As the craft beer movement hits the Capital Region head on, Rare Form Brewing Company is planting its roots in Troy.
The new local brewery at 90 Congress St. will soon announce its springtime opening date, while owners Kevin Mullen and Jenny Kemp are brewing up their long-aspired dreams.
The couple embarked on a mission to start their own brewing company two years ago. They began planning with the city, and received financial help from the New York Business Development Corporation.
This winter, they found the perfect space on Congress Street, and started work in late December. The business is leasing from building owner Kevin Blodgett, who will be opening a restaurant and bar called The Shop in the adjacent former Trojan Hardware Co. store.
In upcoming weeks, they will be pulling all of the final pieces together, and opening as soon as possible this spring.
In redecorating, the team tried to create a balance between old and new. Bright, shiny paints contrast the rustic look of exposed brick. The establishment’s facade is being remodeled, and inside they’re finishing up the space with brewery-esque decor. Their color combo mimics the shades of their beers, Kemp said.
In the tap room, which can hold 40 people, everything is angled toward the five barrel brewing system. “We wanted everything to kind of focus on the beer, because that’s what we’re about,” Mullen said. “The idea is that they’ll be able to see exactly what were doing and be a part of it.”
The company will start with four different beers that will be distributed out to bars. They’ve already firmed up deals with local sellers, and are awaiting their final state licensing approval. The four different brews are soon to be enjoyed by local craft beer lovers have distinct and varying styles.
“Satan’s Gut” is an imperial stout named after the largest white water rapids in North America. Mullen spent years as a white water raft guide, braving the rapids, and thinking of how to brew their intensity into a beer. “It’s dark. It’s black down there. There’s a lot of driftwood down there. There’s probably a lot of boatmen that have a lot of coffee and whiskey in them,” he said. So, he took these elements and created a beer.
“Cascadia” is a west coast double IPA, and one of the owners’ favorites. “That one came from us living over on the west coast and kind of falling in love with that style of beer, and wanting to bring that with us as a piece of us to the brew selection,” Mullen said.
“Wee Plaid” is a hoppy Scottish ale with a malty complex tone, and “Sabbatical” is a session ale, low in alcohol content, made with rye and a lot of citrus notes.
These flavors, and more of their experimental brews will be continually rotating for sampling in the tap room, and served in pints or take-home growlers. Pint prices vary by the style, but will roughly cost $5 or $6.
“We try to do most of our ingredients local, in the New York region,” Mullen said. The brewery has been working with local malters, and hope to find a close by hops farm to source from.
Small food items will be available as pairing plates for customers to experience how snacks like cheeses and shortbread cookies can change the taste of a beer. Mullen and Kemp will be available to suggest which flavors pair well.
Rare Form Brewing Company will also have a scale up program, through which home brewers can bring in their own beer. Every so often the owners will pick one they like, scale up the recipe, and make it on tap in the brewery’s barrels.
For their rotating beers, Rare Form Brewing Company invites local artists to design the logos on the taps, as a way to highlight their work. “We really like the artistic community that was here, and how it’s just a small supportive town,” Mullen said.
Formerly residing on the west coast, the couple moved to the Capital Region five years ago, when Mullen enrolled in graduate school at the University of Albany, and they immediately fell in love with Troy.
“We really like that it’s a small community that has a lot of art, and art is important to us,” Mullen said.
“We saw the uniqueness in Troy right away,” Kemp said.
They were also happy with the city’s walkability, and knew it would be a good spot for their first brewery.
“This has really been a passion for years,” Mullen said. He has been brewing beer for 18 years. “We always wanted to have a brewery.”
Before long, all they have envisioned over the past few decades will become Rare Form Brewing Company. On opening their first business, “We’ve already had a blast with it, and we’re really excited just to get our doors open and to have people come in and try our product,” Mullen said.
The brewery will be open from Wednesday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, noon to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
A grand opening event is to be announced. Check www.rareformbrewing.com or find Rare Form Brewing Company on Facebook for updates with details. To reach the brewery, call 313-9256.
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