In recent years small breweries have been popping up all over the state, but Passaic County is one area that is lacking. That is about to change later this year when Ghost Hawk Brewing Company opens in Clifton. With Silk City Distillery next door and the famous Rutt’s Hut across the street, Passaic County’s first brewery will be located in a prime spot.
I recently sat down with Clifton native and co-founder of Ghost Hawk Brewing, Steve Bauer, to discuss his plans for the brewery and how it came to be more than just a dream.
About 6 years ago Steve set out to open a brewery with a friend who made her own home brews. The idea of Big Grizzly Brewing Company never made it off the ground, but Steve rolled part of that idea into his clothing company named Grzly. Although Grzly was successful, that dream of a brewery never faded. Then in June of last year Steve was talking to his friend Tom Rachelski, also a Clifton native and now co-founder of Ghost Hawk Brewing, who was looking for a business to invest in. Originally wanting to invest in Grzly, they decided the brewery was a much better investment. Through networking with friends they met veteran Brewmaster Chris Sheehan and the plan was put in motion. Chris is a Brewmaster with many years of experience and several medals from the Great American Beer Festival.
The name Ghost Hawk was born out of a tribute to Steve’s late brother, Dan. As kids, their father used to take them hiking and camping and they would often spot hawks. Steve and Dan always had a great respect for the predatory bird and even as adults they went to a bird center and held hawks together. Upon Dan’s passing, Steve started to see a hawk in situations where it was not expected and took it as a sign that Dan was watching over him. He then decided Ghost Hawk would be the perfect name for the brewery and Tom agreed.
What types of beer can you expect from Ghost Hawk? According to Steve there will be 4 mainstays which will consist of an Indian Pale Ale, a Stout, a Lager and an American Wheat. They will rotate small batches of specialty and seasonal selections on their other taps. Some of these specialty beers will be in collaboration with their neighbors, Silk City Distillery, so expect to see some barrel aged beers on tap in the future. Ghost Hawk will pay homage to New Jersey and to Clifton, naming specialty beers after landmarks and legends in the area.
Steve is also a big supporter of local artists and he plans to incorporate that into the brewery. There will be rotating gallery displays from local artists. Ghost Hawk also hopes to host some musical performances as well.
They are projected to open in late Fall and the tasting room will be open to the public Wednesday- Sunday.
For more information, check out www.ghosthawkbrewing.com and be sure to follow on social media for updates:
Ghost Hawk Brewing Company
321 River Road Unit #6
Clifton, NJ 07014
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