Geekin' Out: A Look at Tørst's Flux Capacitor

By Kirsten Stamn  |  March 19, 2014
Credit: Kirsten Stamn

While it may not be able to take you back and forth through time, the Flux Capacitor at Tørst can deliver on a perfectly poured brew. Not just any draft line system, the Flux Capacitor features a sleek control panel that allows the bartender to control the temperature, gas pressure, and gas composition of each beer - whether it’s a stout, an IPA or a barley wine - so that they can be served at their best. The system was created by Gabe Gordon, the chef-owner of Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach, California, but came to New York for the first time when Gordon’s friend Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (the Danish brewer behind Evil Twin and Tørst’s co-owner) requested one. “When we opened, we knew how seriously we wanted to do beer and the quality of the beers we wanted to serve, so we chose this,” said Daniel Burns, chef and co-owner at Tørst. Since the bar brought the Flux Capacitor to the East Coast, more bars like Clinton Hall in the Financial District have followed suit.

The Flux Capacitor is a bit of a rebel: Gordon bucked industry trends set by mega-breweries like Coors, Budweiser and Miller, who serve their brews at super frosty temperatures. The Flux Capacitor is designed to serve some beers cold (for lighter beers, around 36-38 °F) and and some warmer (for the darker ones, around 40-45 °F); and additionally there is also a glycol system around the lines, which continually sets the temperature for each individual tap so that the beer doesn’t warm up traveling from the keg to your glass. Now that's devotion. Additionally, the bartender is able to easily control the proper ratio of carbon dioxide and nitrogen for each beer and adjust the pressure of each tap from the knobs on the back. Even the taps are special: “Basically, most taps are on or off,” says Burns. “But this you can go slowly down, like 10% or 20%. You must be able to pour a good beer from this tap.”

A lot of people come to the bar just to see the Flux Capacitor, but out-of-towners would be wise to stay for dinner; Burns’ restaurant in the back, Luksus, serves specially-made brews (like a rhubarb wild ale called “It’s Alive!) that you can’t find up front.