Pourfection

The tap system at BBD’s in Rocky Point is cutting edge. • Photographs By Alicia Valeo and Kevin Breslawski

Chef Ralph Perrazzo, owner of BBD’s.

Chef Ralph Perrazzo, owner of BBD’s.

Chef Ralph Perrazzo, owner of BBD’s — short for Beers, Burgers and Desserts — wants to give his customers perfect beer. His selection is vast and diverse, but he believes that’s not nearly as important as the way it’s served. This led him to spend the better part of two years improving his draft system to strive for the ideal pour.

Despite this commitment, Perrazzo’s lifelong passion is food. “I’m a chef. I’m not a connoisseur. I’m a guy that loves craft beer and respects the brewers and what they do,” he says. “Honestly, if I could do it all over again, I’d be a brewer.”

After getting his start in a restaurant on Long Island, Perrazzo moved on to cook in Manhattan at Michelin-star restaurant Jean Georges. From there, he lived and cooked in Europe for a few years before coming home to the United States, Las Vegas to be exact. “Living on the West Coast is where my passion for craft beer really developed,” he says.

He returned to Long Island to create a place where craft beer and food are shown the same level of respect. “I was tired of going to good restaurants where the beer was bad or great craft beer bars with average food,” says Perrazzo. “I looked to see what everyone else was doing in New York City and Long Island and said how can I do it better?”

The chef set up shop in an “ugly shopping center in Rocky Point,” but wasn’t worried, thinking, “Build it and they will come.” And they certainly did; beer enthusiasts have traveled from Pennsylvania just to drink off the tap list at BBD’s.

The tap system is based on European models. First and foremost, the lines are only about three feet long and professionally cleaned every two weeks. “The beer should not go far from the keg to your glass,” says Perrazzo. Even the thickness of the tap lines was carefully considered; a tube was designed for each style of beer.

Commercial dishwashers can leave soap residue, which affects the head, carbonation and body of a beer. BBD’s invested in pricey, high-temperature machines that don’t use chemicals.

 

Commercial dishwashers can leave soap residue, which affects the head, carbonation and body of a beer. BBD’s invested in pricey, high-temperature machines that don’t use chemicals.

Instead of the gas mix often used to propel beer out of a tap, BBD’s uses only carbon dioxide. Each tap has a valve that controls the amount of CO2 based on the beer, ultimately controlling the level of carbonation. Some styles are brewed to be effervescent and bubbly while others shine when flatter and smooth.

“People drink the mainstays here; go to another bar, and it would taste totally different,” says Perrazzo.

The newest addition to BBD’s lineup is a custom-designed cask engine. Cask ales are normally served at around 53 degrees with only natural carbonation. Perrazzo says it has been a learning curve getting customers to try cask beer, but once they do, they usually order another.

Of course, Perrazzo and bar manager Tom Beiner take pride in their list and often feature limited, hard to find beers, and brewers are noticing. Through their beer-centric travels, Perrazzo and crew have made connections all over the country; they are often in the know when something interesting is brewing out of state.

Next up for BBD’s is growler fills, so customers can take their favorite beers home. These won’t be standard growlers. Again, they will be based on European models; the shape and glass thickness will allow the beer to stay fresher longer. Separate CO2 tubes will be used to purge the growlers of oxygen before filling, to further increase longevity.

Also on deck is an extensive bourbon and whiskey program. New shelving is going in behind the bar to highlight the bottles, and Perrazzo will curate the menu. Oh, and they also have some pretty tasty food, too.

“We changed the level on the way we pour and serve beer,” says Perrazzo. “We hope others will follow.” It’s evident he means it. A chef turned beer geek turned advocate, Ralph Perrazzo is eager to share all he has learned but ultimately wants his beer to speak for itself.

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Husband and wife team Alicia Valeo and Kevin Breslawski write the blog Beer Loves Company.