This week we took a break from tasting beer to get you the scoop behind the new bar that have a huge impact on Bushwick’s beer scene this summer. Two years ago Josh Richholt and Shay Vishawadi bought large chunks of a massive brick building on Meserole Street, built in 1875 as one of the original breweries in the Brewer’s Row of local fame. This June it will finally open as The Well, the beer-centric half of a project whose musical alter-ego The Wick should officially open later this summer as well. Both spaces have been open for one-off events in the past, which the duo used as a sort of tester for the hard opening of the venues. The space also houses a small gallery in its open “safe space” called The Exit Room. We caught lots of rad events at The Well, including seeing legendary garage bands Thee Oh Sees & Ty Segall playing in the rain, a screening of LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up and Play The Hits, as well as the Lobstah Fest!
The taproom of the old brewery, now boarded.
With a tap system capable of hosting 60 beers at any given time and 160 different bottles, The Well is all good news for beer enthusiasts. Josh is curating the tap list with help from Cory Vonfiglio, local beer guru and partner at Beer Street on Graham and Proletariat in the East Village. It includes gems from craft brewery favorites like Evil Twin, Cigar City, Stillwater, Founders, Barrier, Keegan, and Sly Fox. But the bar will try to run the gamut of high to low brow beers. “There’s nothing wrong with anyone who wants to come in and drink a Coors,” says Josh. “But we’ll also get the beer geeks and we want to give them something that they haven’t seen before… Something unusual and interesting.” Beer geeks will find further calling in Josh’s plan to utilize the original lagering tunnels that reside 30 feet underground to age specialty beers as well as more common beers not generally aged and the beers of some of its homebrewing customers. The tunnels were part of the original storage for beer before modern refrigeration systems existed. The Well will also have a monthly beer club that will host speakers from breweries and beer specialists. It will be free (for now) and serve as a locus for Bushwicks beer lovers.
The old brewhouse at 272 Meserole was assembled in a haphazard fashion over the decades. It has towering ceilings and concrete and exposed brick everywhere. The Well occupies a cavernous room with 3,000 square feet and a massive backyard space that adds another 12,000 square feet and will house a food truck operated by the folks behind Lodge and Urban Rustic serving seasonal grub. The draw of the space with its rich beer history can’t be underestimated. Built by Otto Huber in 1875, with beer barrels literally built into the outside brick walls three stories up, a now-boarded tasting room at the original entrance, and the builder’s initials carved above the entries, it is a mecca for those interested in our area’s beer culture. At that time a field sat directly across from the brewery, which was used to graze the horses used for deliveries. Over one hundred years later it served as the original warehouse for Brooklyn Brewery, which struggled with the building’s uneven floors from years of add-ons and the neighborhood’s deterioration that left delivery drivers hesitant to venture there at night. Soon you can be part of its 21st century incarnation and we’ll keep you posted as the date draws near.
Erin and Josh at The Exit Space.
The Well is located at 272 Meserole St off the Montrose L. Current plans are for The Well to open to the general public at the beginning of June at which time it will be open daily from 5pm-1am during the week and from 12pm-late night on the weekends.
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks.