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Tuesday, 24 September 2013 18:00

From Bitting to the Bronx

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chris sheehan 1Pop quiz: What's the most popular first name among the folks who make up New Jersey's craft breweries?

Give up? Of course you do; it's rather frivolous question.

But just in case, the answer is … Chris, as in: Chrises Carton (Carton Brewing); Henke (Cape May); Walsh, Rakow and McGrath (River Horse); LaPierre (Iron Hill); Percello (Uno); and Konicki (Tuckahoe). That's eight! Almost enough for a collaboration beer. A Chris'mas ale, maybe?

The number used to be nine.

But Chris Sheehan these days finds himself at Gun Hill Brewing in the Bronx (about a mile northeast of the Bronx Zoo). A month ago, Chris turned the brewhouse at J.J. Bitting in Woodbridge over to Mehmet Kadiev, who brewed for a while at Cricket Hill.

Gun Hill Brewing, Chris says, is a 30-barrel, draft-only production brewery he and two partners are launching. Things are amid the buildout, so there's plenty of floor work before the tanks and other equipment that arrived recently can be righted and set in place.

"We receieved three shipments of equipment … I have a bunch of tanks on the floor; nothing's been uprighted and put into position yet. I'm hoping to get some of that done (this) week" he says.

Plans include a tasting room that under a New York farm brewing license would be able to run practically like a bar, so long as the brewery uses a percentage of New York-grown ingredients. The beers Chris expects to get rolling with are a golden ale, an IPA, a rotation of stouts, plus seasonal brews.

Gun Hill Brewing borrows its name from a main thoroughfare in the neighborhood and the Bronx's Revolutionary War history: The hill that's name-checked refers to a hilltop cannon emplacement that gave Continental Army troops an advantage over the king's soldiers down below.

Chris put in a commendable two years at J.J. Bitting brewpub.

He arrived there in August 2011, a few weeks after Port 44 Brew Pub in Newark went out of business. During his time as Bitting's brewer, he grew fond of the WHALES IPA, a brew created several years ago by the local homebrew club and made at Bitting. Chris also wove through the Bitting tap lineup a number of different beer styles, notably an abbey ale, an American pale wheat, and a foreign stout.


Read 11064 times Last modified on Monday, 02 December 2013 18:58

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