Customers can once again get a beer at the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, but they can’t order food or hang out on the patio that offers a clear view of the downtown skyline.
The popular restaurant and brewery in the Boylan Heights neighborhood closed in February after a leaky sprinkler line caused a load-bearing basement wall to collapse.
Late last month the brewery reopened, and the hours are from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
But the kitchen and patio remain closed as crews work to shore up the building’s structure, said owner Andrew Leager. They are expected to reopen in six to eight weeks.
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After the wall collapsed, Leager had hoped to reopen quickly, so he stored between 8,000 and 9,000 pints of beer in the restaurant’s cold room. Nearly nine months have passed, but he said the beer is still good.
“It tastes fresh and tastes like beer should,” he said.
Leager said being open for limited hours allows the Boylan Bridge Brewpub to bring in some much-needed cash. The building’s owner hasn’t been charging rent, he said, but he has to keep the lights on and pay someone to staff the place.
“We’ve got overhead expenses that don’t go away,” he said.
Construction crews have peeled back the roof and are making good progress on rebuilding the wall, Leager said. The repairs have given the carpenter and architect time to reconfigure the brew house, so there will now be enough space for a special-events room.
Leager also plans to build a new fireplace on the patio.
Soon, Leager said, he will likely start looking for a new brewer. The former brewer left the day after the collapse for a job in Wilmington.
Leager said the reopening will also allow him to move forward on plans to start building barrels at the brewery by the end of the year, and open a distillery in 2017.
Even though it’s been a tough year for the Boylan Bridge Brewpub, Leager said he’s excited that his business will be back up and running at full steam soon.
“We’ve had a strong outpouring of concern ever since we closed,” he said. “And it will be nice to welcome everybody back.”
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi