DANSVILLE — The new brewery in the village is getting all the buzz on Battle Street.
On April 18 there was a program on Battle Street Brewery at the North Dansville Town Hall, followed by a tour of the brewery itself.
The Dansville and Mount Morris Depot got its humble beginnings in 1871. It was a basic, all wooden structure with some stone foundation. It had a large basement. There was a wooden shingle roof.
Battle Street Brewery Co-Owner Doug Acomb walked through the process of taking the old depot and making it great again.
“It was an amazingly solid building. My brother (Thomas Acomb) and I were amazed there was no water damage. All of the water pooled to the middle of the building, and was in the basement. For the last 50 years the water has collected there, and was about three feet deep. The foundation is rock solid.”
Dansville and Mount Morris Depot did some remodeling in 1924 to account for passengers. A passenger lounge was extended, and the offices were renovated. The Doodlebug was a common passenger train from 1917 until 1937. The last service was 1939.
“Bob (Hart) saved every pay stub on the place. He had pay stubs, time cards, freight tickets, and old photos,” Acomb said. “They were all in bundles with rubber bands or still in huge boxes.
“The depot was originally used as a freight warehouse. We think passengers came in one door for their tickets, and the freight came in the other door,” Acomb continued. “They sat in the lounge, and then went out the door to the train. The sides were dug so deep that we think they were able to roll the cargo right into the basement.”
The roof remains crooked, but has better shingles and is stable. The windows had to be redone, since the cost to restore the old ones was nearly $2,000 each. There are 42 windows total. The old doors were turned into beautiful tables that are in the tasting room.
“It was all done out of wood because that is what was plentiful back then,” Acomb said. “When the wood rotted they would just pour some concrete over the hole. We had to stabilize the building first, because of all the freezing and thawing over 50 years. We wanted to save as much of the old building as we could. We wanted to keep it all local with local labor, and have a seven barrel brewhouse.”
“I have lived here my whole life, so it was very easy for me to make a phone call and get everyone on board,” Acomb continued. “The whole goal was to save the building. We wanted to make it fun and unique.”
There were so many different kinds of wood and floors in the building over the years, and a lot of it had to be fixed up. It appears that through the course of the depot’s history everyone was putting bandaids on the problem, and going about their business.
Basically whatever could be saved of the old depot was refurbished into something else, or used for display with the museum-like-structure.
“Our brewhouse has stainless steel barrels, so that it is a lot easier to clean. We have a food service environment, so we had to deal with the health department,” Acomb said. “We didn’t want any untreated material.”
There is a vintage railroad feel as you enter Battle Street Brewery, and that was all done on purpose.
“We asked for vintage suitcases, and had a ton of them showing up from Dansville residents,” Acomb said. “We have old railroad photos right from the Hart Family photo albums. We have old newspaper clippings and photos that we have turned into collages.”
The Battle Street Brewery sign outside of the building is very significant to the Acomb brothers.
“The 1947 Chevy Truck was my dad’s truck he left on Sandy Hill, and it had trees growing out of it,” Acomb said. “My cousin Dennis (Boore) tore it apart and made the sign out of it. The truck is wired to come on at night.”
Battle Street Brewery is part of the New York State Farm Brew, so they need to follow certain guidelines. They have purchased another building to eventually store grains and hops. Right now they have just what they need to get by.
They also have wines and cider for those who are not beer drinkers.
Battle Street Brewery is located at 4 Battle Street in Dansville. They are open Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. They have flatbread pizzas, chicken wings, and soft pretzels. On May 19 from 2 until close they will have different events and a grand opening for the Dansville Dogwood Festival.