Andrew Tobia

Contributing Editor

Braven Brewing is releasing Skyliner IPA and they’re going to throw a rockin’ party to celebrate.

The Skyliner IPA release party is at Heavy Woods on Tuesday, Oct. 17. It will feature half-priced beers from 7 to 8 p.m. and naturally, the first available Skyliner IPA for public taste buds.

Although it’s only Braven’s third year-round beer (their unique black pale ale, a fall seasonal brew, is available now), Skyliner IPA’s release is a big deal for Braven. Founders Marshal Thompson and Eric Feldman invited me to the Braven offices to chat and taste the very first production Skyliners.

Thompson and Feldman (Photo: Andrew Tobia/BushwickDaily)

Skyliner IPA is really quite tasty. It’s silky smooth in a way that IPAs often aren’t. The hoppy bitterness that defines the style is present yet subdued. It plays second fiddle (albeit a close one) to the earthy citrus and pine notes. Skyliner is a refreshing, easy-drinking IPA sure to please IPA aficionados and beginners alike.

But as a big IPA fan myself, I’m aware of a growing anti-IPA sentiment and have even heard some call them “dead.” I asked the Braven boys about their take on the matter.

“There is some IPA fatigue,” Thompson said. “But I don’t think they’re dead.”

“I also think there’s enough variety within the IPA category,” Feldman followed up. “An excellent IPA, I think, is always going to have a place at every bar, on every menu, and in every beer drinker’s rotation.”

“And in every bodega,” Thompson added.

Skyliner IPA is named after the view from the roofdeck of their office building, which is where we sat to taste and talk.

“We’ve often had issues and roadblocks and tough days where nothing is going our way,” Thompson said. “So we come up here and have a beer and stare at the skyline, just staring and mulling things over. Eventually we’ll … come up with some kind of solution. Higher elevation, higher thinking.”

“And in New York, that’s tough sometimes, too, to get into your own airspace,” added Feldman.

Getting to that higher elevation (Photo:Andrew Tobia/Bushwick Daily) 

Though Braven beers aren’t currently brewed in Bushwick, the duo are working hard to open their own production space in the neighborhood. “It’s getting there,” Thompson told us. “We’re hoping to open next summer.” Feldman continued, “We’re actively in lease talks.”

They remain committed to staying and producing in Bushwick.

“This is our inspiration,” Feldman said of the neighborhood. Thompson agrees. “This is our neighborhood and we don’t want to turn our back on it now.”

The duo show their dedication to Bushwick in deed as well as in word. Braven Brewing has partnered in sponsoring the Bushwick Film Festival (running through Sunday), The Bushwick Collective Block Party, Shoestring Studio, and more. Most recently, Braven became season sponsors for The Bushwick Starr, a non-profit theatre arts space just two blocks away from their office.

One of only two breweries currently based in Bushwick, a forgotten national capital of beer, Braven Brewing was founded after Thompson and Feldman took up the hobby in 2009. They got the bug, put in the hustle, and parlayed their passion into a business.

Today, not even five years old, Braven Brewing has earned an avalanche of praise, from local outlets like Bushwick Daily and national ones like Maxim, Paste, and Forbes.

“It was just completely bootstrap,” said Thompson of Braven’s start. “Just the two of us for a really long time.”

Before we left the rooftop, I heard Feldman tell Thompson, “I hope this beer gets drank on a lot of rooftops.”

Considering the neighborhood where it was born, I’m sure that it will.

Cover image by Andrew Tobia