Richard Ootjers, Owner of Station 1280 and Thom Morrell are about to start up Antwerp’s first craft brewery in the centre of the city.
They plan to launch Uncharted Brew Co. in Antwerp’s Oudaan area at the Winkelcentrum, a small shopping centre known locally as the “beehive” for its hexagonal pattern and which sits at the base of Antwerp’s police headquarters.
That’s where Station 1280 moved to from the city’s central railway station in October 2020. The bottle shop and taproom had outgrown the cramped quarters at Antwerpen-Centraal, Ootjers said in an interview with the Beer Idiots.
At Oudaan, Ootjers now has more space, and a terrace where drinkers can hang out and perhaps even listen to some music in the open area.
And then there is the idea for the brewery in the space next door. He joined up with Morrell, who homebrews as BRWBRD, to create Uncharted Brew Co., which they expect to open in June this year.
“We both love to discover, brew and share craft beer. We adore the wonderfully passionate Antwerp craft beer community, its amazing pubs, fantastic festivals and ever-growing community of colourful beer geeks,” they said in announcing the plan for the new brewery. “But we also discovered a shared ambition to one day start a craft brewery/taproom in the centre of our beloved city.”
Ootjers, who is Dutch, focuses on British beers at the bottle shop, but Covid-19 and Brexit has restricted his supply and he has expanded his offerings more to beer from other countries, such as the Netherlands, and France.
He’s doing “fine”, even though one week after he reopened at the current location, the second Belgian shutdown began. But with the enclosed square outside his shop, craft beer drinkers have found a place to gather and have a drink or two.