For much of the last 60 years, Puerto Ricans represented the No. 1 Hispanic demographic in the Bronx, and the borough has long been associated as a home away from home for those from the Caribbean home of the coqui — the tiny frog which squeaks its own name at the wee hours of balmy nights.
And now, Puerto Ricans on the island will be able to enjoy a taste of the Boogie Down thanks to the continued growth of The Bronx Brewery.
On July 27, The Bronx Brewery announced that it’s expanding distribution to Puerto Rico, with eight Bronx Brewery beers available at more than 30 locations across the island. Among the current places where one can find the local beer outside of New York are Sweden, Italy and Norway.
Taberna Boricua, a beer garden located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, told the Bronx Times they expect to receive the beers as soon as next week.
“I think for us, like a big, a big part of what we try to do at the brewery in terms of the beers that we produce, in terms of the venue, the types of events that we throw, the type of atmosphere in the brewery, in the backyard, is about reflecting the community around us. And obviously, a big piece of that is Puerto Rican,” said Damian Brown, Bronx Brewery co-founder and head brewer.
In keeping with that sense of community, Nuyorican-owned food business Empanalogy signed a partnership with the Bronx Brewery in 2020 and now operates a food truck in the brewery’s backyard.
“I came for the red velvet empanada,” says Abigail Natelson, who trekked from Roosevelt Island for her first visit of the brewery.
The Bronx Brewery has been brewing since 2011 and opened its taproom in 2014, serving the people of the Bronx and the Port Morris neighborhood. Then in 2020, they opened a pilot brewery, taproom and kitchen in association with Bastard Burgers at 64 Second Ave. in the East Village.
But all along, the brewery’s mission has always been about bringing people together.
In 2017, the brewery created a separate branch of beers called B-Tracks, which morphed into the Up-and-comers series in 2018 and as of this year, is now known as the Y-Series. The Y-series looks to empower local Bronx artists and organizations while simultaneously working to build community in the borough.
To see evidence of that connection, look no further than the Habibix kolsch done in collaboration with Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. The Habibix beer aims to alleviate the current stigma between being queer and being Muslim. Another example is the Friends Who Fight cherry hefeweizen which features photographer Sofie Vazquez. Vazquez was taught how to become a photographer for free by The POINT Community Development Corporation, a Hunts Point organization that is “dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the area.”
The beers are well-balanced and easy drinking without the harsh hop flavor that other beers may contain; ideal for the hot and humid weather that dominates Puerto Rico’s climate.
“I would love all my people to try this beer. It’s really good beer and it should be in Puerto Rico,” says Nuyorican Nicholas Flores, and Bronx Brewery employee. “I’m sure the Puerto Rican people will love it.”
Out of the more than 200 beers the brewery has produced (including collaborations), Brown says that his favorite is the American Pale Ale, formerly known as the Bronx Pale Ale. “If I had to drink one beer for the rest of my life, it would be that beer,” he adds.
Reach ET Rodriguez at email@example.com. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes