The last three months have seen the openings of two new breweries in Manhattan. The first, featured a few weeks ago, perches atop a building in the flatiron district. The opening of that beer garden was heavily covered in the local press.
Only a few weeks after that chef Anderson Sant'anna De Lima tapped five kegs and began serving his own beer at 508 GastroBrewery, in the SoHo district of Manhattan.
I find it difficult to call this place the brewpub, or what’s worse a gastropub, which sounds like something you should go to hospital because of. (Chef Anderson Sant'anna De Lima tells me he prefers to be known as a "gastrobrewery.")
508 GastroBrewery is a restaurant, with the most imaginative menu, that serves five beers on draft, and a few more in the bottle, all brewed in one-barrel batches downstairs. The 60 seat seating area is spacious and comfortable. There are also a good number of seats at the bar.
Downstairs, the one barrel brew house is compact and consists of three brew kettles and and five fermenters. The brew kettles as you can see are actually jacketed professional restaurant stock pots.
The brew house is tucked just under the stairs in an area where every square inch is used.
Chef Anderson Sant'anna De Lima shows off fermenters holding his latest creations.
It was a hot day, so conducting the interview just outside the cold box was a pleasure.
The Beer Menu
Here is an example of what can only be called an eclectic menu.
It is listed on the lunch menu as "Swiss Chard “Nudi” Naked Ravioli” - Swiss Chard, Ricotta, Lemon Zest, Parmesan, Pepper Cream Sauce” when paired with both the I PA and Dark Brown Ale the flavor combinations were most refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.
Below are listed the beers tasted that afternoon and very brief tasting notes… It was a hot day and thirst got the better of me.
508 Lager (4.5% ABV) There were no menu notes available for this beer and so the following are my observations. This was actually the last beer sampled and so the tasting notes are a bit brief. “There is a slight chill haze to this beer. The flavor profile resembled a Dortmund beer.”
508 Citra Common (4.5% ABV) The following are the menu notes (Light fruitiness moderate caramel and toasty malt. Finish fairly dry and crisp, with a lingering hop bitterness). This was the first beer I tried on my first visit to this restaurant. I was looking for a lower alcohol, refreshing, brew. I did not get a chance to ask the Brewer/Chef about the hop he used in this brew. I’m willing to bet that it is the relatively new variety called Citra.
508 Red Ale (4.5% ABV) The following are the menu notes (Caramel, Toasty, Toffee, Buttery Finishes with a light taste of roasted grain, dryness to the finish. Very clean and smooth beer. ). There is more roasted malt flavor here than in most lower alcohol beers. I also found a touch of honey on the finishing palate.
508 Coffee Porter (5% ABV) The following are the menu notes (Roasted with a lightly burnt coffee like, black malt character, grainy, bready, toffee-like, caramel, chocolate. Roasted dryness in the finish.). My notes tell me that this is a smooth example of a Porter. In the flavor profile there is a hint of prune and licorice.
508 Hefeweizen (4.8% ABV) The following are the menu notes (Wheat aroma, citrusy tartness, light vanilla, banana and cloves, well rounded beer. Fluffy, creamy fullness, light, spritzy finish.). What I can tell you is that the aromatics were very close to the Bavarian style of this beer. The flavor had a hint of banana and on a hot day was most refreshing. I also appreciated the relatively low alcohol content.
How big is the brew-house?
How many barrels are brewed a time?
What kind of malt is used?
What kind of hops?
Next week, after I learn how to work the video program, I hope to post an interview done with Chef/Brewer Chef Anderson Sant'anna De Lima that answers all those questions so you can really get a firsthand insight into how this brewery restaurant came about. To be continued…