Hi everyone and welcome to another week of People & Pints & Podcasts! This week’s episode is a bit shorter than usual but still lots of fun. I went to my old stomping grounds in Jersey City near St. Peter’s Prep, where I went to high school, to visit Departed Soles Brewing Co. I got the chance to talk to the owner and operator, Brian, who is actually a Boston College alum, which was a very exciting coincidence. He suggested I come early in the afternoon to beat the late rush but we were both surprised to find that the taproom was steadily busy all day. So, I had to wait until closing time to sit down and record with Brian. We had a little bit of ambience as people were finishing up their beers but hopefully it helps put you in the space. Listen in as we chat about Brian’s craft beer history and the inaugural year of DSBC!
I ended up not really minding having to wait for the afternoon in the taproom and I sampled my way through a few of the beers. Brian started consciously brewing as a gluten-free brewer in honor of his friend, who was diagnosed with celiac disease. Unfortunately that friend later inspired his brewing venture as he passed away. Still, his presence is palpable in the taproom with the two gluten-free options and the memorial of the name of the brewery, Departed Soles (Brian elaborated that they had been really into buying sneakers).
The DSBC taproom is a mix laid back and fun elements: with graffiti on the walls, an old subway car lining one wall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles memorabilia and plenty of beer. Moreover, Brian proudly announced–as his Australian Shepherd, Bogan, walked around the taproom–that this was the only space where beer and dogs could legally coexist in Jersey City.
As I waited for a few minutes of calm in the taproom I tried a few of Brian’s beers. The first was Cantankerous Blonde, a mellow and standard blonde ale. Later I tried A Dark Night, a gluten-free Black IPA, which won Bronze at the World Beer Cup this year for the Gluten-Free category. Then, I really enjoyed the beautifully colored Deuces, a DIPA with a good mix of bitterness and lingering sweetness. I ended up taking home a growler fill of Philoso-Rapper, a Belgian Ale, which Brian told me was potentially their best-seller.
On the episode we chatted about Brian’s role as the sole operator of DSBC. “It’s my fault if something’s bad, it’s my fault if something’s good,” Brian noted. Still, he was more than willing to give credit to friends and fellow brewers, as well as honoring the memory of his deceased friend. I asked Brian earlier about potential collaborations with other brewers and he shared some hopes for collaborating with other New Jersey/New York brewers. “I’d also love to collaborate with people up in Boston,” Brian said wistfully. As of right now there aren’t any firm plans to brew with anyone but, as is the custom with craft beer, collaboration is almost always a part of the process.
Brian definitely seemed at home in the taproom and brewery and hopes to continue to build DSBC and claim his stake in the beer world. I think he certainly has room to grow and will do so. His first big change for the summer is swapping his personal pick-up truck for an actual delivery truck!
Brian has found a home in Jersey City but remembers his roots in Boston, bartending at the infamous Mary Ann’s and touring Sam Adams. And if you’re a Boston College alum, come visit DSBC and ask for the secret menu!
Usually we drink, review and rate a beer on the show but we expedited the episode so Brian could finish cleaning up and enjoy his social life. Hopefully you still enjoy it and get out to Jersey City to try Departed Soles for yourself!