The Brooklyn Growler

"Life is all skittles and beer." — Tom Lehrer

Federal Brewing Co. Leaves Federal Dust

Some things are here for only a little while and then they’re gone, leaving behind very little. In the case of many former Brooklyn breweries, the buildings that once housed these businesses still remain, while the breweries themselves have long since been forgotten.

Brooklyn’s landscape is constantly evolving. Today, many former industrial neighborhoods of the nineteenth century are now full of luxury apartment buildings.

The old Schaefer plant in Williamsburg is now a community center and could, quite possibly, become condos at some point in the near future. A lesser-known brewery – the Leonhard Michel plant in Gowanus – is empty and who knows what will come of it.

Here’s a real deep cut –

The Federal Brewing Co., located at 83 Third Ave. in Boerum Hill, was a short-lived brewery that closed down operations in 1907. But looking at the building today, one would hardly even believe that was the former home to beer.

This brewery went through a variety of names and owners in its fifty-three years of life. Founded in 1854 by Samuel Duell, the brewery produced ales under the name of the Long Island Brewery. It was a small facility but grew in size over the next few years. In 1872, Duell sold the brewery to Arthur A. Brown who maintained the brewery’s name and production of ale.

By 1887, Brown had expanded the size of the brewery and added a lager to the beers Long Island Brewery produced. Arthur Brown died in 1879, passing the business to his son J.W. Brown who ran the plant until 1902 when it changed owners again and became the Federal Brewing Co. The plant held on for a few more years, closing for good in 1907.

As Quality Cosmetics in 1976, from Will Anderson's Breweries of Brooklyn.

The building still remains standing on a patch of Third Ave. between Dean and Bergen. From the exterior, the only major difference is that its turret has long-since been taken down.

After Federal left, the building was occupied by the Pittsburgh Glass Co., something called the Fred Goat. Co., and Quality Cosmetics. Will Anderson contacted Quality Cosmetics for his book Breweries of Brooklyn in 1975. Quality had no idea that a brewery was once housed inside its building.

Today, Federal appears to be an apartment complex and is little more than a footnote in the history of Brooklyn’s breweries.

Filed under: beer history, breweries, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sampler Pack: How to Be a Beer Nerd

• Bon Appétit provides this quick and easy recipe for becoming a beer nerd – don’t be afraid of foam; drinking beer that is ice cold hides its taste; don’t be afraid of bottled beers (though, honestly, the conversation is now about whether cans are better than draft or bottle), but, hey, it’s still a pretty good article. Well, it’s about beer and I read it. [Bon Appétit]

• Having recently discovered wet hopped beers, I was really happy to stumble across Christian DeBenedetti’s newest Eater post about the history of wet hopped beers, which are also known as fresh-hopped beers. What are they you wonder? Read this thing and wonder no more! [Eater]

• What I love about the craft beer world is that it fosters collaboration. In this article at CraftBeer.com, Brittany Dern examines what happens when two brewers who love each other very much get together to make a beer. [CraftBeer.com]

• Sam Calagione and the other folks at Dogfish Head have been working with the Discovery Channel on a new program called Brew Masters. The show follows Calagione around the country as he tracks down exotic ingredients, brewing techniques, and escaped criminals. The show airs in November. [Dogfish Head]

Filed under: sampler pack, , , , , , , , ,

Photodump Friday: Let’s Hear It for Autumn

Sam Adams, Octoberfest, Boston, Mass.

Wolaver’s, Will Stevens’ Pumpkin Ale, Middlebury, Vt.

Berkshire Brewing Co., Octoberfest, Deerfield, Mass.

Dogfish Head, 60-Minute IPA, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Filed under: photos, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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