Brooklyn is becoming Brew-klyn!
Over the last 10 years, the number of breweries in Kings County has overflowed, from just three in 2009 (Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint, and Kelso) to more than 20 today. There is no sign that the trend is slowing down — over the next few months, three established breweries will start making suds in Brooklyn: Braven Brewing, Grimm Ales, and Stillwater Artisanal Ales.
The brewer behind Stillwater, which has spent the last eight years creating award-winning beers as a “gypsy brewer,” renting equipment at various commercial breweries, says that opening in the borough of Kings is a natural fit.
“Brooklyn is one of the hottest, most cosmopolitan places in the world right now; with Stillwater being a rather ‘global’ brand, it made sense to proverbially put down roots where so many of the worlds cultures have representation,” said Brian Strumke. “It also helps that we live in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg.”
Strumke has grand plans for his upcoming facility, called “Production” and opening in Greenpoint in the fall.
“It’s ultimately going to be one large Willy Wonka-style factory, where we can dream up new ideas, and bring them to life,” he said. Having his own space will allow for barrel-aging beers and experimenting with new cultures of yeast — things that cannot be done when using other people’s equipment.
Grimm Ales, which began in the Gowanus apartment of its founders, Lauren and Joe Grimm, has also spent time as a gypsy brewer. Its new brewery and taproom, opening on the border of Williamsburg and Bushwick in July, will allow the couple to expand production, increase experimentation, and debut new styles of beers, they said.
Keeping all of the production in-house will not only give them more control over the brewing process, but also how it is served, said Lauren Grimm.
“It means a lot to our business, in terms of inviting customers to our own tap room and being able to present our beer in the best light possible at our bar,” she said. “It also enables us to have more control and oversight during the brewing and fermentation processes.”
Braven Brewing was founded in 2013 with the goal of opening a space in Bushwick, and those plans will finally bear fruit in July, said its co-founder.
“This was always our goal from the beginning — everything that we’ve done until now has been for the purpose of having our own space,” said brewer Marshall Thompson.
He and his business partner have taken over an old bar and music venue, Lantern Hall‚ installing brewing tanks in the space formerly occupied by a stage. Occupying an existing space makes its easier to put in a taproom, said Thompson.
“There’s basically everything you need for a restaurant,” he said. “We just need to upgrade the power for the brewing equipment and improve the drains.”
Braven’s most popular varieties, including the Bushwick Pilsner and the White IPA, will continue to be brewed in off-site in Connecticut, but the new space will give the brewers a chance to experiment with small batches, and to team up with other businesses, said Thompson.
“It frees us up to do collaborations with restaurants, and other spirits, and we’re talking to bands about collaborating on a beer,” he said. “When you have small batches, you can make new batches all time and not be paranoid that it’s not going to sell.”
And having a surge of new breweries just offers more chances to collaborate and work together, said Thompson.
“For us in Brooklyn, it’s great,” he said. “We love having more breweries!”
Braven Brewing (52 Harrison Place between Knickerbocker and Morgan avenues in Bushwick, www.brave
Grimm Ales (990 Metropolitan Ave. between Catherine Street and Morgan Avenue in Williamsburg, www.grimm
Stillwater Artisanal Ales (321 Kingsland Ave. at Norman Avenue in Greenpoint, www.still