There is a pair of dragons on Brato’s logo for a reason. The newest establishment in Allston styles itself as a dual threat, a one-two punch of beer and food. And it’s a knockout.
Jonathan Gilman and Alex Corona opened Brato Brewhouse and Kitchen on Oct. 26. The two men first met while working at Cambridge Brewing company, Gilman as a chef and Corona as a home-brewer turned professional. Brato has been a work in progress for the last couple of years, as the two ran a micro equity crowdfunding campaign, did 400 pop-ups across the city of Boston, and crafted their flavors—food and drink alike, trying to carve out a space for themselves.
What’s surprising, however, is that the other breweries helped them do it.
“We’d go into different breweries and sell our food there and sort of develop the brand and get it out there, we popped up at over 15 different breweries in the area and they were all extremely cooperative, helpful,” Gilman said. “Without them, we definitely wouldn’t have made it.”
Gilman is right. In fact, without these other breweries, Brato would still be struggling. Brato has been waiting since before it opened for National Grid to hook up their gas. So far, no luck, so they have been unable to brew beer on the premises. Again, they turned to the companies that, in theory, are their competitors, for help brewing their own beers.
“In the meantime, we’re now using tanks at every other brewery to produce our beer,” Gilman said. “It’s unlike any other industry where instead of everyone trying to fight over their section of the market share, it’s like everyone’s teaming up to make the market share larger.”
Thankfully, this current situation has had no effect on the quality of their beer. I tried two: Evelyn and Blue Bin. Both were delicious. The former is a Zwickel-style lager, which is clean and light, almost airy. It’s extremely easy to drink. The latter is a hazy IPA, which is full of orange flavors and a hint of pine (although I couldn’t tell if I was just reading the suggested tasting notes and tricking myself—if the pine is there, it’s faint). Brato has five other beers on tap, as well as a robust non-alcoholic drink menu, featuring beverages like coffee, kombucha, shrub, switchel, and iced tea.
While beer aficionados will feel right at home, Brato is going for a dualistic approach (hence the dragons).
“We want to be a place that people can identify with and come to that’s not pretentious, a place that’s sort of meant to be fun. Dualism is a really big thing here where we have something that’s approachable like grilled cheese and sausages, but also really engaging to some of the beer nerds out there and the food nerds that want to be intrigued by the dish,” Gilman said.
While I didn’t try the sausage, Brato has apparently created the perfect menu of food to pair with beer. I started with the aptly named jar of pickles. The pickles, served in a mason jar, were delightfully cold and refreshingly crisp. They also had taste other than just brine, you could tell that this green spear in your hand was once a cucumber.
I also tried the grilled cheese flight, which featured a quarter of each of Brato’s four grilled cheeses: Vermont Cheddar Pimento; Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese; Mozzarella and Pesto Grilled Cheese; and Gouda, Bacon, and Apple Butter Grilled Cheese. All of them were delicious. The sourdough bread was chewy and flavorful, the cheese gooey but not greasy, the flavors all very well paired. And, it went great with beer.
If all of this isn’t enough to convince you to try Brato, the brewery has one more ace in the hole. It’s surprisingly cheap.
“There’s not a thing on our menu that’s over $12,” Gilman said. “For the most part what we want people to feel is value. So if you were trying to come in and have a couple beers and a grilled cheese, you get out of her for about $21-22.”
This is a great boon for a brewery that’s only about 10 minutes away from Boston College. I’ll certainly be coming back.
Featured Images by Jacob Schick / Heights Editor