Glorietta Baldy, Mission Dolores and The Owl Farm. And in late March, a fifth– Cardiff Giant— will open at 415 Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill.
Cardiff Giant will offer customers 20 beers and 20 ciders at all times, both on draft and in bottles. Culling from a list of close to 50 local and regional small beer producers, offerings will rotate weekly, based on availability and season.
“We’ll be going across the whole state,” said Baird. “Brooklyn and Queens alone have a ton of breweries– Brooklyn Brewery, Finback Brewery, Bridge and Tunnell Brewing, Rockaway Brewing… We’ll order one or two kegs of each beer. And when it’s gone, it’s gone. You can come in one week, the next week get something new.”
Pour sizes range from tastings, to small pours, to standard pints and to carafes for sharing. There also will be a small wine list featuring distinctive New York wines with a sense of place and a small cocktail list highlighting New York spirits.
As a rotator beer bar, one might worry about what exactly to order. Baird said that’s actually the fun part, because customers get a chance to experiment, based upon their own personal taste:
“The bartender will ask you what you like to drink: sweet, sour, bitter, roasty? Then they will steer you towards what beer you’d probably like,” said Baird. “We look for beers that are interesting and don’t tastee like everything else, and try to turn customers onto that and expand our horizons.”
Cardiff Giant additionally will hold monthly events featuring beer and cider makers. Patrons will discover the best New York State has to offer in the newly remodeled space that features floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto Myrtle Ave and an inviting backyard.
What other specialties can Brooklynites expect at Cardiff that do not exist at the dozens of other beer bars popping up around the neighborhood?
“We’ll have more cider than is usually available,” said Baird. “I’ve been buying beer and cider for about five years and so have built relationships with a ton of breweries, made a lot of connections, and I’ll be calling in favors.
“So customers can always expect something new: one-off beers, specialty beers and custom house ciders.”