City’s first brewery founded by women, Talea Beer Co., opens new taproom in Cobble Hill

talea beer pour
Talea Beer Co., New York City’s first brewery founded by women, opened a brand-new location in Cobble Hill earlier this month.
Courtesy of Talea Beer Co./Facebook

The first female-founded and veteran-owned brewery in New York City, Talea Beer Co., opened a second taproom location in Cobble Hill on June 9, bringing accessible, delicious beers to Bergen Street in a bright and welcoming new space.

“We fell in love with the neighborhood when we first visited 61 Bergen last summer and have returned many times since with our families in tow,” said co-founder LeAnn Darland. “There is an incredibly unique neighborhood feel in Cobble Hill, and we are excited to create a new gathering place for the community.”

Talea was founded based on the need for a female-inclusive beer company in a male-dominated industry. Darland and her co-founder, Tara Hankinson, worked together in the beer industry before realizing they shared a dream of expanding the craft beer market. Focused on male buyers, breweries just didn’t attract customers like them.  

talea taproom in cobble hill with bright colors and lights at bar
Talea Beer Co., New York City’s first brewery founded and operated by women, opened a colorful, brightly-lit taproom in Cobble Hill on June 9. Courtesy of Talea Beer Co./Facebook

A rocky start — the pair told CNBC that they quit their jobs at the same time and worked odd jobs before they got their new venture off the ground — led to the pair opening their first location in Williamsburg in 2021 after launching Talea Beer, which was sold in supermarkets, in 2019.   

Both the Williamsburg location and the new Cobble Hill taproom were designed by Carpenter + Mason and built by the Cocozza Group, and the new location maintained Talea’s light-filled, colorful aesthetic — which Darland and Hankinson chose specifically so the space would feel welcoming to women and families.

“The space had so much raw beauty that we wanted to pay homage to by retaining the beautiful brick and emphasizing the skylight through lighting and the location of our bar,” Hankinson said in a release. “Unexpected color and textural combinations are one of our hallmarks — mirroring the bright colors and geographic shapes on our packaging.”

Lovers of beer can find new options or classics at Talea Cobble Hill. They serve morning coffee, tea, and snacks in addition to their beers, wines, and cocktails. Guests can choose between indoor and outdoor seating, or choose one of the brewery’s signature beers, like Peach Berry Sour Punch or Sun Up Hazy IPA, to go. Darland and Hankinson have ensured that their extensive menu is friendly to well-versed beer lovers and newcomers alike, with a variety of flavor palettes that go beyond the dark and bitter beers that often feature in independent breweries.

The taproom isn’t just a place to go for beers after work or on weekends — on weekday mornings and afternoons, people are invited to “Work from Talea,” bringing their laptops and books to Bergen Street while they sip on coffee. On weekends, the brewery will host yoga and barre classes, which have been a hit in Williamsburg.

As mothers, Darland and Hankinson intend to give other parents a sense of community — offering “Stroller Tuesdays” with food and drink specials every Tuesday from 12-4pm. Both Talea locations feature plenty of stroller parking and changing tables so parents can easily bring and care for their children.

talea cofounders standing outside williamsburg talea sign
Talea Beer Co. co-founders LeAnn Darland and Tara Hankinson work to make their taprooms welcoming to all with child-friendly spaces and a variety of beers that appeal to aficionados and newcomers alike. File photo by Sydney Butler

The focus isn’t just on guests — last year, the duo told Brooklyn Paper about the challenges women face in the beer industry, and how they were changing their approach to make Talea a safe haven in an industry rife with sexism. All employees rotate in their roles, so women, Hankinson said are often relegated to front-of-house roles, get to try their hand at brewing, too.

Entry-level positions typically require manual labor, which can deter women from applying at all, Hankinson said ahead of the Williamsburg location’s opening in March 2021.

“A typical keg of beer is 160 pounds,” she told Brooklyn Paper at the time. “That’s more than I weigh, so how am i going to get that down the stairs of a bar in Manhattan? I can’t, so I can’t even apply for that job.”

By design, Talea’s weigh just 50 pounds so all employees can more easily carry them to the taproom floor. 

TALEA Cobble Hill is located at 61 Bergen Street between Smith Street and Boerum Place in Cobble Hill, and is open Monday-Thursday 12pm-10pm, Friday 12pm-11pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11am-11pm. Visit taleabeer.com or call (716) 466 2126 for more information.

Update June 28, 2022, 10:41am: This story has been amended to include proper attribution of a quote that had previously been reported by another outlet.