Bent Elbow Brewery Coming Soon to West Creek

‘Crick Water,’ ‘Devil’s Coffin’ Among Offerings
Jan 16, 2019
Supplied Photo

A new microbrewery is coming to downtown West Creek. Bent Elbow Brewery Brewery is a brand new 1,500-square-foot facility that will be built on the half-acre property at 224 South Main St., the corner of Route 9 and Dock Road, in the location formerly occupied by West Creek Kayak and Canoe, according to a resolution passed by the Eagleswood Township Land Use Board Tuesday night.

Owner Bryan Tucker started Great Bay Brewery LLC in 2015 and has laid a foundation for Bent Elbow with a few key recipes brewed in small batches over the last eight years. He spent a few years searching for an opportune deal in Southern Ocean County, where he has resided for 17 years. When he first started shopping around, only three breweries were open in a 25-mile radius. He believes there are now as many as 11 in Ocean County, with another one on the way in Toms River.

“Being the first to fill a void wasn’t quite as important as finding a sustainable situation,” Tucker explained. “Being close to home and work was a priority on the list, and the (Main Street and Dock Road) property checked the most boxes.” Tucker said he likes that there is a lot of history in the area from which to pull inspiration; he also enjoys the generosity and welcoming of the community.

Tucker also works for Jay Madden Architects, which is the firm designing the new facility. With regard to the time frame for construction, Tucker said it will take a few months to do the fit-out and to go through state and federal licensure processes (when the government shutdown ends), but, for now, he is pleased to announce craft beer lovers can look forward to beers with such names as Chocrilla, Crick Water, Overboard and Devil’s Coffin coming to West Creek.

Represented by attorney Robert Rue, Tucker appeared before the Eagleswood Land Use Board in November to request a use variance and a waiver for curbing and sidewalks for the new commercial operation. According to the minutes from that meeting, Great Bay Brewery will employ a small handful of people, with hours of operation from about noon to 10 p.m., outdoor seating, a food truck and live music. Overflow parking is allowed in the Tip’s Hardware lot across the street.

In explaining the brewing process with regard to wastewater, Tucker testified he would brew one to three times per week and that the current sewer is sufficient to handle the brewing process plus customer use.

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At its January meeting, the land use board discussed the importance of curbs and sidewalks, and agreed an applicant’s claim of a financial hardship is not a determining factor for the board, nor a valid reason to waive the requirement. Certain exceptional or logistical circumstances may arise to warrant a waiver, such as in the brewery’s case, but, by and large, “it’s the desire of the town to have (curbs and sidewalks),” Mayor Michael Pasternak said. “I don’t want to see any pedestrian get hit in our town.”

Deputy Mayor Nick Sommaripa raised the issue of Eagleswood’s long-term goal to improve the look of the Route 9 corridor between Mama Maria’s Pizzeria and the downtown area.

“That corridor is more important than we think,” the mayor agreed. “That’s people’s impression of Eagleswood.” Vacant properties and boarded-up buildings are not the image the town wants to project.

Along similar lines, also underway is an aggressive enforcement effort to clean up the marshlands surrounding both Dock Roads. “We want to do the right thing, be a good steward (of the environment),” he said.

— Victoria Ford

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