Brooklyn Brew Shop is one of the only places in New York City that provides easy-to-use brew kits for homebrewers. “Making beer is not difficult. It requires little space. It will save you money, and taste better than what you find in most stores,” the shop’s website boasts, encouraging others to get in on the homebrew action. The company offers kits for a variety of beer styles, from summer wheat to grapefruit honey ale, along with handy accessories, such as bottles and fermenter kits. In essence, Brooklyn Brew Shop is a beer-makers heaven.
And now, owners Erica Shea and Stephen Valand have decided to go beyond the kits by opening a brewery where they will create their own bold and frothy brews. We chatted with Stephen about this recent development and asked where we could go to get a taste of the Brooklyn Brew Shop beers.
How did Brooklyn Brew Shop come to be?
We originally started the Brooklyn Brew Shop in the summer of 2009 out of the Brooklyn Flea. At the time, we were shocked that in a city with a thousand of everything there wasn’t a single place to pick up what we needed to make beer. We were making beer with a big five-gallon system, and all of our friends wanted to give it a try for themselves, but nobody had the space or wanted to fill what little they had with something reminiscent of a science fair. So we scaled everything down to make it feel more approachable–more like cooking.
When will Brooklyn Brew Shop begin to sell their own beer and where can people find it?
Since we started BBS, we’ve only sold the promise of beer. The rest you have to do yourself. Festivals are fantastic because it lets us step out into the world and share what we’ve made. We are launching a brewery and will be selling beer at the start of next year for those few people out there that just won’t make it themselves no matter how easy we make it. For the time being, this is a Brooklyn Pour exclusive.
How did you choose the beers to begin brewing yourselves?
We draw inspiration for our beers from food–from walking through the farmers’ market, seeing what’s fresh, and thinking about what we’d like to drink with dinner. For example, nachos are by far Erica’s favorite food, so we made a jalapeño saison. Spicy, light in body, and incredibly aromatic, it’s the perfect nacho beer.
What do you think is most unique about Brooklyn Brew Shop?
We think of beer as food and brewing as an extension of cooking. We try to simplify the process without dumbing down. So that means we use the exact same ingredients (grain, hops, and yeast) to brew that you’ll find in your favorite craft brewery.
What do you think is most unique about your personal story to beer?
Erica didn’t even like beer until we started making it ourselves. Turns out a bathtub filled with ice in college is not the best introduction to beer.