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.
Greenpoint’s Manhattan Avenue strip has always been a destination for affordable homewares, but in recent weeks a couple of young women have opened home design shops that stand out amidst the 99-cent stores and budget appliance centers. “Most of my clients are what I’ll call of the Williamsburg persuasion,” admits Erica Lewis, the 24-year-old who opened Copper + Plaid two weeks ago. Still, she and Ashley Burson, who last month opened Burson & Reynolds just a few doors down, hope to be embraced by the newcomers and the old-timers in their rapidly changing community.
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.