Building Description Quinnipiac Brewery, New Haven Connecticut

The Quinnipiac Brewery is a large complex of brick buildings located on some 2.5 acres in the Fair Haven section of New Haven. In addition to the imposing six-story Romanesque Revival brew house, the site includes several attached structures, an office building, and a bottling plant. Except for the bottling plant, located directly across East Pearl Street from the rest of the complex, the brewery occupies an irregularly shaped block bounded south by River Street, east by East Pearl Street, north by Chapel Street, west by Houston Street, and southwest by Ferry Street. On three sides of this block stands a brick perimeter wall, this wall formed one side of the extensive stables which housed delivery wagons and teams. The wood-frame parts of the stables are the only element of the brewery complex which no longer stands. The oldest part of the brewery dates from 1882, with important additions in the mid-1890's, 1903, and 1916.

The part of Fair Haven in which the brewery is located is a tongue of land Surrounded by water on three sides: Mill River to the west, New Haven Harbor to the south, and Quinnipiac River, which is visible from the brewery, to the east. Since the mid-19th century, this area has been a diverse industrial and commercial district. In addition to various warehouses, the area once had a street-railway repair facility, one of Connecticut's largest oyster firms, and the Bigelow Company's boiler works, of which only the latter now stands. Neighboring residential tracts include houses from various periods; none are directly connected with the brewery.

Nineteenth-century industrial-scale breweries like Quinnipiac Brewery used materials-handling equipment and brewing vessels much different in size and composition than those of earlier times. Yet the brewing process itself remained essentially unchanged from antiquity to the period represented by this plant. In simple terms, the process consists of "malting" grain (usually barley), by allowing germination and then arresting further germination by heating; mixing malt and water to create "wort;" boiling the wort with hops to impart a slightly bitter taste; and then adding yeast to start fermentation. When fermentation is complete, the beer is racked, or stored to allow sediment to settle out. Then it is aged in kegs and finally, packaged for market either in bottles or smaller kegs. Variations in this process include the use of additives such as sugar, corn, rice, or other grains; and changing the duration of the malting, with longer periods yielding a darker, fuller-bodied product.

Although using the standard mill construction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, brick bearing walls with interior framing of cast iron posts and wood or metal beams, Quinnipiac Brewery reflects the particular requirements of the brewing process. The six-story height of the brew house was necessary both to accommodate the large brewing vats and to provide for the gravity-aided movement of bulk materials. A 1917 insurance map reveals that the top two floors of the brew house provided ingredient storage, with each successively lower level accommodating brewing operations in descending order: malting, wort mixing, boiling with hops, and pumping to the fermentation area. The racking and storage areas also reflect specific process-related design constraints: vaulted brick ceilings to Support unusually heavy floor loadings, insulated brick walls, and reduced window space to assist refrigeration.

Brew House (1882)
The 1882 brew house is six stories high and approximately 70' x 35' in plan. Its north and south elevations are hidden by subsequent additions. The east elevation has three segmental-arched window openings with stone sills at each level. Corner pilasters are found only on the top two stories, indicating the raising of the building from its earlier four-story height. The west side is similar, although the corner pilasters have recessed panels near the top, and a large copper-roofed bay window, rectangular in plan, lights the north half of the third story. The building's cornice consists of wide bands of brick separated by three courses of corbelling. The roof is shallow-pitched, with its ridge running east and west; there is a small gable-roofed monitor in the center.

An engraving published in 1892 depicts the brew house in its original four-story configuration. Its functional elements, the height, the monitor, the chimney to the right of the south elevation, were already in place, but there were no stylistic embellishments. Those would be added along with the ornate new south facade in 1896 (see below), and would follow the scheme of architect Leoni Robinson.

