Wartega prides itself in being bold and urges its patrons to drink boldly. The grand opening was an ode to that statement. In a market that is hop heavy and IPA saturated (not complaining about that by the way), their focus is squarely on delicate beers infused with fruits, herbs and spices. There’s a bit of a feminine quality to the make-up of these uniquely brewed yet finely balanced brews that makes Wartega a pleasant alternative beer drinking option. It speaks to the growing diversity of local offerings within the borough flooded with a plethora of dynamic and enigmatic choices such as Interboro and Otherhalf to name a few. Wartega is the antithesis of this in that the hop does not take center stage although it still maintains its leading role. Instead it allows other elements such as lavender and coriander to shine by interacting with it to produce inspiring flavors. And that’s ok because different is good; in this case it’s quite good. Quite frankly the diversification of craft consumption options is always welcomed and if the old saying is true that, there’s a beer for everyone, then that ethos is personified here; or as Pete more succinctly puts it – ‘They got balls’.
(An IPA was on the menu for the evening, but I’d classify it as more as an introductory IPA in that it possesses softer more gentle flavors then you’re standard variations. For those unfamiliar with IPAs or turned off by the bitter flavor profile this would be a solid choice to serve as your stepping stone into this style. More on that beer later in this post).
Merlin Ward is the head brewer and co-founder of Brewminaries; he splits ownership duties of Wartega brewery with his wife Mimi. They both come from entrepreneurship and marketing backgrounds and first met at the after party of a Social Media Conference that they both attended. Instantly drawn to and subsequently captivated by one another, 14 months later they were engaged.
For Merlin and Mimi creativity and passion is an essential way of life and that passion laid the foundation of their current brewery joint venture, which for them, is truly a family based endeavor. Inspired by cooking, travel and their German and Dominican Heritage that they hold so dear, their rules are simple: The beer must be balanced, and the beer must be interesting.
Merlin started off as an adventurous home brewer and knew what he wanted to do with only 2 years of brewing experience under his belt. He got that bug, that itch, that burning feeling, however, you want to refer to it, it’s synonymous amongst almost all home brewers and yet so difficult to achieve. His goal was of course to open up a brewery of his own. It took another 3 years of tweaking formulas, managing budgets and consuming brews before the dream would become reality. This is a feat remarkable all unto itself but what made the grand opening all that much more special is that their family and friends were there to soak it in alongside them.
During the grand opening Wartega showcased the following three brews:
Floridian Hoppy Beer – Wartega’s Hoppy Ale, 6.5% ABV – Named after is citrus nature this one is a sentimental favorite at Wartega. Merlin’s wife was a big IPA fan and Merlin created a variation of the Floridian just for her. The current incantation of this ale is brewed with tropical hops and possesses notes of citrus zest. It displays flavors of lemon, mango, grapefruit, pear, and pine with just a touch of bitterness on the finish.
Welkin 4.3% ABV - Welkin is an old English term meaning of the heavens or heavenly. An aromatic amber color brew with definitive lavender, notes on the nose and tongue. Hints of nuts and a biscuit flavor round this one out with a bit of a dry finish. Overall, a nicely balanced light and refreshing brew.
Prima 003 – 5.5% ABV – Wartega’s dark ale – An experimental creation, part of their rotating brew series, hence the name Prima, or cousin in Spanish. 003 derives its inspiration from spiced Arabic coffee sampled during a trip to Dubai. This one is brewed with fresh, green cardamom pods and cinnamon, this dark ale exhibits rich spice flavors to complement its roasted malts. The herbal and spicy aromas add an enchanting twist to the ale.
Friday and Saturday: 4–10pm
33 35th St 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY — 11232
Subway: D/N/R – 36th Street
Don’t forget to check out BTBT Episode 16 – The Wartega Grand Opening
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