Like many craft brewers today, partners Lauren and Joe Grimm started experimenting in their apartments when they first started dating more than a decade ago.
“When we got together, we started to go down the rabbit hole of fermentation,” Lauren, 35, says. “As soon as we got into making beer, we just kind of became obsessed with it. The experimentation is really limitless.”
Five years ago the Gowanus-based, husband-and-wife brewers founded Grimm Artisanal Ales. They couldn’t get a loan to open their own facility, so “we decided to go the route of gypsy brewing,” Lauren says, producing their IPAs and sours at the now-closed Paper City Brewing Company in Massachusetts, Beltway Brewing Company in Virginia, and Staten Island’s Flagship Brewing Company.
After racking up accolades, getting their beers into more than 20 states and securing a $4.2 million loan through the New York Business Development Corporation, the Grimms now have a space to call their own with the opening of their East Williamsburg brewery and taproom this Saturday.
Their nomadic brewing experience helped when customizing their own brewery space and equipment. They built shallower and wider fermenters, because they use a top fermenting yeast that needs a lot of surface area, and they made their whirlpool wider to accommodate the amount of hops they use in their IPAs.
“It’s definitely going to have an effect on our flavor because everything about one’s equipment dictates what specific flavors you’re getting,” Lauren says. “The ester profile of our yeast will be more expressive due to the geometry of our fermenters. Our yeast has a lot of fruity, expressive esters.”
They also set aside space for more than 100 oak barrels to age their golden sour beers anywhere from six months to three years.
“Having our own brewery frees us up to be even more experimental and make quick decisions and have more control over every aspect of our beer,” Lauren, says.
The brewery plans to drop new beers every Saturday in cans or to-go bottles. For opening day, that includes a pale ale, double IPA and four barrel-aged sours.
You can also enjoy the brewery’s latest offerings in its taproom, which has 15 draft lines. And for the non-beer drinkers, the bar will also sell New York State cider and wine and sodas from Court Street Grocers.
To eat, the brewery has partnered with Samesa, which sells Grimm Ales in its Middle Eastern-style restaurant in Williamsburg, to serve a menu of chicken shawarma melts, a cheese and meat board and dips.
Building off their apartment fermentation experiments, Lauren could see Grimm opening up shops selling items like charcuterie and pickles around the city one day. And now that they have their own space, they also would like invite other brewers to collaborate with them at their brewery.
“We’ve been this nomadic brewery for five years,” Lauren says. “Now we’re bringing our production in house, and doing everything in Brooklyn. That’s what’s most exciting about everything for us right now.”
Many of the design details in the taproom are by local businesses — friends, or friends of friends, of the Grimms.
- inc_a: The New York architecture firm designed the layout of the taproom.
- Tri-Lox: The Greenpoint wood shop made the bar top and tables.
- Chen Chen & Kai Williams: The Sunset Park design studio made the planters on the shelves behind the bar.
- Craighill: The Greenpoint design studio made the tap handles on the bar.
- Gretta Johnson: The Sunset Park artist created the abstract, floral wallpaper in the bathroom, and designed the glassware and growlers. She’s also done several labels for the bottles and cans, such as Super You.
Grimm Artisanal Ales opens Saturday at 990 Metropolitan Ave. in East Williamsburg | the tap room will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m.-midnight, Sundays from noon-10 p.m., Mondays from 5-10 p.m. and Thursdays and Fridays from 5 p.m.-midnight, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays | grimmales.com