There’s a new place to drink beer on Walnut Street serving craft beer that’s brewed right here in Montclair.
Montclair Brewery, a labor of love for Leo Sawadogo and his wife Denise Ford, will be hopping this Saturday, October 13, with an all-day Grand Opening party from noon to 10 p.m.
Located at 101 Walnut Street, in the former Poor Richard furniture repair space, the long-awaited Montclair Brewery celebrates craft beer and community. At a pre-opening party Monday night, the Sawadogos thanked everyone who helped make their dream a reality, by supporting Montclair’s first craft brewery through an Indiegogo campaign.
Montclair residents who donated at the Fermenter level enjoyed a special honor. Giant, shiny tanks brewing beers were officially named for fermenter donors. Constantine and Sarah Stibbe Damaskos named their tank (currently brewing Golden Buddha, a passionfruit ale) “Spanahopita” with a nod to Constantine’s Greek heritage. Ed and Laura Farrell might be on to something; they dubbed their tank “The Good Tank.”
The fermenters were among so many friends and neighbors who helped Leo Sawadogo take his passion for home brewing out of the basement and into a business (Denise thanked everyone for all their support and for helping her “get her basement back!”).
Growing up in West Africa, Leo Sawadogo would watch his mother transform native grains, herbs, and spices into tasty brews. The beers we tried Monday night show that Sawadogo, who attended a brewing academy to take his passion to the next level, is not afraid to experiment (the weirdest thing he has ever brewed with might be a habanero pepper).
On tap Monday night was a heady rosemary-infused IPA. Then there was Tony’s Joint, a potent honey maple brown ale that was a perfect autumn brew for a crisp night. Blind Date IPA is brewed with – you guessed it — dates. There are also beers that pay homage to the brewery’s Montclair roots — an Orange Road Sour, and available this Saturday, the Poor Richard IPA.
Food vendors will be on hand for the family-friendly, grand opening day celebration because Montclair Brewery is BYOF (bring your own food). Be sure to try a framboise – a raspberry specialty beer with low alcohol content and a super delicious, sweet finish. There will be live music throughout the day, including a special performance by 4th Street NiteOwls from 7-10 p.m.
Music will be a big part of the Montclair Brewery experience going forward; Montclair’s own Lily Vakili take the stage to release her new album on Saturday, October 27. And if you’re feeling artistic, check out the Montclair Brewery Label contest and enter here.
Montclair Brewery, 101 Walnut Street, Montclair.