Author: Malin Norman
Brooklyn Brewery is one of America’s top 20 breweries and its beer is available in more than 30 countries. What made it a success? It seems to be a combination of people, location and of course great beer.
Back in 2006, I visited Brooklyn Brewery. It was my first ever brewery visit, and a new world opened. I was fascinated by the brewery’s history as well as the setting in Williamsburg, but the highlight was of course the tasting room and the discovery of delicious beers. During the day, more and more people arrived for the tours and stayed in the taproom, ordering beers and take-away from the nearby pizzeria, and the atmosphere was buzzing. What a place, I had never seen anything like it.
The idea for the brewery was born from a dream to return brewing to Brooklyn, once the centre of beer production in the USA. Here, former journalist and keen homebrewer Steve Hindy set up Brooklyn Brewery together with his then-neighbour and businessman Tom Potter and they brewed the very first batch of Brooklyn Lager in 1988. Steve is also the author of The Craft Beer Revolution as well as Beer School, which he wrote together with Tom, and has recently been named Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2020.
The vibrant Williamsburg
A pioneer in the American craft beer movement, Brooklyn Brewery has relied more on word-of-mouth and its surrounding communities than traditional marketing. The brewery is located in Williamsburg, a hip neighbourhood in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. Brooklyn was once a hub for industries and shipbuilding and is home to immigrants, artists and musicians, creatives and small businesses. True to its beginnings, the brewery states that it makes “flavourful beer for flavourful people” and still runs on the energy of its communities.
Quality has been at the forefront from the start. For instance, when developing the logo Steve approached one of the best graphic designers in New York, Milton Glaser, who helped make Brooklyn Brewery an international brand. This is the guy who designed the iconic “I Love NY” logo.
Since 1994, Garrett Oliver has been the brewmaster. In addition to his award-winning brewing, Garrett is also a talented chef, author of The Brewmaster’s Table and editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer.
Four great beers from Brooklyn Brewery:
Brooklyn Lager (5.2%) was Brooklyn Brewery’s very first beer and is a must. This dry-hopped amber lager combines fresh grapefruit and pine notes with smooth, toasty caramel. It won gold at the World Beer Cup in 2018.
East IPA (6.9%) is one of the brewery’s most popular beers. A balanced and pleasantly bitter IPA that works really nicely with spicy food such as curries, as well as juicy steaks and strong cheese.
Sorachi Ace Saison (7.2%) is like sunshine in a glass. The light farmhouse ale is brewed with the Japanese Sorachi Ace hop, characterised by lemon and herbal notes.
Summer Ale (5%) sits in Brooklyn Brewery’s seasonal line-up. The light, crisp and zesty pale ale is perfect for summer days.