Queens is becoming the borough to beat in terms of number of breweries. Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, SingleCut Beersmiths, Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company and Finback Brewery will soon be joined by Transmitter Brewing, a small operation based out of Long Island City.
Rob Kolb and Anthony Accardi founded the brewery with a focus on traditional and farmhouse ales. They’re going to sell their beers through a Community Supported Beer (CSB) program, where people can purchase shares of the brewery and receive regular allotments of beer in return.
BeerUnion caught up with Kolb and Accardi, and here’s what they had to say about their new venture.
What were your careers before brewing?
Kolb: Before brewing? Brewing is our passion, but unfortunately, neither of us plans on quitting our day jobs all that soon. Anthony prints photographic prints for artists and photographers, while I work at an ad agency as a creative director with an art development background.
How did you get into brewing?
Kolb: Anthony started homebrewing in the early 90’s, then stopped for awhile. I convinced him to pull out all the old equipment and we started brewing together a couple of years ago. Since we both really enjoy food and cooking, the combination of the two of us working through recipes and ideas for beer is great.
What was the first beer that you brewed?
Accardi: I first brewed some sort of extract beer, but I ramped up to all grain pretty quickly. I set up a pretty sophisticated system for the time with pumps and heat transfer coils. After that, I started keeping yeast slants and isolating yeast from commercial beers. Rob and I first brewed a nice hoppy APA together.
Where exactly are you in the process of getting the brewery started? When do you expect to open?
Kolb: We are waiting on the federal and state licensing to come through. We think that both should be done in the next few weeks. Ideally, we’ll be open by the middle-to-end of March.
Does Transmitter have a particular focus on certain styles, or a philosophy you’re looking to bring to your beers?
Accardi: We are specializing in Farmhouse and Belgian Ales. I’d say its yeast-driven beer. We’ll keep slants and a small lab room in which to work the yeast. Lots of brettanomyces as the 100% fermentation strain, but also as a secondary fermentation strain and a bottle-conditioning yeast. We’ll tread a fine line between the fruitier expressions possible with brettanomyces and the full-on funk that only brett can deliver. There are so many possibilities to explore in terms of particular strains and how they’re all used. It should keep us busy.
We’re also definitely going to do some bottle conditioning for the beers that would benefit from that, as well as some wood aging. Some of the yeasts we use like time to integrate into the flavor profile. We love the progression of flavors that can happen. A fresh batch will often lean towards the tropical fruit/citrus flavors, and then with time begin to move towards the earthy, dried grass/hay and barnyard-flavor profile. The depth and layers of nuance that can come about from these simple ingredient interactions are really fascinating. We love that it’s all alive and evolving, and while we can steer it in certain directions through some outside interaction, it has an agenda all its own. You’ve got to respect that.
What beers are you starting with?
Accardi: Mahogany Saison with rye, a 100% brettanomyces golden ale that has some nice, dry hopping, as well as a Spring Farmhouse Ale that’ll use a saison yeast and brettanomyces for primary.
Why did you choose to open a Community Supported Brewery (CSB)?
Kolb: It seemed to make sense given our location under the Pulaski Bridge, with hundreds, if not thousands of people walking by every day, giving us the ability to sell directly to the public. This way, we hope to get people involved and interested in the idea of a local community brewery that they can call their own. It’ll be great to have some face time with individuals drinking the beer, as well. That’s not something that is as easily done if everything goes to kegs.
Which breweries have inspired you and why?
Accardi: Locally, it’s been Rockaway Brewing Company, Big Alice Brewing and Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, really paving the way for nanos to open in the city and showing that it can be done. Outside of NYC, Prairie is doing a beautiful job with beer. The Bruery makes some fantastic beers that keep us thinking about what’s possible, and Stillwater has a great program, as well. The Westbrook Bearded Farmer Series is lovely. Oh, and Crooked Stave, of course.
Photo courtesy of Transmitter Brewing