The last two and a half decades have been a whirl-wind ride for Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery. Right from their humble beginning in 1987 – when owners Steve Hindy and Tom Potter quit their day jobs to revitalized Brooklyn’s long brewing heritage – the Brooklyn Brewery has been on a meteoric rise to become one of the top 40 breweries in America.
Like any brewery, brewhouse capacity has always a major limitation for the Brooklyn Brewery. Rent is expensive in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood and finding nearby real estate can be an equal restriction. But all of those obstacles were overcome last week when the Brewery cut the ribbon on phase one of their 13,500 square foot expansion. The new space, located in an abandoned warehouse adjacent to the current brewhouse, will increase production ten fold as well as result in ten new jobs at the brewery. I Drunk That recently had a chance to swing by their tasting room for the expansion celebration and get a taste of their new Brewmaster’s Select beer, Main Engine Start.
“It’s taken 5 years, a search for space that reached hundreds of square miles and an international collaboration unmatched in New York. Co-Founder Steve Hindy, Brewmaster Garrett Oliver and The Brooklyn Brewery are proud to celebrate the unveiling of Expansion Phase 1 with the first brew from our new brewhouse: Brooklyn Main Engine Start.”
The expansion party started off like every other Brooklyn Brewery celebration. There were almost a dozen beers being poured from both bottle and draft – including the coveted Black Ops – as well as amazing local food from brewery favorites Ovenly, The Meat Hook and The Food Experiments. The major draw as far as beers were concerned was the new Main Engine Start, an Abbey Single brewed with British Malts and Belgian yeast. Dangerously drinkable at 6.2% ABV, the Main Engine Start was high on the hop bitterness and drank almost like a Belgian yeast-infused British Bitter. This seemingly unlikely combination is familiar territory for the Brewery, however, as most of their beers are brewed either in a UK or Belgian style.
The real treat of the day, though, was a chance to see the new brewing space. With a make-shift bar and three-piece rag-time band to welcome the patrons, guest quickly flocked to the new space. Personally, I have seen plenty of fermentors in my day so it is not often that I jump at the chance to see some fresh stainless steel. It was, however, great to see the Brooklyn Brewery usurp their previous, tiny, brewhouse and I was a bit taken back by the new space full of fermentors, bottling lines and various other brewing equipment.
Overall, the Brooklyn Brewery can to do no wrong with these events. The crowd, beer and food are always top notch and it’s a great opportunity for members of New York’s craft beer community to come together and celebrate our expanding culture. Congratulations to Steve, Garrett, and the rest of the Brooklyn Brewery family… it looks like they are going to have a busy year ahead.
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