By Meredith Heil
It’s no secret that New York City has undergone something akin to a full on craft beer revolution over the past few years. Demand for great craft beer (and lots and lots of it) is on the up and up, and the citizens of New York have proven themselves a thirsty bunch – if you’ve been following this site at all, you can’t help but be aware of the recent explosion in local breweries, world renowned brands and, of course, fantastic beer bars cropping up throughout all five boroughs. And if one could cram this exciting upswing in craft beer popularity into a nutshell, The Well, a hulking, cavernous taproom tucked away in an industrial little corner of Bushwick, Brooklyn, would be it.
To paraphrase the great Sam Calagione, craft beer is all about consumer choice, and does The Well ever have choices. The joint’s 60 rotating taps and 100+ bottle list make a mockery of the days when a drinker’s decision making process came down to one defining question: Bud vs. Miller. On any given night, patrons line up against The Well’s long bar, crowding over beer menus and calling for samples of the latest hop-heavy Other Half creation or inventive Grimm Artisanal Ales one-off. The crowd varies from night to night, but generally seems to be a healthy mix of rowdy college kids, more wisened (read: grizzled) beer geeks and the usual beflanneled hipster set. Alternating between a big communal tables, more intimate three tops, upturned oak barrels at perfect leaning height and a massive backyard soon open for summer, the baroom is fit for groups of any size, from raucous birthday parties (of which, at the time of my visit, there were two) to candlelit Tinder dates (of which, at the time of my visit, there appeared to be plenty). The Well is also a great spot for solo drinkers, with a copious amount of comfortable stools and a taplist extensive enough to occupy a bookless sipper throughout the entirety of a lonely pint.
If that’s not reason enough to hightail it to Bushwick, craft beer’s old pal history plays a starring role in The Well’s success. The building, located at 272 Meserole Street, once housed the Otto Huber brewery, a 19th Century powerhouse integral to Brooklyn’s first brewing boom. Otto Huber was just one of over a dozen Bushwick breweries churning out the good stuff at the tail end of the 19th Century, when the borough’s beer industry was raking in $8 million dollars a year in sudsy revenue (yes, that’s $8 million 1870s dollars). Though the breweries, along with much of Brooklyn’s economy, vacated the area by the 1970s, beer remained the neighborhood’s lifeblood, evidenced by the building’s next tenants: Brooklyn Brewery. The venerable brewing stalwart operated its distribution arm out of 272 Meserole during the turbulent late ‘80s, literally paving the way for The Well and the thriving craft beer culture that keeps it abuzz with enthusiastic clientele.
“We are proud to bring beer back to the building,” says Aaron Raposo, The Well’s Marketing and Social Media Manager. And we’re happy to have you.
The Well is located in Bushwick at 272 Meserole St. Closest subway is the L train at Montrose Ave.