Brian Quinn thought being one of New York’s Bravest was the best damn gig in the world, even after he became a TV star — but he has something new brewing.
Better known as “Q” on truTV’s hit hidden-camera buddy comedy “Impractical Jokers,” the 43-year-old is reviving a “dead brewery” in his hometown of Staten Island.
“First and foremost, I love beer, and if there’s one job that’s more fun than being on TV or being a firefighter, it’s gotta be making beer,” says Quinn, who served for seven years at FDNY Ladder Company 86/Engine 166 in his native borough.
“Looking back, since I turned 21, some of the best — and a few of the worst — moments in my life involved beer,” he tells The Post. “Creating something that makes me think of hanging out with my friends? That felt like the most natural thing in the world.”
Founded by “two German dudes” in 1870, Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company was a vital part of a once hopping industry in the Stapleton area of SI. Ravaged by an exploded boiler and flaming beer barrels in 1878 — newspapers of the time reported firefighters imbibed “fine lager” while battling the blazes — it rebuilt and thrived through the turn of the century. R&H even turned a profit with “near beer” during Prohibition and resumed bottling premium brewskies in 1933 until shuttering in 1963.
When the “fire hazard” that produced “beer that could hold a pencil straight up in its head” was eventually demolished, “there were full-grown men standing in the middle of the street crying,” says historian Patricia M. Salmon, author of “Staten Island’s Brewery Barons.”
Stash those hankies: Quinn is reintroducing R&H to the public with three signature beers at a launch party Sept. 21 in the Tap Room of Flagship Brewing Company on SI.
During a traffic-jammed drive to the set of “Impractical Jokers,” which is currently filming its eighth season but already renewed for a ninth, this bear of a guy gets unabashedly sentimental about his love of beer — and his borough.
“I just love Staten Island so much — I’ll never leave it,” says Quinn, who still lives in Great Kills on the South shore. “Melding Staten Island history with making beer has been a dream come true.”
Quinn’s words will surely resonate with Islanders who are reveling in its increasingly trendy eats and drinks after decades of being dubbed the “Forgotten Borough.”
As one R&H fan quoted in a 1967 piece titled “When Beer Made Island Famous” for the Staten Island Advance put it: “A lot of people have the idea that anything made on Staten Island can’t be any good. [But] my grandmother always said it was more nourishing than soda, so I had a glass of it every night with dinner.”
Kegs and cans of R&H will be rolling out in the NYC beer scene at bars and restaurants starting Sept. 23. Oh, and Quinn assures suds snobs this is no one-off celebrity-endorsement gimmick.
“No way, when I retire from ‘Jokers’ — I wanna be running R&H,” he tells The Post.
R&H’s Chief Operating Officer, Cara Gordon, takes us on a tour of the debut trio crafted under the expert guidance of Amanda Jones, a “certified cicerone” from Brooklyn:
R&H Pilsner: Crisp, clean and clear. This pilsner is hop forward; highlighting herbal and citrus varietals on the nose and finishing with a grainy sweetness to balance this sessionable, bright pilsner. Perfect for enjoying while talking smack to your dopey friends.
R&H IPA: Old world meets West Coast (of Staten Island). This serenely balanced IPA takes American and experimental hops and pairs them with English and German malts for a tangy, tropical, biscuity mouth bomb. Is there anything better than a good mouth bomb?
R&H Amber: Decadent malt accentuated with rich tones of toasty toffee and sweet caramel. Finished with delicate Northwest hops for a crushable ruby red finish. If anybody asks what you’re drinking, just repeat all that guff with the malt and toffee and the caramel. You’ll look like you know what you’re doing in life.
The Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company launch party runs from noon to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in the Tap Room at the Flagship Brewing Company, 40 Minthorne St. in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island. Reserve tickets at RubsamandHorrmann.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Joe Papeo
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