A new collaboration beer is the latest result of BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant‘s longstanding relationships with Patchogue’s arts scene and other businesses in the village.
BrickHouse has brewed Disruptor, a “West Coast kölsch,” with Electro-Faustus, a company based in Patchogue that makes guitar-effects pedals. The beer will be released this Friday, preceding an event at the brewpub on September 14 to showcase the relaunch of Electro-Faustus’ pedal of the same name.
An arts scene has grown in Patchogue alongside decades of efforts to revitalize its once-floundering downtown. In an article from 2014, the New York Times referred to the turnaround as a “sociocultural renaissance.” (It called BrickHouse a “culture-friendly watering hole.”)
Paul Komsic is BrickHouse’s head brewer, as well as a longtime musician and self-proclaimed “pedal freak.” We called him for a quick chat about BrickHouse’s influence, Disruptor (beer and pedal), and the upcoming event.
Edible Long Island: In addition to being one of Long Island’s oldest active breweries, open since 1996, BrickHouse is a longtime music venue and arts space. How would you describe its role in Patchogue’s transformation over the last two decades?
Paul Komsic: Well, I’ve only been an active Patchogue-ite for seven years. But it’s pretty easy to see BrickHouse’s influence even from that point on. For the most part it was the first to be commanding huge audiences from original bands. Our shows started getting to the point where we were turning people away. So it was only a natural progression that bigger music venues were needed to supply the local demand.
When I first started coming to BrickHouse as a customer, the first thing that grabbed me about the space was its connection to art and music.
But I love the fact that we aren’t the huge place anymore. We’re more like the intimate place now, and those early bands that have gotten bigger still love playing here. And the same thing with art. We’ve been using our upstairs loft as a gallery for as long as I can remember, showcasing different local artists every month. We’ve even had multiple employee art shows too. And now there’s a bonafide gallery culture here in Patchogue with big artists showing.
When I first started coming to BrickHouse as a customer, the first thing that grabbed me about the space was its connection to art and music. It’s great that we can be apart of something bigger than us, and also continue to help grow it.
ELI: Agreed. So, how did you connect with Electro-Faustus for this beer?
PK: There’s a brewing connection here. Joe [Vella, one of Electro-Faustus’ owners] was an original member of The Brewers Collective and that’s how we originally met. When the pedals really started picking up for him, he had to make a choice between that and brewing.
ELI: You’re also a musician.
PK: I’ve played bass for almost 15 years now, and I’ve been a pedal freak for almost all of it. When I found out Joe made pedals, the conversations and jam sessions became endless.
ELI: Do you see any parallels between the beer industry and the pedal industry?
PK: Oh yeah. Just like beer, the pedal industry is experiencing a boom of independant builders trying to make their mark. But like the beer industry, not everything on the shelf is made proper. You have tons of blatant copycats, subpar products, mundane and monotonous lineups, people using Kickstarter for personal use.
ELI: In your opinion, what makes Electro-Faustus unique?
PK: The company is a breath of fresh air in the sense that they aren’t looking to be your standard pedal company. They don’t even call them guitar pedals, they call them noise devices. There’s an originality in the concepts they have, and there’s an element in much of their lineup that brings you to moments in your childhood when you were making weird sounds with pots and pans or anything you could find in your house. They connect not only with novice musicians but also kids that may not have any music experience.
ELI: Interesting. So, you’ve billed the collaboration beer a “West Coast kölsch.”
PK: I have to check, but I think we might be the first. The idea was to make something modern out of something classic and you can’t get much more classic than a kölsch. We kept the malts pretty traditional: large amounts of pilsner to make it taste light and crisp and a little Munich to give some body to support the modernness of the recipe, the popular West Coast hop varieties Amarillo and Simcoe.
It’s going to start off like a crisp, traditional kölsch and end like an IPA with loads of fruity hop flavor and mild bitterness. Eastern Europe meets California right in the middle of Patchogue.
ELI: The beer’s name is Disruptor, after one of Electro-Faustus’ pedals.
PK: It’s my favorite pedal they make. It gives the guitar that synthy, fuzzy, industrial sound, sort of like if you captured Nine Inch Nails and put it in a box. The new Disruptor relaunching at the event is getting put in a smaller enclosure to make it more accommodating to the modern musician. They’re even doing a limited number of them in the brewery’s colors that we’ll be giving away that day.
ELI: What else can we expect at the event?
PK: It’s gonna be great. It’ll be upstairs at BrickHouse, all ages are welcome. A staple of Patchogue, a music store operating in the village since the 1950s named Family Melody is bringing guitars, basses and amps. And another small, family-owned pedal business from New Jersey called Fuzzrocious is coming. It’s a husband-and-wife team that quit their teaching jobs to do this full-time. We’ll have everyone’s gear laid out to try and buy, for people to come and explore the infinite sonic possibilities. And we’ll have some live music downstairs and an open mic so you can come jam live on the spot. Basically things you’ll never find at a Guitar Center.
ELI: You’ve made several beers with another business in Patchogue, Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company. Why is working with the local community important to you?
PK: To me, life is all about meeting people and building relationships. When I was 13 my godparents got me a gift certificate to Looney Tunes record store in West Babylon and that first time stuck with me. I loved the energy of the space and the people working there, and then I started riding down to Looney Tunes every payday to shop for music. And now 20 years later, Looney Tunes is the sponsor of our vinyl night.
BrickHouse Brewery will host Put the Pedals to the Kettle—a Pedal Expo and Open Mic with Electro-Faustus & Fuzzrocious—on Wednesday, September 14. All details are available on the event’s Facebook page here.