Two and half years ago, Mike and Chelsea Ziolkowski had a vision. Like many young couples, they wanted to start a business, incorporating something they were passionate about. Unlike most typical businesses though, they wanted to open a brewery. This passion began when several years ago, Chelsea’s brother gave Mike a 1 gallon home brewing kit for Christmas. Mike admits that the first batch was absolutely terrible. But this did not deter him for long, and eventually he really got into the process of brewing, first with kit batches and then by designing his own recipes.
So when the Ziolkowski’s decided they wanted to take this passion and turn it into a business, they looked around for a town that would be a good fit with their vision. They wanted to be in the middle of a busy town, not in a warehouse district. Furthermore, they felt that it was essential to their business for the brewery to be part of the community and involved with the locals.
“Our mission statement is that we are BEER + COMMUNITY.” After researching several different towns, they visited Bradley Beach and Chelsea fell in love. The location on Main Street was perfect for their vision and the Bradley Brew Project was born.
Construction and opening took longer than expected, but eventually Chelsea’s designs and Mike’s brews were ready to go. Opening day was a huge success and the brewery has been busy ever since.
“We have 4-year-old twin girls and we wanted every person who walks into our doors to feel welcome and comfortable. That’s why we designed the space the way we did. There are low tables, room for strollers, and crayons. It’s a cool place to hang out and talk to your neighbors. It was very important for us for the brewery to be light and airy, feeling more like a coffee shop almost. We really want the beer to be secondary to the experience,” says Chelsea of the space.
While the experience of walking through the brewery and sitting at a table or the bar is really lovely, the beer itself is definitely a highlight. Mike wants the beers to be “inspired and approachable” and that is why all their beers are inspired by stories. The couple takes much inspiration from their daughters, naming their beers after funny things their girls have said. They are not interested in making typical lagers, and are always experimenting with new ingredients such as grilled peaches or buckwheat for gluten free beer.
Currently on tap is their hazy pale ale called “Unicorn Girls,” their pilsner called “This is Hard but Making Beer is Fun!”, their IPA called “Can I Put the Hops In?,” and their stout called “Cleaning, Doing Laundry or Making Beer.” They also have new beers on rotation every week. For hours and more information, visit bradleybrew.com or stop in at 714 Main Street Bradley Beach, NJ.