1940s Brewing Company Taps Kegs of Nostalgia

L. to R.: Jon Brengel and Charlie Becker.

Evoking the golden age of brewing when beer sales boomed after Prohibition was repealed and Brooklyn-brewed Rheingold was a top-seller is 1940s Brewing Company in Holbrook, which is expanding to meet demand.

One of Long Island’s fastest-growing craft breweries, 1940s was founded by Charlie Becker and named as a tribute to his father, Walter Becker, who graduated from the U.S. Brewers’ Academy in 1940 before joining Liebmann’s Brewery in Bushwick, where he brewed Rheingold until it closed in 1976.

“I grew up as a Yankees fan,” says Charlie, whose great-grandfather was also a brewer, “but Rheingold was our beer even though it was the official beer of the Mets.” 

After retiring a decade ago, Charlie continued his family’s brewing tradition at home with his daughter, then joined a homebrew club, where he connected with Jon Brengel, who’s been 1940s’ head brewer since the two launched the company in 2014.

“We hit it off and made some great beers together,” said Becker. “It has been a terrific partnership.” 

After raising more than $16,000 on Kickstarter, they set up shop in a 4,000-square-foot industrial space. Last month they celebrated their fourth anniversary. The partners now plan to expand production.  

“We purchased a new 10-barrel brewing system to replace our old 5-barrel system,” says Becker, “and with the addition of new fermenters, our total production capacity will more than double to 85 barrels.”  

The beer lineup at 1940s reflects Becker’s German heritage, with offerings such as Hefie Injustice, a hefeweizen, Bohemia Blonde, and 1940s Lager, the brewery’s take on an old-school lager like Rheingold.  

IPAs are also well represented, including three New England-style hazy IPAs Just Tap it In, Wicked Chowdah, and In Bloom while dark-beer lovers will appreciate Snap Crackle Porter and two sinfully good stouts, Sinners Mass, and Imperial Confession.   

Popular summer seasonal beers include Signal 8 Summer Wheat Beer and Sapphire Squeeze Blueberry Ale, which is one of the brewery’s biggest sellers. In October, the brewery will have its popular fall seasonal beers on tap, including Effen Pumpkin Ale and Gute Zeiten German for good times a traditional German-style Marzen beer.  

And with all that German heritage running through its beers, 1940s makes for an ideal place to say “Prost” (cheers) this Oktoberfest. 

1940s Brewing Company is located at 1337 Lincoln Ave. in Holbrook.  For more info visit 1940sbrewingcompany.com.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.