The massive beer hall in Victor celebrates a Valentine's Day grand opening
VICTOR — Having driven by the New York Beer Project building a few times during the last few weeks, Tevin Tallons of Rochester was excited for the massive beer garden to open.
What he wasn’t expecting was just how large the interior of the two-story, 15,000-square-foot structure is and just how large the menu of beer and food items was to choose from, he said.
“They did a nice job with it,” Tallons said Tuesday night, enjoying a NYBP’s Hyperjuice Belgian pale ale during a VIP launch party in advance of the public grand opening at 11 a.m. Thursday.
This is the second New York Beer Project location for owners Kevin and Kelly Krupski. The original, which is in Lockport, opened four years ago.
The Victor location is modeled after the opulent Atlantic Garden Beer Hall in New York City in 1871 — down to the chandeliers, grand staircase and chestnut trees that adorn the spacious interior. At that time, women could only drink beer in a beer hall at communal tables and kids were able to drink the beer then because it was safer to drink than the water, Kelly Krupski said.
There are communal tables, but kids — well, no beer until you’re 21. But there is plenty to eat in a family atmosphere.
“It was a place where community could gather, so we thought, ‘What a wonderful idea,’” Kelly said.
Inspired by New York history, the Krupskis learned about the skilled European artisans who had come to America and worked on the beer gardens of the time while researching ideas for their project.
Some of that artistry is depicted in the panels that line the staircase. Each of beer’s ingredients — hops, water, yeast and barley — is represented.
“Everybody’s ancestors maybe went through and had a pint at this beautiful beer garden,” Kelly Krupski said. “Rather than just create something out of the ordinary, let’s re-create living history. It was fun to do.”
And it’s a reminder that yes, there is beer here (the 5-barrel brewhouse in a large communal area also serves as a reminder), and in many varieties, including seasonal beers, IPAs, and collaborations such as the Panda Paws Porter, a peanut butter porter. The Victor lager was debuted Tuesday night.
Jake Calabrese, who has visited the Lockport location several times, had at the Buckleberry wheat beer.
“I love it, absolutely love it,” Calabrese said. “I’ve had a good amount of their beer, and I haven’t found one I don’t like yet.”
Mary Ellen Merle, of Dansville, who works for the general contractor on the project, Genesee Construction, was sampling the Super Funk sour beer while admiring the structure.
“Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful spaces we’ve done,” Merle said.
The owners said they plan to split time between the two locations until Victor is up and running. They have hired about 160 people to help not only with serving people, but they all know the stories behind the history of the beer garden.
“It’s a great feeling to finally open our doors and let people come in and enjoy what we’ve put together,” Kevin Krupski said.
Victor Supervisor Jack Marren said he had visited the site once before, but only while it was under construction. He said he is excited not only for the town, but for Ontario County and the Finger Lakes region that now have a new destination for visitors to enjoy.
“This is unbelievable,” Marren said.