Disclaimer: the owner of this place is an OBC member so I know the guy. He’s managed to open a new brewery and naturally I wanted to check it out.
The sign outside Bunsen Brewers says beneath it: A fermentation laboratory. That’s really the first moment that I thought was in for something a little different. I ordered the Experiment #2: Oatmeal Stout and had it served to me in this:
Now I like this glass a lot. A whole lot, and there are a few reasons for this which I’ll get into in a moment. What needs to be discussed before anything else is what Bunsen is attempting to do, namely be forthcoming about the science of it’s brews. I’m told they can brew about 1.5 barrels per batch which means it’s a small brewery but it also means they can experiment in a variety of ways. So the plan is to have recipes posted so that patrons can see what was done to make a beer and, if there is a similar beer on tap, compare them to each other to see how changes in malt, yeast, water, etc made an impact. Which brings us back to the glass, and what I like about it.
First, it’s incredibly thematic, fitting the more scientific bent of Bunsen. Second, there is a mark on the glass measuring 1 pint, which is not only really cool, it ensures that patrons know they are getting their money’s worth, something I’m sure many people, especially Bill, will appreciate. So it encapsulates a really clever branding by providing an identifiable theme AND subtly suggesting to customers that they are getting what they pay for.
I also like the space Bunsen is in. The bartender told me that it used to be an art space and I believe it: there are lots of white walls with open spaces where there are little thematic touches (posters of Einstein, the periodic table) but I could see paintings once hanging. Above the walls, it’s all black insulation with strong but not too strong lights coming down, so there’s a very stark contrast between the lower and upper areas as well as being a pleasant place to sit and hang out in.
But I’m here for the beer and you should be too. That oatmeal stout was very, very good-I’ll even admit to being surprised at how much I liked it. It’s got a velvety mouthfeel from the oatmeal and the chocolate flavors are soft and round the beer out nicely. Near the end of the glass, there was a hint of a buttery quality that I couldn’t quite pin down. The kind of thing that I’d talk out with friends to figure out what it was. So often I am told that breweries just cannot be judged on the work of their first year, because it takes time to work all the kinks out of a system. Despite that truth, this beer tastes great and I am really pleased to see Bunsen hit the ground running with this one.