Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kings County Brewing Collective Kings County Brewers Collective Pt. 1 of 2 Kings County Brewers Collective Pt. 2 of 2 Non-Flash version of the full podcast

In the mid- to late-1800s, Brooklyn, and Bushwick in particular, was a brewing powerhouse: the Otto Huber/Hittleman brewery on Meserole, which now houses the 60-tap beer mecca The Well; the old Schlitz bottling plant a few blocks off of Bushwick Ave., currently being renovated into upscale apartments; Rheingold; William Ulmer; Schaefer. At one point there were about 45 breweries in Brooklyn, and the borough accounted for a tenth of the nation's beer production!  A NY Times article provides a map and some history. All of that ended with the closure of Rheingold and Schaefer in 1976, and the borough didn't see a return to production brewing until the Brooklyn Brewery opened in Williamsburg in 1996 (though Park Slope Brewing brewpub was on the scene by then).

L-R: Tony, Pete, Zack, B.R.

But brewing is back in Bushwick! Three partners have leased a 5,000 sq ft commercial space at 381 Troutman St., just off Wykoff, and spitting distance from the Jefferson stop on the L-train. They're building a 15-barrel, 3-vessel brewhouse made by American Beer Equipment, which they'll use to fill four 30-barrel fermentors. Kings County Brewers Collective plans on having a 1,000 sq ft tasting room in the front of the brewery, featuring two 13'x13' open garage doors, to create a bright, open, welcoming feel. 

A test batch.

In addition to offering their brews on 12 tap lines, they'll also sell beer to go in Crowlers, 32-oz aluminum cans filled fresh from the tap like a growler, and sealed on the spot. They also plan on canning some batches using a mobile canning service. The brewery is aiming to have the doors open and beer flowing sometime over the summer of 2016.

The brewhouse, still unwrapped.

Partner and production manager/quality control technician Pete Lengyel said that KCBC will have a barrel aging program right from the start. Having done some work with the barrel program at Brooklyn Brewery, as well as brewing stints at Greenpoint Brewing/Kelso, Rockaway and Finback, we're sure that it's bound for success. He notes that they'll be looking to get a foudre and perhaps some grundy tanks to add capacity for making some funky brett beers. Pete, a native of San Diego, worked in molecular biology before being bitten by the brewing bug.

Floor plan.

Partner Tony Bellis, a former home brewer who has extensive experience in the coffee industry, said that they'll probably have three different IPAs when they launch, out of about 7 or 8 planned debut beers, including a kettle sour, pilsner/lager, and a saison. Before joining the venture, Tony did his time at Greenpoint Brewing/Kelso, starting out at the bottom filling kegs and working his way up to head brewer, where he worked up until November 2015.
B.R., Tony, Pete, Zack.

The third partner, Zack Kinney, whose background is in advertising, also started out home brewing and, like the other two, studied brewing through the American Brewers Guild program. Zack and his partners are hoping to revitalize a great beer culture in Bushwick, focusing on community, education, collaboration, and damn fine beer! 

Lots of great street art throughout Bushwick.

In addition to advanced gear such as a centrifuge and a hopback, they'll have a 1 barrel pilot system. This will allow them the freedom to try out a lot of different styles and techniques, and experiment extensively. We're eager for these talented, inspired individuals to get brewing, and we'll definitely be checking in with them again once the brewery is open for business!

Grain mill.

Looking from the back to the front.
Looking from the front to the back.

Street view.


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