Inside, the brew house's framing features cast-iron posts, steel beams, and timber roof trusses. Floors resemble those found throughout the plant, and are probably not original: they consist of concrete slabs formed around wire mesh. The west end of the brew house held the kettles where the wort was boiled and hopped. The kettles, which have been removed, were two stories tall, with a platform between them from which the boiling could be observed. Shallow brick arches, reinforced with steel at the springing points, formed the ceilings of the kettle chambers. Remaining in each chamber is the steel framework which supported the kettle. A round passage, extending upward to the fifth floor, enters the north chamber at its northwest corner and probably served to conduct ingredients downward into the kettle. The only other remaining process-related element in this building is a partially disassembled screw conveyor, remnants of a once extenSive system of materials handling. Portions of the conveyor which remain consist of a cast-iron body and a sheet-metal, helical screw on a steel shaft, which was driven by a chain-sprocket at one end.

South Facade
The 1896 addition to the south side of the brew house provides the chief architectural focus of the brewery. Designed by Leoni Robinson, it is in the Romanesque Revival style and features round-arched windows, elaborate corbelling, and other surface-texture effects. Although essentially a false front, filling in a triangular space between the earlier brew house and the line of River Street, it had a functional purpose as well: it housed an elevator, a stairway to the brewery's upper floors, and a bucket conveyor for raising grain to the top stories. The added facade hampered the brewery's shipping system by blocking rail access, Robinson solved this problem by providing for huge openings on the south and west walls of the addition, allowing rail cars to pass through the corner of the building.

The 1892 facade is divided into two unequal portions. The narrower east or right-hand portion has a pair of windows at each level, with those on the first story having a round-arched shape and others rectangular. The west portion has a group of three round-arched windows above the large railway opening, with the upper floors each having three rectangular openings. The floor levels on the facade do not correspond to those of the brewery behind it: the facade appears to be three tall stories high, with the center part of the left portion carried up another story. The roof of the addition is flat except for the shallow-pitched gable roof over the tallest part. Floor levels are delineated by combinations of brownstone banding and brick dentils. Other textural effects include brownstone quoins, banding on the first story, and tablets below the second and fourth-story windows; courses of brick dentils below window sills and outlining the round-arched window heads; recessed panels in the brickwork above the topmost tier of windows; and long cornice corbels. The dentillated copper cornice is a recent replica.

West Wing
The west wing, about 210' x 50' in plan, extends at right angles from the rear of the 1882 brew house. As a two-story wing, it was probably part of the original brewery, but its appearance changed dramatically in the 1890's when the western part of the wing was extended and given a mansard roof and a four-story belltower. (The original appearance of the wing, plain wall surfaces, 2-story with low-pitched roof, can be gleaned from the 1892 engraving.) In 1903 the eastern part of the wing, which extends across the rear of the brew house to East Pearl Street, was raised to four tall stories with a flat roof. The wing accommodated hops and malt storage on the top floor, the fermenting department on the third floor, and cold storage on the lower stories. The refrigerated cold storage areas feature thick stucco walls built of hollow-core thermal brick, heavy cork-insulated doors, and series of pipe hangers around the rooms. The basement interior of the west wing has a brick-vaulted ceiling resting on a series of brick arches.

The west elevation of the wing is the second most decorative part of the complex. The tower which rises from the center of the elevation has a modern freight entrance on the first level, an arcade of three blind round-arched openings on the second story, a Single large opening on the third, a belfry with three arched openings on each side, and a steep pyramidal roof. The tower's cornice consists of deeply corbelled brick-work, with sheet-metal modillions and moldings. Other decorative features include a brownstone and terra-cotta stringcourse between the first two stories and brownstone keyblocks in the tower's arched openings. Most of the windows in this part have been bricked in. The main cornice of the building is similar to the tower's.

The four-story east part of the wing has a series of segmental-arched openings at each level on its south elevation. The west side lacks windows, as does the east except for a single tier at the top. The cornice is similar to that on the western portion. An elevator tower is located at the junction of the three-story western part and the four-story eastern part of the wing; it formerly had a pyramidal roof.

1903 Rear Addition
Because of other additions, only the ends of the 1903 extension across the rear of the brewery are visible. The east elevation of this two-story extension has segmental-arched openings and stone sills. On the second floor, above the north doorway, is a three-part round-arched window. Above this window, the upper portion of the wall has collapsed and part of the roof has fallen down. Elsewhere a low parapet with tile coping conceals the remains of the flat roof. The cornice features two string courses and a soldier course below simple corbelling. The west elevation has three small windows in the upper story.

