Giant new brewpub opening Downtown tomorrow!

Brooklyn Paper
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Company man: Gerry Rooney, the owner of Circa Brewing Company, holds a “New England IPA” in front of the tanks that brewed it.
Big and brew: The giant new beer hall, which can hold more than 250 guests, has a long, wrap-around bar.
Choke it down: Among the wood-fired pizzas served at Circa Brewing is “The Choke,” covered with marinated artichoke, hazelnut pesto, peppers, and mozzarella.
Baby, you’re the top: Circa Brewing also serves cocktails, including the Nova, a bourbon drink toppped with wheat beer.

It’s a big brews-er!

An enormous new brewery, taproom, and restaurant will open Downtown tomorrow, giving local residents and workers a new option for pizza and beer. The owner of Circa Brewing Company says that the opening of his massive brewpub on July 26 will be a dream come true.

“It looks so close to the way I saw it in my head two years ago — it’s amazing!” said Gerry Rooney, who also owns Putnam’s Pub and Cooker in Clinton Hill.

The new space can hold more than 250 people, and a patio in front will soon seat another 30. A row of brewing tanks gleam along one wall, and a long wooden bar snakes towards the back, where a wood-fired oven turns out pizzas.

Rooney, who lives in Clinton Hill sees his brewpub as part of a recent wave bringing a way to bring more life to a neighborhood that largely shuts down after 5 pm.

“It’s just a start of making Downtown Brooklyn a true downtown,” he said. “If you go to any downtown district of any city in the country, you’re going to the vibrant nightlife, bars, restaurants, people hanging out, community. And I think that’s what Downtown Brooklyn is starting to move towards.”

He expects the pub to draw workers from Metrotech, students at NYU engineering school, and local residents, and shoppers from CityPoint and the Fulton Mall, as well as people coming to and from the Jay Street-Metrotech subway stop one block away.

“We really feel we’ve got a good location,” he said.

And people seem to be thirsty for the new spot — five days before the official opening, a steady stream of would-be customers ignored a half-drawn gate across the entrance to ask about getting a beer.

When the brewery is fully going, it will have 12 house-made beers on tap, though only 6–8 will likely be ready for opening day, according to head brewer Danny Bruckert. Formerly of Sixpoint beer, the Bay Ridge brewer plans to focus on simple, drinkable beers that anyone can enjoy, rather than experimenting with crazy flavors or creating high-alcohol barleywines that leave people reeling, he said.

“I really appreciate beer-flavored beer,” said Bruckert. “I love session beers — beers that are 4–4.5% [alcohol by volume], you can sit down and have a great time with your friends, you can put a few back, you can talk — they’re much more sociable beers than a 7% IPA.”

The brews will vary with the season, he said, opening with a summertime list that is heavy on pale ales and wheat beers.

The bar also serves a collection of cocktails, several of which incorporate the beers, and has a menu of nine Napoli-style pizzas created by the head brewer’s twin brother, Luke Bruckert.

Rooney said he is both scared and excited about opening the gigantic Downtown spot.

“I’m terrified,” he said. “But if your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough.”

Circa Brewing Company (141 Lawrence St. between Willoughby and Fulton streets Downtown, Open Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri, Sat 11 am–2 am.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 5:56 pm, July 9, 2018
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