With their venture 508 Gastrobrewery, Anderson Sant’anna De Lima and Jennifer Sant’anna Hill are passionately exploring the world of brewing and food. Their restaurant has a small batch brewing operation in the basement, where Andersen is always brewing and experimenting with new beers, which they serve upstairs.
Anderson has been interested in brewing since his time at school in Brazil where he studied architecture. At at time the brewing program required an engineering degree and put students into a program with Anheuser-Busch. Anderson tabled his interest for a time and eventually became an owner and chef at 508 restaurant in Manhattan. Now he is working hard to bring fresh craft beer to high quality food. He plans on attending the Siebel Institute in Chicago to satisfy his desire for a more traditional education.
In the narrow basement of 508 Anderson has built his own 40-gallon brew house, complete with seven conical fermenters, a self constructed grain mill, and temperature-controlled rooms for aging. He has worked tirelessly to improve the brewing system, which he proudly stated has recently reached 87% efficiency (homebrewers will be impressed). Their recipes are essentially whatever styles he and Jennifer like to drink with their own twist put on them. Anderson constantly tinkers with the recipes until they are exactly how he wants them. “I brew all my own beer. Don’t mess with my beer,” he laughs.
Some of their beers will be available year round, like Montezuma Imperial Stout or their new IPA, while some will rotate with the seasons or changed to tighten up a recipe. For a such a small operation the variety of styles available is impressive. Unlike many small brew pubs and even small production brands, 508 Gastrobrewery offers both draft and bottled beer. The draft and bottled beers are both delicious, we had a chance to try the bottled American Strong Ale while we were there and were impressed, both by the beer and pour from our clearly knowledgeable waiter.
The two show no signs of slowing down. In the immediate future, Anderson is aging a Flemish Red that he will be blending for a bottled beer and will be brewing a Kreik (something we haven’t seen from NYC breweries). Even more exciting is that they are looking for a space to open a larger brew pub or brewery, probably on a ten barrel system. Anderson would like to open a traditional English style brewery where he can feel that he is “making beer, not just pushing buttons.”
They offer a pre fixed beer pairing menu on Sunday and Monday nights – a great way to try out beer and food pairings. The wide variety of pairings include goat sliders with their Brazil Nut Brown Ale or truffled mac and cheese with a Belgian Dark Strong Ale.
When asked which he likes better, brewing or drinking beer, Anderson says, “I think I like brewing beer even better than drinking beer… well, maybe equal.”