Pressure Drop Brewing, helmed by former Knee Deep Brewing hopsmeister and Buffalo native Karl Kolbe, is set to open in the Barrel Factory in the Old First Ward. The new brewery, which will focus on hoppy West Coast style beers, will debut a pair of beers on Thanksgiving Eve, 5pm, in the Lakeward Spirits tasting room.
Strummer, a Belgian Blonde Ale and Sticky Trees, a 6% single hop IPA with Mosaic hops, will serve as the first two Pressure Drop offerings. “Real heavy on wheat, real crisp, real dry,” Kolbe says of Sticky Trees. “Tons of hops coming through; it’s really effervescent.” Of Strummer, he says, “it’s a little milder than most Belgians, but its real crisp and real clean. A little bit of clove and spice note, this is a lawnmower beer.”
As for what’s next, he says that he’s planning an all Simcoe/Mosaic Double IPA that should clock in near 9%, a Brown Ale, Coffee Cream Porter and possibly an ESB, which he says would be perfect for watching the Bills play on Sundays. “I’m a huge fan of ESB’s,” he says, “because they have a ton of flavor and you can drink them all day. You’re watching football on Sunday and you have three games to get through? You need a keg of ESB. It’s so drinkable.” He also wants to try and release a Triple IPA relatively soon (Kolbe says he’d like that beer in the neighborhood of 12% and 140-145 IBUs), as well as a Belgian Imperial Stout.
“I love a big IPA. I know a lot of people either haven’t experienced a big IPA or haven’t experienced a good big IPA, so I want to release an 11% beer that tastes like a 7% beer,” he says. “Something that really blows people away.”
“I love all beers. I love just about every single beer style there is. Big beers are close to my heart, that’s really where I come from. We looking for real West Coast in terms of clarity. I’m not opposed to doing some East Coast style, I love a good juice bomb, but where my heart and soul is at, what I was raised on, are big, hoppy West Coast style beers.”
Kolbe, a Tonawanda native, moved to California and began homebrewing (he won the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Homebrew Competition), before taking a position at Knee Deep. He was looking to open a brewery in northern California, but decided to move back to Buffalo to do it instead. “Really, mad respect to everyone in the beer scene here. Everyone in the beer scene has been more than gracious, more than helpful, going out of their way to make my life less stressful. All day, every day. It’s rad.”
“I have mad respect for [Flying Bison’s] Tim Herzog,” he adds, raving about just how welcoming Herzog was to him when they first met. “The love that he put out into the community resonates really hardcore with me.”
Pressure Drop Brewing’s COO Lexi Craine says that when it came down to where they wanted to house the brewery, the Barrel Factory itself pretty much did all of the work.
“Steve Bystran’s (the landlord) vision for the Barrel Factory was the ultimate sell – being a destination for consumers of all types: spirits, beer, wine, etc. Also, the spirit that every business in the building makes something – a maker fair, if you will. We’re super excited to be opening in Buffalo. We are extremely grateful for the support from the community and fellow breweries, and exceedingly optimistic about the future of craft beer in WNY.”
Pressure Drop Brewing houses five 13′ 30-barrel fermenters (“Well, they’re 34 barrel capacity actually,” Kolbe points out) with a 4,000 liter brewing capacity. The brewery anticipates producing 2,200-2,500 barrels in their first year. While they will brew bigger batches, Kolbe adds that they will also brew smaller, ‘pilot batch brews,’ which will be 15 barrels. Their beer will primarily be on tap in the Lakeward Spirits tasting room in the Barrel Factory (though they have signed with some distributors Kolbe says), eight taps worth, with an additional eight taps upstairs.
As for the brewery name, Kolbe says that it was partly inspired by science and partly inspired by beer nerdery.
“There’s a couple stories behind the name actually,” he says. “One is, that we live on Lake Erie and when there is a storm coming in, you just watch the barometric pressure drop. The other story behind it is a little bit of beer geekery. Its fluid dynamics; when you transfer a liquid from one vessel to another, there’s a pressure drop. And that’s how we do.”
Kolbe says that he is excited to get his beer on tap and hang out in the Lakeward tasting room talking beer with as many people as he can. So there’s a good chance you know where to find him on any given day, when he’s not brewing said beer of course. “Just grill me, anything you want to know, let’s go for it,” he says. “I love to engage with people. I want to be accountable, I want to be out there talking to people every single day.”
“We like to think of the Buffalo beer scene as collaboration over competition,” Craine adds. “Bringing more beer opportunities to the area will help increase the interest/business for existing breweries. Especially in the Old First Ward – if there are more locations to visit, people will be more likely to make the trip. As far as oversaturation goes, the noted rate of growth of each new brewery proves that Buffalo is not yet close to oversaturation. In comparison to other metro markets, Buffalo has not yet reached its potential.”
“Every single brewer has their own style, and their own take on beer, so there are endless options for experime ntation.”
For more information on Pressure Drop Brewing, please visit http://www.barrelfactory.com/pressure-drop-brewing.html. You can also follow the brewery on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pressurebrewers/.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.