By Marie Kloor & Dan Nielsen for Scrimshaw Collective
Jack Nicholson said it best: “Beer, it's the best damn drink in the world”! Can't say we disagree with the man, especially after our visit to the Brooklyn Brewery last week. A celebrated institution here in North Brooklyn, the brewery straddles the line of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. While the surrounding area has become laden with upscale hotels and clubs, the Brewery retains an unmistakable air of authenticity - reminiscent of the young entrepreneurs who decided to build in the bustle of Brooklyn back in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
As chance would have it, childhood friend of Scrimshaw, Drew Bombard, serves as Brooklyn Brewery's Lab Manager and Microbiologist. Needless to say, he rolled out the red carpet and gave us a private tour of all the inner workings and history of the Brewery. And yes, we had a drink… or five.
Drew grew up in Boulder, went to Colorado State and has spent a lot of time in the beer business. Before Brooklyn Brewery, Drew worked for New Belgium (Fat Tire shout out) and has since become an expert in microbiology as it relates to the brewing process. His workspace donned with petri dishes of yeast cultures, microscopes and other various "Dexter's Lab" accoutrements had us second guessing our life decisions on spending our days married to a cubicle desktop. Seriously though, a big part of Drew's job is creating new flavors of beer alongside the Brewmaster himself! His specialty and greatest influence to Brooklyn Brewery is the introduction of Lactobacillus, which is used often in sour beers. New to the bottle lines this year is the Bel Air Sour (trust us it's amazing) that was officially named after Drew's 63 Chevy Bel Air. Yup, his job is pretty awesome.
After the tasting room and the lab, we went on the more traditional part of the tour where you see the entire brewing process from raw material to bottled deliciousness. The HQ location in Williamsburg churns out 55K barrels of beer a year - every time you get a Brooklyn Brewery beer on tap in NYC it comes straight outta BK. Despite things getting rather scientific at points, that hardly diminished the unmistakable air of fun throughout the brewery. We were even able to crash an after work party at the loading dock (every Friday the crew gets together, pulls out the kegerator, plays corn hole, skates and barbecues). The tasting room opens to the public at 6:00 PM on Fridays and starts up again at 12:00 noon Saturdays and Sundays. As Jackie Boy said, "I don't think many people have a very good understanding of leisure and the importance it plays in our lives". So in the spirit of that, go grab some friends, order a delivery pie, and enjoy the ever rotating taps down at the Brooklyn Brewery.