red bank, nj, red tank, microbrewery, john arcaraJohn Arcara in the newly completed, 100-seat Red Tank Brewing microbrewery earlier this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


retail churn smallTwo years from dream to reality, Red Tank Brewing is set to open in the heart of Red Bank Thursday night, the start of a new venture for wedding photographers John and Lovina Arcara.

It may also be the start of a fresh wave of craft suds in town.

Red Tank sells its beer in bottles and cans, and is already on tap at Teak and the Molly Pitcher Inn. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

red bank, nj, red tank brewingWith a gleaming array of beermaking equipment, and exposed-brick walls, the microwbrewery takes over the space long owned and occupied by the ARC of Monmouth nonprofit thrift shop.

The open, 4,500-square-foot interior features a bar; tables and seating for up to 100 patrons; a lounge with upholstered sofas alongside the production area; and even a play zone for kids, said John Arcara, a father of three — two of whom were busy applying Red Tank stickers to tap pulls as he led redbankgreen on a tour this week.

Noting the hundreds of square feet of weathered wood covering the underside of the peaked roof, Arcara said “we knocked on some lady’s door in Freehold and bought her barn off her.”

Beer lovers will be able to buy flights of four beers, at four ounces per flight, for on-premise consumption, along with food they bring in themselves. Growlers and crowlers of Red Tank brews will be available for sale.

Those beers will reflect a farm-to-table ethos, mixing ingredients from as nearby as Colts Neck with others from Germany and Belgium to create distinctive quaffs, Arcara said.

The 20-barrel brewhouse will rotate new beers weekly, using recipes by Arcara or the shop’s brewmaster, Adam Young. Among them: a Belgian dubbel already available on tap across the street, at Teak restaurant, and at the Molly Pitcher Inn.

Arcara expects Red Tank to attract beer aficionados as well as “somebody who just needs a table for a meeting.”

Arcara’s journey began with an interest in making beer that took hold just a few years ago, and he speaks of it as though it’s only natural that such an interest would lead to a commercial venture. In his case, reaching the finish line involved working flat-out for some 24 months while keeping his “punk rock wedding photography” business going.

Two years ago, with the backing of family members, he started planning the brewery, he said. After winning approval for the plan from the borough without the need for any variances in July, 2017, the Arcaras bought the building for $773,000 a year ago through a limited liability company.

Along the way, the couple gave up the space they rented at 64 Broad Street for the photo business and scaled back bookings to about 20 a year, from a peak of 85, he said.

“I’ve  been here every day,” he said. “It was a lot of blood and sweat.”

Still, he said, “I’m a photographer. I just own a brewery.”

Located next door to the newly expanded Jamian’s Food and Drink, Red Tank is the first of a string of brew operations planned for Red Bank, joining the long-established Birravino on Riverside Avenue.

Adam Rechnitz’s long-awaited brewpub Triumph Brewing Company is set to open on Bridge Avenue this month, according to an answer to a question posted online two days ago.

Another, unnamed microbrew project, eyed for 42 Monmouth Street, is making its way through the zoning board; originally scheduled for Thursday night, the next hearing been pushed back to December 6 at the applicant’s request, according to a board notice.

Yet another microbrewery plan was announced 14 months ago, for the former firehouse on White Street; its status is unknown.

In Arcara’s view, the more the better, as the clustering of beerhouses turns the town into a destination for craft beer fans. In fact, he said, he’s gotten help from other microbrewers in town.

“In this business, everybody wants to help each other, trading grains and hops,” he said. “It’s a nice, close-knit community.”

Red Tank plans to be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; from 12 to 9 on Saturday; and 2 to 6 on Sunday.