Nano-brewski for Youski? Alphabet City Brewing Co. Plots Beer Garden

alpha city beerCourtesy Alphabet City Brewing Jason Yarusi with half-barrel kegs in Garretsville.

The owners of Alphabet City Brewing Company breathed a sigh of relief last week as Governor Cuomo signed into law a tax credit – supported by State Senator Daniel Squadron – for New York’s craft breweries.

“We’re small enough that anything like that affects our margins drastically,” Jeffrey Simón told the Local. Small, yes, but growing: Mr. Simón and his business partner and former roommate, Jason Yarusi, are currently expanding their brewing operation and planning an East Village beer garden.

The duo started the company in their third-floor apartment on Seventh Street and Avenue A. During those home-brewing days of searching for the perfect recipe, they could often be seen crisscrossing Tompkins Square Park and carting sacks of hops or malt, or test tubes full of yeast.

“Pushing a keg in a cart through Tompkins will get you attention,” said Mr. Simón.

photo 3Courtesy Alphabet City Brewing Jeffrey Simón with Easy Blonde Ale.

The result of all that testing and tasting is a brew called Easy Blonde Ale, a German-Kolsh style beer using only American ingredients. Kegs of the draft are on tap at Momofuku Ssam Bar and d.b.a. in the East Village, as well as at Fedora, Dressler and other prime spots around the city.

“We wanted to make a beer that people would want to drink all day long,” said Mr. Simón. Once the recipe was perfected, Mr. Simón and Mr. Yarusi contracted with the Butternuts Beer and Ale Co. in Garrattsville, New York to generate fourteen barrels of the stuff at a time.

Soon, the company will be taking steps to bring Alphabet City beers back to the neighborhood. Mr. Simón said he hope to begin looking for an East Village space in which to open what he called a nano-brewery.

“Think beer hall or beer garden,” said Mr. Simón of the vision for the future spot. While bigger batches of Easy Blonde Ale would still be made upstate, the East Village location would brew the beer for in-house use to pair with a menu of yet-to-be-decided eats.

Of course, that plan is still, er, fermenting. Meanwhile, it’s uncertain what if anything is happening with a similar venture, the East Village Brewery and Beer Shop. Last year, that establishment planned to open at 14 Avenue B, and floor plans for the brewery are still in the window. But in December, Keybar made an unsuccessful move for the space, and the brewery’s owners didn’t respond to requests for information on their status.

In any case, the tax credit passed last week will make opening such small-scale breweries a little easier. It will also make selling the stuff a little more profitable.

Jimmy Carbone, whose Seventh Street gastropub, Jimmy’s No. 43, focuses on locally-sourced food and drink, said that restaurants can’t always pass price increases on to cash-strapped customers, so the house often takes the hit. “You want to kill us? Then yeah, add the tax,” he said.

But with the credit in place, he’s looking forward to continuing to promote nearby beers to thirsty customers. “New York State brewers do deserve a little in-state break, like many other states have,” he told the Local in a phone interview. “There are all these great small breweries, you want to encourage them. You don’t want to turn off the tap. People are just starting to get excited.”