Gerry Rooney, one of the brains behind the 6-year-old Clinton Hill bar Putnam’s Pub, is at it again, this time with a restaurant with an on-site brewery, Circa Brewing Co. debuted at 141 Lawrence Street in Brooklyn. The Dublin native who started as a waiter in a bar on Third Avenue in Manhattan believes that the bar is special and unique because the other brewery restaurants in the city don’t match up to its scale with the exposed brewery and kitchen.
“I had been involved in starting a gastro pub in the neighborhood for the Clinton Hill area of Queens. Living in the neighborhood, I grew fond of it and came to love it. I knew there was a need for a good local brewery,” remarked Cooney.
For the dream to come to realization, Rooney knew he needed expansive space. “I’d been looking for a space that would be big enough to house a brewery. Watching the skyline protrude up the horizon was kind of an interesting sight. I just started watching the neighborhood and what was going on down here was crazy,” commented Rooney. The space has the capacity to host more than 250 people inside. The bar has a prime seating area in full sight of brewing tanks, and the back is in front of the exposed kitchen.
Rooney is a fan of craft brewing and has been perfecting his technique for quite some time. He has been in the industry for twelve years, and he is of the opinion that for a restaurant to work, it has to be accompanied with good hospitality. “Food and beverage are important, but if you don’t pair them with good hospitality, it doesn’t work.” He further adds, “If you are not focused on your customers and if your staff isn’t focused on showing people the gratitude, the gratefulness for coming to your establishment, you are never going to last long. You will be kidding yourself.”
To accomplish his goal of opening a new brewery, Rooney knew he needed someone with experience and thus brought in Danny Bruckert, former head brewer of Sixpoint Brewery in Red Hook. Bruckert heads Circa’s beer operations, and he boasts of a long history in craft brewing. Bruckert got into home brewing after his wife gifted him a beer making kit. He joined Sixpoint as a keg washer and carpenter and worked his way up to become the brewery’s head brewer.
Not only does Circa have its own beer, but also that from other breweries such as Sixpoint and wine on tap from Rooftop Reds. “The idea is to have many different beers and many different styles that we can pair with different foods,” remarked Bruckert.
Circa’s food focus is on pizza. The restaurant has two wood-burning ovens, which churn out Neapolitan-inspired pies. “We are just having fun with the menu,” commented Danny’s twin brother Luke. Luke Bruckert is behind the pizza menu, and he formerly ran his food truck, Little Oven Pizza in Portland, Oregon. Apart from pizza, Luke’s menu also consists of sausages and other standards.
The new restaurant defies the norm of the classic red pizza and instead makes a white pizza laced with maple bourbon ham, which has become their signature pizza. “We are charring pineapple over the wood-fired grill, so it has a wonderful smoky flavor,” remarked Luke.
The restaurant’s brunch menu features the eggs Benedict-inspired pie, with maple-cured ham, hollandaise, and eggs. “It’s a gut bomb, but it’s so flavorful. It’s so delicious it hurts,” commented Bruckert about the restaurant’s brunch menu.
To learn more about Circa Brewing Co., visit their website.