Do you know that feeling of nostalgia – when you go somewhere or see something and just remember exactly where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with at that time in your life? When we walked into Departed Soles Brewery for the first time, that feeling hit hard. With vivid art adorning the walls and throwback music from your yesteryears (think ‘90s hip hop and ‘00s alt + emo music on the airways), the story of Departed Soles Brewery is deep and soulful. Here’s more about this gem of a brewhouse in Jersey City, and all the fun they have on a regular basis:
When best friends Brian Kulbacki + Chris Ward came up with the idea to start a brewery (after realizing that there was life beyond Natty Light and college parties), they were determined to get something up and running.
Chris, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease was looking for a way to throw back a few beers with his buddies without the painful aftermath. This hair-brained scheme came to be known as “Dead Man’s Brewing Company.”
Brian told HG about his heartbreak when his best friend + business partner, Chris Ward tragically passed away in a car accident. “After that, brewing gluten-free beer became my thing,” explains Kulbacki, heartfully. And after some convincing and fire lighting from his parents and buddy, Rob, Kulbacki began his journey towards opening up a brewery (+ we are so glad he did).
Brian explains that it is “by no stretch of the imagination a bar.” There is no outside food or beer sold at the brewery, just Departed Soles products, however, Kulbacki and his crew do totally encourage guests to support the neighborhood restaurants and bring in outside food to enjoy.
The tasting room is open five days a week and welcomes guests to take a tour, sample beers, kick back with friends, or pick up some bevs to go. Kulbacki’s mission is to provide a space where friends can make memories — in memory of his own best friend.
The locals supporting locals vibe that Departed Soles gives off as contagious, that’s for sure. Case-in-point: The brewery works in tandem with many neighborhood businesses to host pretty unique collabs.
From Yoga + Beer with James Calleo (the first and third Wednesday of every month) or live music nights with musicians like Mike Buscio, Departed Soles is making some fun events happen on the reg. Not to be forgotten is the brewery’s White Stout paired with brioche doughnuts (in collaboration with Montclair Bread — oh, we see you).
In addition to the throwback playlist, the brewery has a ton of board and arcade games for all its guests to enjoy. Did we mention that it’s DOG-FRIENDLY? Puppies, brews, gluten-free beers + #DefinitelyNotGlutenFree beers — what else could you possibly need? Departed Soles not only has gluten-free options but vegan ones, as well. It’s the only brewery in the area to do this and Brian and Chris are super proud of that.
What is totally unique about this brewery is that they have quite the lineup of gluten-free beers (six to be exact). In addition to those, its menu features well-crafted traditional ales and lagers (ambers, session stouts, blondes, kolsch, saisons, pilsners — you get the point). So, whatever your preference is, there is something for you to sip on.
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Each beer is specially designed from the name to the label, to the taste + ingredients. We are loving on the original names such as Rick Rolled-Oat, a coffee stout made in collab with the Departed Soles’ buddies at Modcup Coffee, Ghost of Pumpkins Passed, and a P13R seasonal brew. While Brian loves all of his “children” equally, he is especially stoked for the brewery’s newest IPA, AutoHops, and will be using that as the role model for any future IPAs they produce.
If you are in the area (or even if you are not), pay a visit to our friends at Departed Soles Brewery. There is no doubt that you are in for a good time. You can also be sure to find Departed Soles beers at local bars in the Hoboken and JC area and beyond — because, well, DUH.
The atmosphere is super chilled out, and the people there cool + down to earth. And anything that involves dogs and drinking is good in our book. Be sure to check out the kickoff Departed Soles’ new sour beer right before Valentine’s Day and its Montclair Bread Company collaboration brew, Doughnut Soles. If that isn’t enough of a reason to go, then we’re not sure what else is.