The extension housed refrigerated storage, as well as the brewery's machine Shop on the second floor. The refrigeration machines were housed in a 25' wide partitioned area at the east end of the extension, the room is a full two stories high and has a tiled floor. Remnants of piping can be seen in passages beneath the level of the floor. The walls of the refrigerated portions are like those of the earlier wing described above.

Boiler House
The boiler house runs along the east side of the 1882 brew house and is one story high and a single bay deep. Pilasters divide its east elevation into four bays, each containing three round-arched windows with brownstone sills, keystones, and impost blocks. Because of the Slope of the land, the basement story is exposed at the southern end, where there are rectangular windows with splayed brick lintels. Brick stringcourses and simple corbelling embellish the cornice.

Wash House
The wash house is one tall story high and 160' x 90' in plan; its roof is nearly flat. Erected about 1916, it abuts the north wall of the 1903 addition and continues northward to Chapel Street. Its cornice, windows, and other details are similar to those on the boiler house. A stepped parapet with battlements sits atop the north end, where the building forms an oblique angle to the line of Chapel Street. The interior of this part, which held the washing operations for cleaning re-usable kegs, is unpartitioned and has posts, beams, and roof trusses of riveted steel members. The wash house includes at its southeast corner a second, later boilerhouse. Occupying four bays on East Pearl Street, it is taller than the rest of the addition but incorporates the same cornice and window treatments.

Rear Addition
The last part of the complex to be built, this one-story addition has a concrete foundation, plain brick walls, simple segmental-arched openings, and no cornice elaboration. There is a large freight opening on the west side with a truck loading dock inside. Timber posts and trusses support the shallow-pitched roof, which has three large skylights.

Office Building
The office building has two parts, an original section built in the early 1880s. and an addition to the west erected in 1890. The earlier building is quite small, only two bays wide, and one and a half stories high with a slate-shingled gable roof. The south or street-facing side contains a window and a door, both with segmental-arched heads formed of terra cotta bricks with rounded corners and deSigns in relief. The single attic light is round-arched in shape. The cornice forms a partial return and features terra cotta banding in a Greek key design. The two-story addition forms an oblique angle as it follows the line of Ferry Street. Window openings are round-arched, with wooden fans filling the arches of the second-floor openings. Ornamental features include terra cotta panels above the second-floor windows and terra cotta cornice modillions and pearl moldings. The flat roof is hidden by a parapet with tile coping.

Perimeter Wall
A brick wall about 12' high extends along Ferry Street from the northern end of the office addition and continues around the corners to run along Houston and Chapel Streets, ending some thirty feet away from the northern extremity of the main brewery building. The wall went up in stages in the 1890S and 1900s. Originally, it formed the street-side elevation of frame stables; the wall also served to block access to the brewery yard except through gates at the north and south ends of the block. Irregularly placed openings, including two doors, interrupt the wall surface. Originally segmental-arched, most of the openings have been re-worked with brick or cinderblock, flattening the lintels and reducing the size of the openings. The street side of the wall is now finished with yellow-painted stucco. Terra cotta coping appears along the top of the wall.

Bottling Building
The 1916 bottling building is one-story high at its north end and west side, and two stories at the south end and rear, where the ground slopes downward. The facade, or west elevation, uses brick pier construction, with pilasters dividing the wall into eight bays. Most bays contain three round-arched windows, with rough-textured brownstone used for sills, keystones, and impost blocks. The sharing of imposts creates an arcade effect within bays. Most windows are boarded up or painted over; sash is a mixture of small-pane wooden and metal windows in various configurations. The two southernmost bays of the facade have large loading doors, and there is an entrance in the third bay north. The cornice decoration consists of a row of deep. corbels, with a stepped parapet over the center two bays. Rear and side elevations are simpler than the facade, with segmental-arched openings. Several of the window openings have been blocked up, and others remodeled into garage-door openings. There are stepped parapets along the north and south sides of the flat roof, which has a wide monitor extending nearly its entire length.

Quinnipiac Brewery, New Haven Connecticut