A Nomadic Brooklyn Brewery Opens Its Sleek New HomeThe long-awaited taproom of Grimm Artisanal Ales showcases its award-winning brews. PLUS: our exclusive ranking of Brooklyn's 20 craft breweries
When the opening of a Brooklyn brewery gets a writeup in Vogue, that’s saying something. Either about Brooklyn or the brewery. Maybe both. The brewery, Grimm Artisanal Ales, has been Brooklyn’s most beloved brewery without a home for the past five years. And when it finally opened its new brewery and taproom last week at 990 Metropolitan Ave. in East Williamsburg, it was a far cry from the typical Brooklyn style of rusty ironwork and scruffy wood.
The sleek and light-filled space, designed by the New York City architectural firm inc_a, reflects the more refined design ethos emerging in the borough, as well as Grimm’s whimsical packaging style. “Our brewery’s taproom is an extension of the Grimm label aesthetic,” brewery co-founder Lauren Grimm told The Bridge. “With tropical plants throughout and lots of natural light, it’s a combination of ’70s California, David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, and New Age music.”
Until now, the Grimm brand grew its popularity as a so-called nomadic brewery. Owners Lauren and Joe Grimm would create the recipes in their Gowanus apartment, then brew their ales at home in five-gallon batches or under contract at other breweries. The artfully crafted brews have won several awards at The Great American Beer Festival, as well as drawing more than 70,000 followers on social media.
Yet as good as the beer was, there was a bit of a stigma attached. “Every time you drink a beer brewed under a contract basis, there’s an asterisk,” Joe Grimm told the New York Times last year. Their own 7,500-sq.-ft. brewery and taproom was expected to open last September, but customers had to wait months longer because of “many hurdles to jump in the realm of construction and red tape,” the Grimms said on their website in January.
With the doors now open, craft-beer lovers can sample from playfully named brews including Apricot Pop!, Icing on the Cake, Sumi Cacao, and Super Shine. A portion of the space will be dedicated to aging one of their specialties. “We’re the only New York City brewery focusing on blended, barrel-aged sours. These are difficult and time consuming beers to make, but the result is flavorful and complex,” says Lauren Grimm. The brewery has more than 100 white- and red-wine barrels for aging the golden, sour beer.
The Grimms met as students at Brown University, where they began a series of fun experiments in fermentation, brewing kombucha, mead, and ginger beer, which led to their interest in Belgian ales. The Grimms then spent time in Belgium performing music and their interest in Belgian beers turned into something of an obsession. When they arrived back in the U.S., they began creating their own artisanal ales in Chicago, where they were in art school, and operated a home brewery out of their apartment. Once they relocated to Brooklyn, they launched their “gypsy brewery” in 2013 and quickly developed a following.
In their new home, they’ll unveil a fresh round of ales every Saturday at 10 a.m. “Currently, we’re enjoying Lilt, our blended, oak-aged, golden sour brewed with tart Montmorency cherries. With four lbs. per gallon of tart cherries, it is bright red and filled with flavors of vanilla, oak, cherry, and cinnamon,” says Lauren Grimm.
Grimm has partnered with Samesa, a Middle-Eastern inspired restaurant in Williamsburg to offer bites including Chicken Shawarma Melt and Pumpernickel Pita and Dips, including a dip made with a Grimm brew.
Exclusive: we’ve compiled a list of brewers in Brooklyn’s booming craft-beer industry, ranking the borough’s 20 brewers by their social-media following, which has become the primary way for fans to discover new products. (For capsule profiles of more than a dozen newcomers, see our story on award-winning Threes Brewing as well as our profiles of Sixpoint and Other Half breweries.) If you see any errors or omissions on our list, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make a prompt update.