Evil Twin, the boundary-pushing brewery known for its culinary collaborations and aggressive flavors, has been around for the better part of a decade, making beer on a contract or “gypsy” basis at locations throughout Europe and the U.S. But the itinerant brewery never had a brick-and-mortar to call its own. This week, Evil Twin opened a taproom in the Ridgewood section of Queens—a glass-and-steel structure fabricated by the Texas Greenhouse Company. It pops against the neighborhood’s blue-collar brick warehouses, dingy motels and auto body garages.
“There’s not much around here,” says Evil Twin proprietor Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø about his new neighborhood. “We’re going to turn [the taproom] into an all-day place, open from 7 in the morning until after midnight—a community gathering place.”
The opening marks a new phase in Evil Twin’s development. What started as a small homespun operation in Copenhagen has blossomed into a 20-tap, 90-seat jungle-like space in New York City. When Jarnit-Bjergsø, an energetic and sharp-witted entrepreneur, first moved to the U.S. in 2012 with his wife and business partner, Maria, it was to found famed beer bar Tørst in Greenpoint. In the intervening years, his portfolio has expanded to include some of the world’s most outrageous beers (Big Money Stout brewed with frozen pizza and American cash) as well as collaborations with lauded restaurants (Mission Chinese, Blanca).
“Most of what we’ll do here will be hazies and pastry stouts,” says Jarnit-Bjergsø, “But 75 percent of the beer I drink at home is Belgian tripels.” The style, revered by industry types, has long been out of favor with trendy drinkers. The new brewery won’t curb his contract brewing productions (with Westbrook, in South Carolina, and Two Roads, in Connecticut), which currently enjoy near-nationwide distribution and have helped make Evil Twin a household name, but it will allow him to open Evil Twin up to a wider range of styles, including crowd-pleasers, which he hopes will in turn attract a local clientele who might not be familiar with craft beer.
“I’m dedicated to having at least four lagers on draft here at all times,” says Jarnit-Bjergsø. He’ll still be experimenting for his own pleasure and curiosity, but the gesture is a neighborly overture. “I don’t care if people sit here and don’t even know they’re drinking Evil Twin,” he says. “I just want them to enjoy the experience. You have to reach out to the normal people.”