PHOTOS: A Look Inside Threes Brewing in Gowanus, Brooklyn’s Latest Brewpub

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I am not the town crier of Gowanus. But if I were, I would loudly proclaim, “Hear Ye, Beer Me! The official opening of Threes Brewing is set for Thursday! Wooooo!” while wearing an ornate Ric Flair–inspired robe and a Brooklyn Nets–branded tricorne hat.

Furthermore, I would proclaim this news from the rooftop of 333 Douglass Street in Gowanus — the spacious 5,000-square-feet venue now home to Brooklyn’s newest brewpub (the borough’s third; Dirck the Norseman and Keg & Lantern are both in Greenpoint). Threes Brewing’s classification as a brewpub — defined by Merriam-Webster as “a restaurant that sells beverages brewed on the premises” — is certainly accurate, but it doesn’t entirely capture the breadth of the diverse operation founded by Justin Israelson (also co-owner of Sycamore Brooklyn), Josh Stylman and Andrew Unterberg. After several visits to the intimate and sinous space since October, I can confidently say the trio has created a Brewpubtron®: a beefier version of the standard model formed with nonconventional parts (it may have the capability to shoot lasers, too).

This uniqueness is immediately evident upon entering Threes; in addition to an open kitchen (equipped with a wood-fired oven) and a cluster of booths with marble tables, Ninth Street Espresso has set up their first Brooklyn location that will open daily at 7:00 a.m. and share space with a 10-draft bar and growler-filling station (my name for the tag team is the Legion of Brew — Doroski has hinted at some coffee-fueled collaborations). There is also an event space dubbed Tiny Montgomery that is slated to start hosting events next month.

These join an adventurous 15-barrel brewery headed by Greg Doroski; a 30-foot bar pouring 24 drafts of beers, ciders and wines; and a 3,000-square-foot backyard abutting Butler Street that will be home to apple trees and a 16-foot trellis for hops and wisteria during warmer months. Beefy.

To be fair, Thursday is technically not Threes Brewing’s debut to the public. They hosted a one-day preview of the space on November 8, where Delaney’s BBQ handled food responsibilities since they had yet to select a chef (since they still don’t have a chef, they’re hosting a series of 10-day pop-ups led by Roberta’s until they come to a decision).

This soft opening was sparked by the finished fermentation of Single Tree IPA and Doroski’s meticulous commitment to serving the hop-forward ale at its freshest state. “Our IPA was ready but our space wasn’t, so we decided to open for the day. Hops are volatile, so sitting on Single Tree for a month would not have done anyone any favors,” Doroski says.

Single Tree (which won’t be included in any of the brewery’s future off-site distribution) was poured alongside two others at the mobbed event: Arboretum, a pale ale brewed with a mixed fermentation of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts; and Wandering Bine, a rustic and fruity saison. While the next batch of IPA is still fermenting (with a tentative release of next Wednesday), Arboretum and Wandering Bine will both appear on Thursday. They’ll be joined by Table Beer and Mechanical Spring, both saisons (Table is “wheatier and lower-in-alcohol,” Doroski says).

The core of Threes Brewing — and the component that interests me most from this project — are Doroski’s beers. When I wrote a story on him in October, he cited Saison Dupont and Allagash Confluence as major influences on his brewing. It’s not surprising then that his initial recipes for Threes will “focus heavily on farmhouse ales,” which perfectly encapsulates the former, “and feature the use of wild yeasts,” which occurs in the latter’s recipe. He also plans to start bottling and barreling beers shortly using 60 wine barrels secured from Raphael and Macari Vineyards on Long Island (before joining Threes, Doroski was a brewer at Greenport Harbor on the North Fork for three years).

Since other breweries will inhabit Threes Brewery’s 20 drafts dedicated to beer (the other four will pour wine), Doroski can confidently bend the rules of brewpubry. There is no pressure to brew certain styles or adhere to the traditional and quite antiquated offer-every-color model still stifling some brewpubs — if he doesn’t want to make a hefty stout in February, he won’t, and if he wants to brew three Brettanomyces-driven farmhouses simultaneously (rather than an amber ale and two of whatever), he will.

The start is clearly bright for the crew at Threes. Its opening beer menu, structured with the conceptual frame of “our friends and heroes,” Doroski says, is below.

Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale
Carton Boat Beer
Central Waters’ Slàinte Scottish Style Ale
Firestone Walker Pivo Hoppy Pils
Freigeist Geisterzug Gose
Greenport Harbor Black Duck Porter
Grimm Double Negative
Hitachino Anbai Plum Weizen
LoverBeer Madamin
Mikkeller Årh Hvad?!
Other Half Hop’deded
Peekskill Eastern Standard IPA
Rodenbach Grand Cru
The Bruery Rueuze
Third Rail Beer Field 2 Farmhouse Ale
Threes Arboretum
Threes Mechanical Spring
Threes Wandering Bine
Threes Table Beer

3 Monts Grande Reèerve
Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace
Del Borgo Duchessic Ale
Evil Twin Nomader Weisse
Founders Big Luscious
Jolly Pumpkin/Upland Brewery Persimmon Ship
Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout
Logsdon Seizoen Bretta
Miller High Life
Narragansett Lager
Westbrook White Thai
Widmer Omission Pale Ale

Photo credit: Pamela Masters

Katherine Hernandez

Katherine Hernandez is an Afro-Latina chef and multimedia journalist. Her work has been published on NPR Food, PRI's The World, Edible Manhattan, Feet in 2 Worlds, Gothamist and more.

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