The aroma, the originality, the taste —those are just three of the things that make craft beer such a treat. And they’re just three of the things that brought two young entrepreneurs to start Finback Brewery in Glendale.
Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford, who have been friends since their college days in Boston, are in their final stage of renovating the business, and will open a tasting room to the public sometime in March. For years, though, they have been home brewing and are passionate about making beer.
“Going way back, I’ve been passionate for tasting beer, learning about beer and enjoying beer,” Lee said. “I think that goes for the both of us.”
In the past three years they have been working on bringing their brewery to life and have had to overcome many obstacles to get there — such as fundraising, brewing their first day and finding a space.
“Everything in a way was a challenge,” Lee said. “But everything was rewarding.”
After looking all over the city, mostly in Brooklyn and Queens, they found the right space — on 77th Avenue in Glendale.
“We really fell in love with it,” Lee said. “It’s a clean space to work with and has the ability to do other things.”
Lee said the two saw that compared to other cities, New York has a lot of beer bars — but not many microbreweries. They wanted to be “a part of what we know would be New York City craft beer culture,” he said.
They already distribute their beer locally, and have a variety to offer with more to come. They have their flagship Finback IPA, which Lee said will be their go-to, year-round beer. Everything they make, he said, comes from using fresh ingredients and a lot of hops.
One beer in particular they call the BQE, which comes from bringing ingredients from Brooklyn and Queens together.
“Beer in general is amazing, but craft beer is really about beer that’s made by people who are passionate and love at a certain scale,” Lee said. “Just like in the food and cheese world, people are really experimenting. It’s about trying things and always evolving.
“For me,” he continued, “it’s passionate people trying to make beer and following their ideas of what a great beer is.”
There is no official opening day for Finback’s tasting room as of yet, but Lee said the brewery is still participating in New York City’s Craft Beer Week events such as NYC Beer and Brewing History on Monday, Feb. 24 and the NYC Brewer’s Choice 2014 on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
“Seeing someone buy your beer at a bar and seeing them enjoy it and drink it is such a reward,” Lee said. “For me, this is why we’re opening a brewery.”