An award-winning homebrewer is ready to launch Brooklyn’s newest brewery, continuing New York City’s beer-making boom.
After homebrewing for more than a decade, Jason Sahler searched the borough for over two years to find a space suitable to headquarter Strong Rope Brewery, which opens tomorrow in Gowanus.
Sahler’s two-barrel operation, with secondhand equipment purchased from Rockaway Brewing Co., is located at 574A President Street, near 4th Avenue (and his apartment). In the former home of Brooklyn Brine, he aims to highlight New York’s farmers with his recipes.
As a farm brewery, a state license introduced in 2012 and one of several major factors contributing to New York’s flourishing craft-beverage industry, Strong Rope will focus on using local ingredients to make its beers that Sahler describes as “clean-fermented, designed to put most of the focus on the malt, hops, fruits and spices grown in the area.”
The small-scale producer will have five beers available to start, including J. J. Bollerack’s Big Brown Ale, which won the Brooklyn Wort in 2011. These will be sold (including flights and growlers) from an eye-catching tasting area at the brewery’s front that was funded via Kickstarter.
The bar, made from long, uneven slabs of black walnut, was built by Brooklyn SLab, while Ben Granger designed and installed the 10-tap draft system.
Sahler hopes to eschew distribution and sell all beer on-site. “I like the idea of a small business selling what they make directly to the customer. I want to keep our operation small.”
The brewery will also host discussions with local farmers and other growers. “Drinkers are going to be able to come and speak with who helped put the beer in their glass,” he says.
We talked to Sahler about his opening brew lineup:
Falling Squirrel Project 1 (3.7%)
The Falling Squirrel Project is a series of beers that will use a single state malt and a single state hop as a way to familiarize people with what the farmers are doing to create brewing agriculture in New York. It also allows Strong Rope to play with the ingredients to try and show what they bring to the beers. An example is that we’ll have three beers with the same malt base and three different varieties of Cascade hops from three different farms across the state. The first in the series is a beer made with New York Craft Malt’s light Munich and Cascades from Saratoga Hops.
Eric The Red Ale (3.8%)
A really light and subtle red ale that is malty and slightly biscuity. Very sessionable, so don’t be afraid to knock back a few in the tasting room.
J. J. Bollerack’s Brown Ale (5.0%)
J. J. Bollerack’s Brown Ale is what started this all; it’s the award-winning recipe that pushed me to explore brewing professionally after over 10 years of homebrewing. This is a nutty brown ale with notes of chocolate and spice from the rye used in the beer.
Fat Man, Little Stout (5.1%)
While this is a stout with rich roasted characters and notes of coffee, chocolate and ash, it finishes light and dry.
This is a big beer that is deceivingly drinkable. A malt bomb that is rich and sweet but balanced out with notes from the alcohol. Think barleywine light, or as I like to call it, a Gowanus Export Ale.
Strong Rope Brewery opens Thursday, December 17, at 5:00 p.m. Its tasting room is open Thursday-Friday, 5:00—10:00 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 3:00 — 10:00 p.m.