If you have a pulse, you’ve probably noticed that Brooklyn has become rife with breweries in the past five years. The likes of Brooklyn breweries such as Other Half, Interboro, Threes, KCBC and Greenpoint Beer & Ale have been churning out ample amounts of ales and lagers, many of which not only become fast favorites among Brooklyn’s beer drinkers, but are sought out by beer aficionados around the country and globe.
One of the many great things about beer is that you can never really have too much of it in a big city, particularly in one like New York, where the beer scene is burgeoning and the breweries-per-capita is still surprisingly low compared to other beer towns like San Diego or Denver.
What that means for us is that when it comes to Brooklyn breweries, the beer bubble isn’t bursting just yet, with new craft beer businesses continuing to pop up around the boroughs. In fact, before summer’s end, Brooklyn will be home to three new Brooklyn breweries, Circa Brewing Co., Five Boroughs Brewing Co. and Randolph Beer DUMBO, bringing the borough brewery count to a total of 13 and counting, and each is offering a unique take on the craft beer craze.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve chatted with each of the upcoming breweries about what’s in store for the rest of the summer, as well as what to expect from Brooklyn’s three newest beer makers both in brewery design as well as what’s in the glass.
Circa Brewing Co.
141 Lawrence Street, Downtown Brooklyn
Officially open: July 26, 2017
Circa Brewing Co. owner, Gerry Rooney is not only bringing Downtown Brooklyn its first craft brewery, he’s also bringing to life a classic pairing that our borough desperately lacks: beer and pizza.
The 6,000 square foot, 250-seat restaurant and brewery opened to the public last week with what sounds like a dream team for Downtown Brooklyn fare: beer from head brewer, Danny Bruckert (formerly of Sixpoint Brewery); wood-fired pizza from twin brother, Luke Bruckert (who, his brother tells us, honed his passion for pizza-making during a 12-year stint owning a food cart in Portland, Oregon); more wood-fired fare from executive chef, Bruce Dillon; and an inventive cocktail program led by acclaimed bartender and Grand Army co-owner, Damon Boelte.
Danny Bruckert gave us the lowdown on what to expect from the Napoli-style pizza restaurant and brewery, and when we asked what types of brews are best to wash down wood-fired pizzas, he didn’t hesitate: a wide variety of “sessionable” beers, known in layman’s terms as “beers that can get you through the day.”
Listen to this beer wisdom: “Sessionable beers have always had a place in my heart, simply because I love drinking beer, and when I drink beer, I want to drink it for long periods of time with friends,” Luckert said. “Sometimes, the popular beer styles aren’t always the sessionable beer styles [those with higher ABVs, like IPAs and double IPAs].”
Some all-day-drinking styles on tap include the refreshing (and, in their simplicity, refreshingly named) Pilsner, Belgian Wit, Belgian Pale Ale, Berliner Weisse and Gose, all of which sit innocently between 4 and 5 percent ABV. But, he notes, beer drinkers looking for more booze or on-trend brews needn’t worry: a House IPA, Hazy IPA and slightly weighty (6.8 percent ABV) Saison are all on the menu, too. Once he’s settled in, Luckert says he also plans to add barrel-aged beers and sours to Circa’s developing repertoire.
All beers will be available by the pint, by the flight or in growlers to go. And for those misfortunate enough to travel with companions who don’t drink beer, cocktails from Boelte will include barrel-aged and beer-infused concoctions, and a wine list will offer a selection of reds, whites, sparklings and rosé by the bottle and glass.
Five Boroughs Brewing Co.
215 47th St., Sunset Park
Officially open: August 5, 2017
Officially opening to the public on Saturday, August 5, Five Boroughs has what is probably the most impressive space we have ever seen in the New York City brewery scene. For one, it’s huge, boasting 2,500 square feet in the taproom alone, 15,000 square feet in total.The state-of-the-art brewhouse has it all: a shining army of 30- and 60 bbl tanks (by comparison, Circa operates a 7 bbl system); a 5 bbl pilot system for head brewer Nick Griffin to play on and pump out future taproom-only favorites; and even a stash of 56 wine barrels, both French and American oak, from Beneduce Vineyards in Pittstown, NJ.
Second, it’s got grit. You wouldn’t know it now, what with its sleek, modern design, playful color accents (peep the Play-Doh purple, green, orange, and blue rafters) and top-of-the-line draft system (Draft Choice), but when the owners broke ground on this brewery two years ago, there was literally an abandoned railroad going through it. (The only trace of its manufacturing-era past other than its infrastructure is the crane operator car sitting to the right of the entrance.)
And finally, the beers are damn delicious. Thanks to a private press event, we were able to sample them all—there are 10—don’t judge, you can order “small pours” of 10 oz for $5, or pints for $7. A few of our favorites are the Pilsner (soft, balanced, and crisp—by the way, did we mention we love Brooklyn pilsners?), Tiny IPA (a hop bouquet of beer flowers for your mouth, and at just 3.5 percent ABV, you can drink, like, eighty), and the ruby-red star of the show, Raspberry Gose.
Follow the beer-brick road to Five Boroughs on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Untappd.
Randolph Beer DUMBO
77 Sands St., DUMBO
Officially open: August 2017 (exact date TBD)
Randolph Beer DUMBO, the third iteration of the New York craft beer chain which operates a bar in Williamsburg and its original location in Nolita, can now add a bona fide brewery notch in its beer belt.
What makes Randolph Beer DUMBO unique is not only the fact that it launched with an ESB (one of the least sexy styles in the beer bro circuit, and our favorite of the current lineup), but that it will tirelessly cater to the tech crowd. With WeWork offices in the same building and the startup hub of DUMBO at its doorstep, Randolph is home to the stuff of freelancer and geek dreams: a glistening wall of self-serve tap handles; outlets outnumbering barstools open for phone-dying plugins; and hovering above a handful of round tables, giant cords with three-prong outlets and USB ports heroically hang from the ceiling. Yeah, we’ll be spending a lot of time here.
If you require more than electricity, WiFi and beer to operate, you’re in luck: Randolph is also an elevated brewpub, with beer pairing fare including soft pretzels, succulent sliders (both beef and spicy bean variety) and grain bowls.