If Bushwick is the first neighborhood that comes to mind when you think “party,” it might have something to do with the lingering beer ghosts of a brewery-boom past. In 1898, most of the borough’s 45 breweries (including Rheingold, now slated for residential development) were located in the Bushwick area. But by 1976, when Schaefer shut down its brewing operations, the local industry was basically bust, having been overshadowed by monsters like Anheuser-Busch. This spring, when Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC) opens its doors on Troutman Street, it will be Bushwick’s first brewery since the decline of the neighborhood’s first Golden Age of beer.
After reading this intriguing post about a Greenpoint-based brewery (well, in the sense that Braven Brewery is based in Bushwick, which is to say it’s operated right here in Brooklyn, but the actual brewing happens Upstate) we met up with the owner of War Flag Ales & Lagers, James McFillin, at Roebling Tea Room in Williamsburg over beers. We discussed what it takes to get a brewery operation running from hops all the way to bottled, fermented drank, his plans to build out a brewery in Brooklyn in the near future, and rumors that his company is tied to the Koch Brothers. (Hint: It’s not… and actually, James really likes Bernie Sanders.)
A refreshing new IPA is on tap in Brooklyn just in time for spring. You may remember that we spoke with Eric Feldman and Marshall Thompson a couple years back about their new Bushwick-based micro-brew company, just as things were getting started. Now after two years of fits and starts, planning, scrapping, and straight hustling, Braven Brewing has finally become a reality.
We caught up with the brewers Wednesday night at fancy digs– a place called Cow and Clover, which is all poured concrete, reclaimed wood, and refurbished industrial lighting– adjacent to the now long-gone 285 Kent. Despite the close proximity of the staff, noise at the softly-lit “seasonal wood-fire kitchen” barely reached above a polite, pleasant hum at all times. The pair admitted this place was quite different from anything in Thompson’s neighborhood, Bushwick– well, for now anyway.
Before you freak out, the East Village’s diviest tiki bar hasn’t changed immensely– but Otto’s Shrunken Head has revamped what Nell the bartender described as a floor that was “peeling off,” and apparently the source of that overpowering smell of urine. The new bright blue floor smells like fresh linoleum and has given Otto’s, which opened back in 2002, a new lease on not-smelling-like-piss-and-regret, something really quite fortunate for a bar where people get shamefully sloshed on Zombies and Singapore Slings.
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As the craft beer industry in New York City and beyond continues to grow, the folks behind tomorrow’s inaugural Beer Film Festival found it fitting to gather some of the industry’s biggest names for a night of frothy brews and film.
Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster who gave us bacon beer, so when Brooklyn Brewery releases a new limited-offer, draft-only concoction (as it does every three or four months) we get excited.
We like to imagine Oliver holed up in a windowless laboratory in Williamsburg, surrounded by spices from India and barley from Newfoundland, furiously scribbling chemical equations on a dry-erase board. But he got some help for this latest installment of the Brewmaster’s Reserve series. Cuvée La Boîte is a collaboration with Lior Lev Sercarz, the self-styled “spice whisperer” and proprietor of La Boîte Biscuits & Spices, in Hell’s Kitchen.
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