Thin Man Brewery’s long awaited and highly anticipated second location at 166 Chandler Street will open to the public at 4pm today. The new space features a large taproom with a heavy industrial feel, complete with plenty of bar space, seating and games, Tappo Pizza restaurant, an increased production facility, which includes a dedicated canning line, increased brewing capacity with room to grow, banquet facility, barrel-aging room and graffiti-emblazoned outdoor beer garden.
The taproom features vaulted ceilings, cement pillars, seating for 120-150 people, including an elevated seating area and dozens of barstools, a gaming area with Golden Tee Golf arcade game, two dartboards, two skee ball machines and a pair of foosball tables (some pinball machines could find their way to the space in the future), multiple flat screen televisions and Tappo Wood Fired Pizza restaurant, who will solely handle the food at Chandler. The elevated seating area is also home to an entire wall adorned with Space Ghost, Brak and Zorak, who inspired Thin Man’s beloved house sour, Minkey Boodle. The new facility also features bigger bathrooms, more than Thin Man’s Elmwood location, according to Watkins. Off the taproom sits the beer garden, which is enclosed on three sides with graffiti-laden walls and is open to the street. There will be tables and chairs for patrons.
The bar features 16 total taps as well as a cooler with packaged beer to go, including cans of Pills Mafia Pilsner and bottles of Sauvage Alliance, a barrel aged wild ale collaboration with New Belgium Brewing. More options will be available soon.
The upstairs banquet facility features space for private parties, weddings and the like with a dedicated bar, full kitchen and seating for up to 300 people. The ‘catering loft’ overlooks the brewery below through large glass panels. Off that room is Thin Man’s dedicated barrel-aging room, which Watkins was understandably very excited for. The brewery and the barrel room will both be open for tours.
“There’s plenty of room to store plenty of barrels,” Watkins says. “We can fit hundreds of barrels in here.” Watkins admits that he might build a warm room to encourage bottle conditioning in the future, depending on how things go. “I’m excited. I’ve done a little bit of barrel stuff over at Elmwood, but we just didn’t have enough space. This is going to be fun to play around with. I’m hoping to re-brew Awesome Jenkins [Imperial Stout] and put some of it in barrels.” All of the barrels at Chandler will be clean beers.
With their current tank setup, Chandler’s capacity is 10-12,000 barrels (six 90bbl tanks) with a goal of 5,000bbls in the first year. Watkins says that, given their square footage, Chandler could get up to 25-28,000bbls in the future. Last year, Thin Man maxed out at 2,000bbls on Elmwood. There’s also room to grow and add more tanks down the line. Watkins says that with a few minor tweaks, six 120bbl tanks could be added to the space. In the back of the brewhouse sits storage space, offices and space for a dedicated lab.
“It’s a pretty significant jump, but we’ve got a dedicated canning line, which is huge for us. And that’s a market that doesn’t really exist for us right now. We’ve done some canning running runs before, but nothing like what we will be able to do here.” Tentative plans call for canning runs of Bliss Double IPA, Minkey Boodle Raspberry Sour, Burning Money IPA, Trial By Wombat New England IPA, Pills Mafia Pilsner and “a whole bunch of other stuff,” Watkins says. “It’s been forever since we’ve made Juicemaster for example.”
The new space will allow Thin Man to free up space at their Elmwood facility, up to 15 percent according to Watkins. Thin Man’s keg washer, as well as their Shipping and Receiving, will be headquartered at Chandler. “Basically with this new space, I can do what would be two weeks worth of work at Elmwood in one day here. I’m really looking forward to that.”
Thin Man will predictably expand their brew staff and have already hired on some new personnel. Watkins hopes to have beer in the tanks at Chandler by the end of April, adding that he isn’t quite sure what the first brew batch at Chandler will be, though some one-offs and potentially incredibly exciting collaborations aren’t out of the question. “I’m very excited to start making beer here.”
As for plans for the brewhouse on Elmwood, Watkins says that the smaller system in place will allow him to experiment some more. “Having the smaller tanks over on Elmwood will allow us to mess around with different fruits and different styles, more funky wild stuff and would allow me to make some bigger stouts more frequently.”
Chandler Street will feature seven-eight house beers at launch, including the returning Citra Double Dry-Hopped Trial By Wombat and a new IPA, Invisible Hand, brewed with the holy hop trinity of Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe. Expect many of Thin Man’s more recognizable brands on tap as well, including Burning Money IPA, Bliss DIPA and Pills Mafia. Citra DDH Trial By Wombat will be available on draft and to-go in growlers and crowlers. The beer will only be available at Chandler.
“This is pretty much what I had envisioned it would be,” Watkins says of the new space. “Actually, this is far grander than I had initially envisioned. Elmwood is a great location, but sometimes it’s a pain to have an industrial manufacturing facility there. I’m excited to be open. I’m excited to start making beer here and be able to have enough beer to go around. There’s going to be great beer and great food here, set in a cool, rehabbed industrial environment. It’s a fun place to hang out. This feels like a brewery. When you’re in the tasting room, you can see through into the brewery, see the tanks and you actually walk right by them. Here on Chandler you get more of a brewery experience than you get over on Elmwood.”
For more information, please visit https://thinmanbrewery.com.
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.