It's not uncommon for a garage band to dream of fame and fortune, but what about a garage brewery? It's not out of the realm of possibility for CoStar Brewing, which for the past year has been producing small batches of increasingly popular beer.
After four years of homebrewing, Dominic Cincotta and Jeff Hanna were getting a lot of praise from friends. "Of course, most homebrewers get praise from their friends," Cincotta says. However, after asking several bartenders to sample their brew and getting an equally positive reaction, they decided to go pro (a decision made, fittingly, over beers at the William Penn Tavern).
Instead of opting for a traditional brewhouse, they converted a two-car garage in Highland Park into a licensed brewery. It took about two years to get the building up to code. All four members of the CoStar team — Cincotta and Hanna, along with Hanna's wife, Caitlyn, and brother Thomas — work full-time jobs. So brewing happens in Saturday sessions that can last up to 12 hours, and produce only a single barrel of beer.
The company's flagship beer is Hopland Park, an American pale ale spiced with Cascade and Northern Brewers hops. There is also a rotation of styles; currently a Black IPA and a Belgian ale are featured.
Because output is limited, the brewers limit sales to just a few bars. There's a permanent CoStar tap at Harvard & Highland, while UP Modern Kitchen has a steady supply. The beer can also often be found at Gus's, William Penn Tavern, Mad Mex Shadyside and a few other locations. Cincotta says to check the company's website (www.costarbrewing.com) for updated tap lists.
As with every successful garage band, there comes a time to move out of the house. Cincotta says he's been scouting locations, and plans are underway to move into a larger space, likely in about a year. "More places are interested than we can supply," he says. "Our challenge is not having enough supply due to our size."