There are 26 garden gnomes hidden around Resurgence Brewing Company’s taproom. Or maybe there are 30.
Head brewer and self-proclaimed “beer monkey” Dave Collins hasn’t bothered to count – he’s happy to go with what people have told him.
“They just show up,” he said, laughing. “One day they’re not here and the next day they’re here.”
[PHOTO GALLERY: Bar Tab: Resurgence Brewing Co.]
Collins suspects his members of the staff are hiding the gnomes. “I have a bead on who it is,” he said, “but nobody is owning up to it.”
The airy taproom and beer garden complete with fire pit and giant Jenga-like sets have become synonymous with Buffalo’s beer renaissance.
Housed in a building on Niagara Street that was once a warehouse, there is a laid-back and spacious feel to the bar, even when the long tables and benches are filled with people drinking and sharing finger foods.
When the weather is nice, the staff opens the large door that leads to a small patio and down a few steps to the beer garden where people take their drinks to play cornhole or sit by the fire pit after the sun sets.
But for those who think of the brewery’s most famous styles such as Sponge Candy Stout and Loganberry Wit and say “been there, drank that,” Resurgence has a few more quirks in the form of a Kottbusser, R&D IPA or Hibiscus Saison.
The amber colored Kottbusser went nearly extinct 500 years ago when brewers in Germany stopped making beer with ingredients other than malt, water, hops and whatever yeast naturally fermented the beer.
Collins, who knows of only one other brewery in the United States that makes this beer, tries to brew it the way they did more than 500 years ago using barley, wheat, oats, honey and molasses.
“Once I sent the wort into the fermenter and pitched the yeast in, I didn’t control the fermentation temperature,” he explained, “so I just let it free rise and ferment however it was going to ferment.”
For those who favor hoppy beers over sweeter ones, Resurgence has a series of R&D IPAs where Collins and his team have the opportunity to play with the recipes and see what happens. Those that turn out exceptionally well, such as Citmo IPA made with citron and mosaic hops, are given an official name and added to the list of the brewery’s regulars.
To keep the beer list fresh, Resurgence hosts a quarterly event called Kegs and Eggs where its regular brews are put aside in favor of small batches of Collins’ latest creations. (The next event is 11 a.m. July 30.)
“We put on usually 8 to 10 experimental beers that are all super weird,” Collins said “and then if something is good we make it all again on the bigger system.”
This allows Collins and his team to continue to brew up new and unconventional flavors and keeps the brewery’s regulars alert, just as Collins is with those nagging gnomes.