Blackadder Brewing Company’s Chris Hart Talks History and Inspiration
Chris Hart dreamed of “resurrecting the neighborhood pub.” Some of his fondest memories from his trips around Europe with his wife, Sissy, involve sitting by the fire in a cozy local pub, admiring the vintage decorations on the walls and sharing a beer or two while unwinding from a long day of sightseeing.
Today, Hart, a longtime home brewing enthusiast, sells his beer and hosts laid-back gatherings at Gainesville’s newest brewery, Blackadder Brewing Company.
“It’s the neighborhood pub,” he says. “This is where you come and relax and bring your family. You get cozy. You get intimate. You get people who want to talk to each other and have conversations or play games.”
Since the brewery’s grand opening in April, it carries six original beers, several guest beers, two wines, two ciders and two sodas.
Tudor-inspired décor and Belgian-style beer provide an Old-World atmosphere that makes Blackadder Brewing Company unique among Gainesville’s staple breweries. A dart board adorns one of the walls, an Atari console is set up in a corner and board games are available to guests.
“Blackadder,” the British period sitcom from the 1980s, inspired the name of the brewery and its logo of a dagger with a snake wrapped around it. Hart also named some of his original beers after characters of the series.
Since the brewery’s grand opening in April, it carries six original beers: Not A Lime Ginger Soda (a lime ginger saison with agave nectar), The Shadow (a Belgian stout), The Jerkmaker (a pale German Weizenbock), Queenie (a biscuity Belgian amber), Date Night (a Belgian Quadrupel with raw date sugar) and Lord Flashheart’s Golden Ale (an easy-drinking Belgian Blonde).
In addition, it offers several guest beers, two wines, two ciders— a gluten-free alternative to beer— and two sodas. There is no food menu, but guests are encouraged to bring their dinner or enjoy food truck visits on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“It’s the neighborhood pub.”
Located at 618 NW 60th St., Blackadder Brewing Company brings beer to Newberry Road while keeping an appropriate distance from Gainesville’s other staple breweries— First Magnitude Brewing Company, Swamp Head Brewery and Alligator Brewing.
Nonetheless, Hart says he has a good relationship with his fellow brewers and recalls times when the owners of First Magnitude helped him by lending him their keg washer and giving him advice on the legal aspect of establishing his own business.
“They’re fantastic,” he says.
Hart’s first time making beer was in Micanopy in 1993, but home brewing became more of a hobby to him around 2003, when he bought better equipment and started producing 10-gallon batches.
By 2009, he made his family room into a small pub, where his friends and neighbors gathered to enjoy his beer. The decorations and atmosphere resembled those of Blackadder Brewing so much that when it opened, they told him, “Oh, you just made it bigger,” he says.
Hart worked with Hoggetown Ale Works for several years, making monthly recipes and teaching people how to brew at home. He has met other local beer enthusiasts through their memberships with The Hogtown Brewers.
The knowledge he acquired there and his collaboration with fellow brewers allowed him to overcome equipment-related issues and finally move his project from his home to his pub, he says. “It was just the right time because it happened when it did.”