ByJUNE 15, 2017
When Celeste Beatty brewed her first batch of beer, she found her vocation.
She loved the process and the smell of the boiling barley. It reminded her of cooking soup with her mother in the South as a child.
Ms. Beatty’s beer journey began in her apartment near Marcus Garvey Park nearly two decades ago, after a friend gave her a home-brewing kit. She began hosting brewing sessions in her living room, teaching the craft to her family and friends.
Beer became an “interesting platform for me to bring those people together and enjoy a great beer and have dialogue,” said Ms. Beatty, 53, who has lived in Harlem for 25 years. She turned her passion into a business, the Harlem Brewing Company, 16 years ago.
Ms. Beatty has since developed recipes rooted in Harlem’s history. Her Sugar Hill Golden Pale Ale is made with locally grown hops. Another Harlem Brewing Company original, Renaissance Wit, pays homage to a beer that Alexander Hamilton brewed on his 32-acre estate in what is now Hamilton Heights.
“What I liked about it was that every culture of the world pretty much has a brewing tradition of some sort,” Ms. Beatty said. “It has the ability to bring people together around the conversation.”
“If you want to run your business, if you want to advance your ideas, your community, whatever your interests are,” she said, “you have to go outside your comfort zone.”
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