Bursting at the seams, Deep Ellum brewpub Braindead Brewing will take over a space next door to make more room for brewing. They're expanding into a space just east of their current location, between them and Local Hub Bicycle Company.
The expansion tips off the successful ride Braindead has enjoyed — one filled with unpredictable turns, says Sam Wynne, who opened the restaurant-bar-brewery in March 2015, with partners Jeff Fryman and brewer Drew Huerter.
"The original vision was basically Jeff and I bartending at night and brewing beer in the morning," Wynne says. "Then Drew became available, and that tripled what we were trying to do. We needed to build a proper brewery because we had a proper brewer. Then chef David Pena joined us, and we had to build a proper kitchen because we had a proper chef. The next thing you know, we're leasing a 5,000-square-foot space. We never envisioned it to be that big, it just ended up that way."
The expansion will be all brewery space, to catch up with their runaway brewing needs.
"We knew all along we'd need more space, but we didn't know how much beer we were going to be able to make in our first year," he says. "As it turns out, we brewed in year one what we expected to be brewing by year three. We've been brewing at our capacity for the last six months. Drew is an artist and should be able to do what he needs to do. We felt like he needed more space."
They've brewed more than 20 recipes, starting with their four core beers, which include Braindead red, a cream ale, a stout, and a wheat. They're even dabbling with barrel-aged beers, which imbue the beer not only with extra flavors from the wood but also with a gravity generally accorded to bourbons and wines.
The extra square footage gives them the potential to triple their production. "It will mean more beer served at the pub," he says. "We originally set out to have 12 house beers, and this will give us the opportunity to grow to that level, as well as possibly distribute some more beer beyond the few kegs we currently give to our favorite places like Flying Saucer and Common Table."
The space they're taking was originally supposed to go to Local Hub, who simply slid down one more space.
"Those guys have always been great to us," Wynne says. "They've hosted bike rides that left from our patio for the whole time we've been open, and they come over and buy growlers to pour for people wanting to hang out and talk bikes. Beer and bikes go together so well."