Chocolate beer made with cocoa nibs? It’s a sweet time to visit Williamsburg.
If you haven’t yet visited the Mast Brothers chocolate factory, now is the time to go. Earlier this year, Brooklyn’s favorite bean-to-bar chocolatiers Rick and Michael Mast unveiled a revamped flagship in Williamsburg, and factory tours now run every hour, on the hour. You don’t even have to reserve a spot in advance—just walk in and sign up.
Known best for their barely sweet single original bars, the brothers have been steadily expanding, streamlining their production process, and developing recipes for bonbons and brewed beverages. They’ve moved production of their popular chocolate bars to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, allowing them to free up space in the Williamsburg flagship. Now, the bars are laid out on a series of cubes and visitors can peek into the factory at the back. They’ve also converted their nearby space (formerly the brew bar) into a chocolate lab where they develop new techniques and recipes, like chocolate beer made with cocoa nibs, which they will serve on tap at the boutique.
Earlier this year, they opened their second location in London and they plan to open a new store in Los Angeles by the end of the year. “My brother and I have felt particularly welcomed into the London food scene since we started spending a lot of time there a few years back,” Rick explained. “East London has felt like a second home to us for years now, so it made sense for us to open up shop there.”
In Williamsburg, Mast Brothers is just one of several shops where locals and visitors can satisfy their sweet tooth. Cacao Market by Maribel Lieberman, owner of the popular MarieBelle shops, opened last April. Cult favorite Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream recently opened a new location on Wythe Avenue. Plus, the established ice cream innovators at OddFellows continue to churn out suprising new flavors like miso cherry and matcha crunch.
Still, perhaps none of New York's chocolate offerings are quite so beautiful (in that industrial, oh-so-Brooklyn way) as Mast Brothers' outpost:
Laura Itzkowitz is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lauraitzkowitz.