It doesn’t take much to brew a beer. All you need is a stove-top, some water, a few containers, a little fridge space and you’re good to go. Brewing a lot of beer though, now that’s a completely different story. Large scale brewing requires all sorts of alcohol accoutrement, but most importantly it demands space. And what does New York City not have a lot of? Space. For a brewery to find a home within the five boroughs, it takes a hefty dose of perseverance and a willingness to tread off the beaten path. This is how the Bronx Brewery found their home in the Port Morris neighborhood of the South Bronx, hardly a traditional hotspot for hops.
The Bronx Brewery is only the fifth brewery to actually brew in New York City, and by the end of the year they will be (at least to my knowledge) one of only two breweries operating in the Bronx, but General Manager Christopher Gallant says that this wasn’t a deliberate decision. As he explains it, the brewery’s two founders picked the borough simply because that’s where they lived at the time. This was back in 2011 and the Bronx Brewery was a small-time enterprise that called the Bronx home, but did their actual brewing at two larger factories throughout the tri-state area. What they had in their favor though, was a downright delicious brew, their Pale Ale, and with the success of this signature brew, they were able to expand into a brewery of their own in early 2013.
Over the past year and a half, they’ve been building out that space, converting an old electrical engineering factory into a state of the art brewery. The two founders have taken a step back, but with Gallant and Brewmaster Damian Brown at the helm, they will soon begin churning out around three thousand gallons of beer a year in this twenty-barrel brewhouse. Now that they’ll have a proper home of their own, the Bronx will continue to expand their ale offerings, with an IPA, a rye ale, and a Belgian pale being introduced as year round beers for next season. While this space will only cover about forty-percent of the Bronx’s total output (they will continue to brew in their existing rented spaces) it is a significant step in the right direction for brewing here in New York City. As mammoth alcohol conglomerates like InBev and SABMiller continue to swallow up smaller brands and homogenize the industry, it’s refreshing to see brewers like Gallant and Brown really take a stand for local manufacturing right here in New York. And of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt that they make one damn tasty beer, so let’s all raise a glass to the Bronx Brewery.