I work at a Math and Science school in Brooklyn, so STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) is never far from mind. A brewmaster’s skills, knowledge-base, and everyday responsibilities plants him/her very firmly in the field of STEM. It’s not a career that gets mentioned much when highlighting the various STEM-related career paths. Hanging out in Chris Sheehan’s laboratory, Gun Hill Brewing Company’s brand new brewery, it was evident that this seasoned alchemist is in his glory amongst the various heavy metal tanks, bags of hops and grain, and finished kegs of liquid gold.
Chris Sheehan’s storied career started in California, earning his brewing chops in Triple Rock Brewery and 20 Tank Brewery. He describes himself as a West Coast-style brewer, although he spent the majority of his time brewing for East Coast craft breweries and brewpubs, including Port 44 and J.J. Bitting in New Jersey, and Chelsea Brewing Company in Manhattan. Gun Hill Brewing Company will have a versatile line-up, but Chris is a Stout specialist who has received 6 GABF medals for his Stouts over the years.
Locally grown, very fresh hops plus this secret weapon make all the difference when enjoying their line-up of beers. Chris’ self-designed “Hop Jack” ensures a healthy infusion of hops during the brewing process.
Gun Hill Brewing Co. is the first brewery to brew on Bronx soil since the 1960s, with the departure of Rheingold Beer from the Bronx. Bronx Brewery, Jonas Bronck’s Beer Company, and City Island Beer all contract brew outside of NYC. Dave Lopez and Kieran Farrell are the co-owners/founders of Gun Hill Brewing Company, basing their company’s brand on the colonial history of the Bronx. The current plan is to supply kegs to local bars, restaurants, and craft beer shops, and to serve the Williamsbridge community via its tasting room. (Tasting Room Hours: Monday-Thursday 1-8pm, Friday 1-9pm, Saturday 12-9pm, Sunday 12-7pm)
A Brewer’s Soundtrack:
BierWAX asked Chris Sheehan about the role of music while creating his brews. An avid fan of mainly British and Scandinavian Death Metal, Chris’ award-winning Stouts are frequently brewed with a dark and ominous soundscape. I won’t reveal some of his upcoming beer names, but a few of them will likely be metal-themed. The sounds of metal seem to eerily reverberate off the heavy metal vessels, kettles, tanks and tuns in Chris’ brew-lab.
Gun Hill Brewing Co. will certainly be a force to reckon with in NYC and beyond over the next few months and years. With Chris Sheehan at the creative helm, fashioning some pretty drinkable beers, the future for the Bronx craft beer scene is undoubtedly getting brighter.