As the craft brewery explosion has spilled throughout Hampton Roads, so have the number of home brewers; there are hundreds of them among us, meeting up, swapping recipes, making batches of beer that range from bogus to beautiful. The one thing they’ve been missing is a home to brew their beer together.
Editor’s update: Bearded Bird is opening this weekend, May 13.
Enter Bearded Bird Brewery, which is deep in the process of making 727 Granby St. in the NEON District their new home.
“We want to be a community brewery,” said Joe Cloonan, head brewer. “There are a lot of home brewers in the area. We want them to brew with us.”
The plan is to have four or five taps for homebrewers. Bearded Bird will make the beer. The home brewer will get paid for it.
“We want to be known as the brewers’ brewery,” said Matt Hartl, a partner in the business.
Bearded Bird is taking something of a co-op approach to the business, with membership options including “brew members” and the “brew board,” who will get to actually use the equipment and make beer.
“The cooperative brewing process is so important to Bearded Bird, because I believe that not many hobbiest brew beer to drink alone,” said another partner, Brittany Jones. “It’s to share with friends and family and to collaborate. And I hope we are able to bring the spirit of that to a larger scale.”
The Bearded Bird team hopes to begin build-out by the end of January, with a summertime opening of the 3,600 square-foot-space, which used to be the Bress Pawn Shop storage area. For those of you familiar with the NEON, the back of 727 Granby opens onto a great covered area along Magazine Lane. It’s easy to picture ping pong, movies, and barbecue; a place for the community to come together.
“We chose this location in part because of the arts district concept,” said Hartl. “Brewing is our artwork.”
To follow along with progress, here they are on Facebook.
The opening party takes place Saturday, May 13, starting at noon. For more info, click here.