In 1932, there were over 2,000 speakeasies stashed in every nook and cranny of Manhattan. Literally on the corner of 54th Street and Third avenue (the exact address has been lost in the mist of time and dust of destruction) was the Zum Brauhaus where you could get a stein of “Otto’s Beer” and some say the best German-style food south of Yorkville, then New your City’s German Community.
The Zum Brauhaus was a family place that harkened back to the pre-Prohibition days when the whole family went to a hofbrauhaus or beer garden for Sunday dinner. There were beer gardens on the Bowery that rivaled the great beer gardens of Munich.
Now a vacant, lot, not far from the legendary P.J. Clark’s on the East Side of Manhattan, all that is left of the Zum Brauhaus is this modern version of Otto’s recipe for the beer that was served there.
OTTO’s ZUM BRAUHAUS BIER
1 can of hop-flavored malt extract (they used Blue Ribbon).
2 lbs. brown sugar
1 cake baker’s yeast
5 gallons water
“Boil one gallon of water and let it settle, then add the malt extract and sugar, stiring well. Put this in a crock and add four gallons of cold water. Dissolve the yeast in a glass of tepid water and add to the mixture. Let stand three days, removing foam twice a day. You are now ready for bottling. Put ½ teaspoon sugar in each bottle, pour the brew into each bottle with a syphon, cap and stand upright for three weeks.”
The above recipe was found in the book “Manhattan Oases: New York’s 1932 Speakeasies” by Al Hirshfeld (published by E.P. Dutton & Company – 1932)