BRONX, NEW YORK
Veteran brewmaster Chris Sheehan built a solid reputation at now-defunct Manhattan hotbed, Chelsea Brewing, then Newark’s Port 44 and Woodbridge mainstay JJ Bitting before hooking up with entrepreneurial New Yorkers Kieran Farrell and Dave Lopez to devise GUN HILL BREWING COMPANY. One of the guiding lights leading the charge for the resurgence of Bronx borough breweries (alongside Bronx Brewery), Gun Hill began operations May 22, 2014.
Located inside an industrial warehouse space on Laconia Avenue between an auto shop and plaster caster, the ambitious one-room brewery takes its name from nearby Van Cortlandt Park’s Revolutionary War battle. An unpretentious neighborhood joint with a large garage door entrance, high ceilings, cement floors, three picnic tables, three community tables and a large backroom brewing area, Gun Hill Brewing immediately grabbed hold. A 12-seat bar with several taps services walk-in customers while hundreds of kegs generate appreciable beer pub action throughout the Empire State.
On a warm March ’16 evening, I get to try six well-designed elixirs with a few friendly locals.
Sessionable flagship, Gold, an easygoing golden ale, plied pilsner-like pale malts and earthy bark-dried Noble hops to floral-perfumed lemon tones, picked up French-breaded toasting along the way. Though it’s descriptively oxymoronic, mild English strong ale, Who Spelt It, Dealt It, brought oats-dried spelt wheat flouring to sugar-spiced crystal(?) malting and grassy hops.
Endearing Simcoe-Citra-hopped mainstay, India Pale Ale, elevated its brisk lemon-dried grapefruit peel and orange rind bittering to dry pine lacquer in a crisply clean-watered setting.
Another charming medium body, Cherry Tree Red Ale gained a resilient red cherry-candied tartness above sweet honeyed wheat malts and mellow fruit-spiced hops.
Cascadian dark ale lovers will want to quaff Black Waves IPA, a mocha-doused medium-full body draping day-old coffee, dark chocolate and dry cocoa above oats-charred ashen hops while dried-fruited fig, apricot, brown pear and quince illusions stabilized beneath the surface.
For dessert, Void Of Light Foreign-style Stout emitted dry dark chocolate malting and cocoa-powdered coffee roast above moderate wood-charred hop bittering.
Right off the main thoroughfare of Gun Hill Road, this unassuming Bronx oasis will satisfy a wide range of beer enthusiasts with its sanguinely seductive sedatives.