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The Bronx Brewery collaborating with Baldor Specialty Foods for unique, limited-edition beers

Try a dry Irish stout with fennel pollen this St. Patrick’s Day.

The Bronx Brewery is creating beers in collaboration

The Bronx Brewery is creating beers in collaboration with Baldor Specialty Foods, including the Heavy Fennel, a dry Irish stout with fennel pollen. Photo Credit: The Bronx Brewery

Two South Bronx businesses have joined forces to brew up something new.

The Bronx Brewery, known for its “no-nonsense ales,” has a habit of collaborating with bars and restaurants on one-off beers. But its latest partnership with Baldor Specialty Foods brings its experimentation to a new level.

“I would say this is pretty unique,” said Patrick Libonate, 43, vice president of marketing for the seven-year-old craft brewery, which is working with the specialty food distributor to create beers using rare, seasonal ingredients.

“A lot of times in the beer world you have collaborations between two breweries, which clearly makes a lot of sense,” he said. “But you don’t see a lot of collaborations with a company that’s buying and selling produce.”

So far, two brews have been released with Baldor under the brewery’s B-Tracks series of limited-edition, specialty beers.

“The whole idea behind the B-Track was similar to the flip side of a record for a music artist — the flip side was always the side where they would experiment, do something out of the norm or collaborate,” Libonate said. “That’s what we’re doing — it’s out of the normal character of our beers. The produce and vegetables and spices allow our brewers to really push the envelope on flavor.”

The first release with Baldor, called Yokozuna Wit, is a Belgian-style witbier made with sumo citrus, a late-winter citrus from California, and spicy Szechuan Buttons.

The second, Heavy Fennel, is a dry Irish stout (available now, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day) that features fennel pollen, a spice made from wild fennel grown in California.

“Baldor introduced us to this magical spice — it’s like a fairy dust, it gets sprinkled on a lot of meals,” Libonate said of the fennel pollen. “There’s a lot of licorice and even a marshmallow note that comes out of it.”

Brewer Nick Hyde, who is making the Baldor-Bronx Brewery releases, decided to add the spice to a stout, which has a chocolate-coffee flavor.

“We don’t think anyone’s ever brewed a beer with fennel pollen,” Libonate said. “That’s an area I think where we pushed the limits and did something truly unique.”

Like all the beers in the B-Track series, Heavy Fennel and Yokuzuna Wit can be found on tap ($7) and in cans ($10/four 12-oz. cans) only at the brewery’s taproom, which is open daily at 856 136th St.

The small-batch beers are available until they run out — about three to four weeks after the initial release, Libonate estimated — making it as rare as the produce it uses.

“Like a B-side, our B-Track is hard to find,” Libonate said. “That’s the concept we’re trying to play off of.”

The Bronx Brewery plans to release up to 10 beers through the Baldor collaboration.

After Heavy Fennel, the next brews in the series include Don’t Kaffir The Reaper, a Gose-style beer with Kaffir limes, and My Berry Own IPA, a Northeast-style IPA made with Harry’s Berries strawberries.

The brewery based its brewing schedule on ingredients that are at their peak season, pairing them with styles of beer that are also in season.

“Baldor has such amazing access to produce and spices,” Libonate said. “We’re going to have the freshest and the best-tasting stuff.”

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