Kelly Taylor started brewing beer about 20 years ago using a hot plate in his college dorm room. Now, he manages one of the largest breweries in Brooklyn.
Mr. Taylor owns Kelso of Brooklyn beer and serves as the head brewmaster for Heartland Brewery — a chain of brew pubs in the city. Both companies brew their beer in a two-story brick brewery in Clinton Hill called Greenpoint Beer Works. Greenpoint Beer Works is a brewery, not a brand of beer, and it is the exclusive home to Kelso and Heartland. “They’re not made anywhere else,” Mr. Taylor said.
The brewery expects to pump out 20,000 kegs of beer this year, up from 12,000 in 2009. Aside from Heartland and Kelso, Mr. Taylor also does contract brewing, making beer for other breweries that don’t have the space in their factories. He has previously brewed for Sixpoint in Red Hook, and now brews for two upstate breweries, Great South Bay Brewery and Empire Brewing Company.
Greenpoint got its start when Heartland wanted to move production out of their restaurants into a separate space to save money. Mr. Taylor, a Washington State native, designed the brewery, and its construction was completed in 2003. The brewery was going to be built in Greenpoint but after the original space fell through and the brewery ended up in Clinton Hill, Mr. Taylor said it was easier to just keep the Greenpoint Beer Works name.
When Mr. Taylor decided he wanted to have his own label, Heartland suggested that they share the space in Greenpoint Beer Works.
“Since I already built this place anyway,” he said, “I might as well make my beer out of here.”
In 2006, Kelso brewed its first pint. Mr. Taylor got the name by combining his first name, Kelly, and his wife’s, Sonya. She runs marketing and social media for the brewery.