When Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland launched their beer company Talea in 2019, they worked with a contract-brewer in the Bronx who executed their recipes. Without a brick-and-mortar location to call their own, it was a more affordable system that allowed them to experiment and find an audience for their beers. They self-distributed and delivered orders on their own, and soon, their cans began popping up at supermarkets and stores throughout New York City with names like “Tart Deco,” “Secret Password,” “Blackberry Crush,” and “Lunch Date” on their signature geometric, bright branding.
But on March 12, the duo — who met at the beer start-up Hopsy — will open the doors on their own Williamsburg brewery and taproom. It’s a sprawling 9,000-square-foot space with the taproom filling nearly a third of the business. It’s located at 87 Richardson Street, conveniently right off of McCarren Park. Talea, which gets its name from the combination of the founders’ names, intends to be an all-day, multifunctional space. When it opens daily at 8 a.m., there will be coffee by Partners and pastries from Bien Cuit in the morning. Talea’s beer menu will also include snacks (including charcuterie and cheese boards) as well as a roster of wines from North Fork vineyards in Long Island at night. Indoor and sidewalk seating will be available with an expanded outdoor section to come.
In the last year or so, Hankinson and Darland have come to be known for their fruit-forward, tart, and hazy pours, with tasting notes that range from “passion fruit slurpy” to mango lassi. The new space will have 11 beers on tap, and Talea will also offer tasting flights so that customers can get a sense of the range of beers offered. “We’ve always had the hypothesis that people who hate beer haven’t tried beers like hazy IPAs that are very tropical, and instead think of beers as having to be bitter,’’ says Darland. “Sure enough, many people say they’ve never really tasted anything like ours.”
Each season the duo will test out new flavors. “Our ABV ranges from 5.2 to 8 percent — and, not to say we won’t stray outside those boundaries, but we want to keep it light and create an environment of discovery and approachability,” says Hankinson, who has also worked with Brooklyn Winery and Wölffer Estate in the past. If guests want to take the experience home, they can purchase a 4-pack or a crowlers, as well as to-go beers and wines in cups.
New York City has many taprooms to pick from: Grimm Artisanal Ales, Other Half Brewing, and Evil Twin Brewing, among others. But Talea hopes to set itself apart as a women- and veteran-run business in an otherwise dude-dominated market. In an interview with the beer publication October in last year, the team described the patronizing experience of trying to get male investors on board. “They then had a discussion in front of me — as if I weren’t there — and they decided [women don’t drink as much beer] because beer makes women feel bloated. At that point I knew the discussion wasn’t worth my time,” says Darland of the experience. But while the beer brand is woman-owned, the duo wants to be clear that they hope it’s an experience for anyone of age.
Team Talea’s vision for the space also sets it apart from other taprooms. Small aesthetic details like tiles from Brooklyn ceramicist Helen Levi help set the tone. “The perception of most beer bars is that they are more industrial with dark wood tones; we tried to create a color palette that’s meant to be welcoming, gender-neutral, elegant, and thoughtful,” says Darland. “We hope it’s the kind of place where you can use it differently throughout the week: where you can bring your kids, where you can go either after work, or to get away from your home office and overall not feel rushed.”