By David Flaherty, New York City Correspondent
Photos by Chris Lehault of IDrunkThat.com
Like moths to a flame. Like lemmings to the edge of the cliff. Like schoolchildren to the tether ball pole, we came. From far and wide, the craft beer-lovin' fans of Brooklyn Brewery came Tuesday night in droves for the Main Engine Start launch party.
Brooklyn Brewery is expanding. And in a big way. Once fully completed, and with the estimated price tag of $6.5 million, the expansion will add 15 full-time, salaried employees to the mix.
I was astounded by the size of the new space. Entering through the normal front door on North 11 street, we were led to the right where the previous brewery ended. But now a short hallway exists, and when one passes through, the new space appears, gleaming and spacious. I wondered if they would be fueling 747s in here with Black Chocolate Stout instead of jet fuel.
In fact, this is only Phase 1. Phase 2 will involve taking over the adjacent space to this one, thereby creating an UBER-brewery. Phase 3 — still in the planning stages — will involve turning the entire borough of Brooklyn into one giant keg of Brooklyn Pennant Ale.
Once the entire project is complete, Brooklyn Brewery will have increased its capacity from 8,000 to 50,000 barrels
per year, ensuring that their thirsty fans have beer to fill their bottomless steins. This will massively up the availability of their hugely popular (and quickly depleted) Brewmaster's Reserve Series, which they make on-sight and sell in keg and large-format bottle (their beers in twelve-ounce bottles will still be contract-brewed upstate in Utica at FX Matt Brewing
In celebration of the new rumpus room, they've released their latest Brewmaster's Reserve, Main Engine Start, to celebrate the occasion. It is the first beer brewed on their shiny new equipment. Technically a Belgian "Abbey Singel"–a lighter style traditionally brewed by the monks for their own consumption — it clocks in at a very drinkable, and very sessionable, 6.5% abv. In the bitter cold of February, I think many people were expecting a hearty, fuller rich beer to gird themselves from the weather. What we got was a tasty, light/medium-bodied beer with a slight hop zip and notes of fall cooking spices like clove and cinnamon.
Being the party it was, they opened up all their taps for attendees and poured the following (among others): Brown, Weiss, Lager, Black Chocolate Stout and Winter. Their were also some "secret" large-format bottles being cracked on the sly, as I talked to numerous people who were sipping on Local 1, Local 2 and Black Ops. All while being serenaded by the jazz and swing tunes of The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn
I, myself, took to the Black Chocolate Stout like a baby does to the bottle. The only difference? This bottle packed a whopping 10% abv.
Boy, that alarm clock this morning was a demon incarnate. I think they should rename the beer "Velvet Hammer."