It used to be that throwback drinking meant quaffing Prohibition-era cocktails and Hemingway sippers. But these days, we’re seeing an emphasis on even older traditions, and a resurgence of traditional techniques that have long fallen out of use. Mead, the fermented honey drink that was made as early as 7000 BC in China and was drunk in North Europe during the Bronze Age, is making a comeback that started in the homebrew community and grew outward. And in just a few short months, Williamsburg will be home to one of the largest mead brewing operations in the country.
For several summers now, Rockaway Brewing Co. has been a fixture at the beach. Now the budding brewery is fixing to build a beach of its own, with a sandy oasis set to open near the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. Tentatively called Playa NYC, it’s one of three major projects in the works, the other two of which will be right on the brand’s namesake peninsula.
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.)