Bronx Brewery to open tasting room

Bronx Brewery co-founders Chris Gallant (left) and Damian Brown show off their brewing machinery in Port Morris after — finally! — moving to the increasingly beer-friendly Bronx.
Photo by Ben Kochman

The Bronx Brewery will soon open up where it was always meant to be — in the Bronx — and locals are invited to share the first toast.

The beer maker — which, since 2011, has produced most of its suds in (gasp!) Connecticut — plans to open a tasting room in early August in its under-construction E. 136rd street warehouse in Port Morris.

Science of suds

Locals will get the chance to sample suds steps away from where the beer is brewed, and learn about the brewing process on tours of the cavernous beer factory.

The brewery’s owners are practically bubbling with excitement to finally open up to their neighbors.

“For us, this is more than just a product,” said Damien Brown, the shop’s brewmaster. “We’d like this to be a point of pride for the neighborhood.”

Brewery staff plans to be on hand to teach visitors about the science of suds.

“I hope we can offer a space where the community can really learn about beer,” said Chris Gallant, the brewery’s general manager.

Canning it, locally

The brewery signed a lease in February 2013 on a former lace factory on E. 136th Street between Willow and Walnut avenues, a short stroll away from the 6-train’s Cypress Avenue stop.

A couple months later, the company started selling its beers in cans, which will start being filled at the Bronx headquarters as soon as construction is done.

Gallant said the brewery would be hiring around five more staffers to go along with the company’s current eight full-time employees.

Beer town is back!

The finally Bronx-based Bronx Brewery is only the latest entry in the borough’s resurgence as a beer haven after being dry for decades.

Williamsbridge’s Gun Hill Brewery became the first beermaker to craft the beverage in the borough since the 1960s when it opened in January.

The South Bronx was once beer central, with suds crafted by German immigrants who moved to the borough in the mid 19th century, said Bronx historian Lloyd Ultan.

“They wanted to get ahead, so they did what they knew, “ said Ultan, “And that was how to brew beer.”

Breweries with German names like Hupfel, Haffen, and Zeltner’s once packed Melrose and Morrisania, before business collapsed during Prohibition in the 1920s.

Old-time Bronx beer guzzlers might remember the Rheingold brewery plant, formerly the Eichler’s factory, on Third Avenue and 169th street — the last Bronx beer factory to operate in the borough before the recent brewery wave.

“They say that history repeats itself,” said Ultan, “and I think this proves the point.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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