Restaurant News & Reviews

Heist still brewing up more big plans for North End location (but the new taproom is open)

Inside Heist Brewery’s taproom at its new Barrel Arts facility at Camp North End.
Inside Heist Brewery’s taproom at its new Barrel Arts facility at Camp North End. Heist Brewery

Kurt Hogan was desperate for more space, but his first thought was that the building at 1030 Woodward Ave. was way too large.

After years of being unable to keep up with demand, the founder of Heist Brewery was on the hunt for a production brewery. Initially, he sought a building that could simply accommodate a larger brewhouse and additional fermenters, but at almost 23,000 square feet this one seemed overkill.

It didn’t take him long to figure out what to do with all of that room. Hogan soon envisioned not just a bigger brewery, but also a taproom, kitchen and sprawling beer garden.

“Eventually the size of the building didn’t seem as daunting as it did at first,” says Hogan. “We brainstormed and figured out a way to fill that space and not make it so empty.”

Hogan broke the project down into three phases. The first phase, the brewery itself, has been complete for almost a year now. The second was the taproom and beer garden, which just opened to the public. The third phase should be complete later this year, and will include private event spaces, more barrel storage and a 2,000-square-foot kitchen turning out not just breakfast, lunch and dinner, but likely also the made-from-scratch breads that Heist Brewery uses at its original brewpub in NoDa.

Though Hogan had his doubts at first about the building’s size, he never strayed from the neighborhood. With other breweries and businesses heading to South End and rising prices in that area, he knew he could find a more affordable space just a couple miles away.

“I knew I wanted to stay in the North End,” Hogan says. “With the brewpub being in NoDa, we always had our eyes up here. We knew that there’s a lot of stuff coming this way from downtown. Whether or not that’s a year down the road, two years down the road or three years down the road, it’s going to happen.”

When Hogan bought the building he didn’t know that Camp North End — a 76-acre coworking site spread out across a variety of historic buildings — would soon be among a throng of new businesses moving into corridor. But he says having the campus close by is “definitely a plus.”

The building’s 50-foot bar has plenty of space to accommodate anyone walking over from that campus, and three tap towers pouring a dozen beers each. Two of those towers will pour a similar selection to the brewpub, while the middle tower will be reserved for barrel-aged beers, most of which will come during that third phase. That’s also when the kitchen will come online, with the original brewpub’s focus on elevated offerings, but with individual dishes instead of shared plates.

“The whole space has kind of a market feel,” Hogan says. “It’s a large building, but it’s got a cool open feel to it. You’ll be able to just roam around the entire site. You can bring your laptop and work if you want to. You can hang out at the beer garden, hang out at the patio, grab some food from the bake shop. It’ll be that kind of feel.”

There’s still work to be done before that third phase is complete, but for now Hogan is eager to show off the new space, and relieved to finally get more beer out there — not just through can releases, but also at local bars and bottle shops.

Over the last year, the brewery has been able to brew more of its sought-after IPAs like Citraquench’l, Mo-J and the Not From Concentrate series while also introducing new beers (like The Burst series, which has included mango and guava varieties). Hogan credits head brewer Scott Worthington for his ability to scale up those favorites from the smaller brewpub while also keeping things fresh with new offerings.

There will be a grand opening starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, with food trucks, live music, axe throwing and other outside activities. The brewery will also release cans at its new location (look for additional details to be announced at www.facebook.com/heistbrewery).

Can’t wait until then? The new brewery is now open to the public, with soft hours of 3-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1-11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Saturday and 12-8 p.m. on Sunday.

Beer of the Week

NoDa Brewing Co. Hop Cakes: Hoisting 80-pound buckets of sticky syrup up the brewhouse steps makes Hop Cakes one of NoDa Brewing Co.’s most labor-intensive beers, but fortunately they still brew the crowd favorite every year. The brewery will release the 10.2 percent, maple-syrup-infused double IPA at 2 p.m. Friday. Four-packs of the 16-ounce cans are $15.99.

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