Well, in a move that’s caught us off guard, Silver Spring’s Astro Lab Brewing will close at the end of the month. The brewery opened in the fall of 2018 and quickly became one of the better hazy IPA producers in the area, thanks in no small part to co-owner/head brewer and New Zealand native Matt Cronin’s use of that country’s hops. He was among the first to hand select Freestyle Hops in the area. Earlier this year some of those hops went into Artemis V IPA, a collaboration brewed with our own Jordan Harvey. Astro Lab also hosted our March beer share.
The brewery will be replaced by Third Hill Brewing, which will take over the space, the equipment, and the lease. Third Hill’s website was updated on May 11, noting:
“We are excited to be moving into our new home at 8216 Georgia Ave. and planning to open this June.
It’s the current home of Astro Lab Brewing and we have to say ‘see you later’ to some great people.
Our good friends at Astro Lab Brewing are closing their doors at the end May…. We are honored and grateful that Matt and Emma chose to work with us, and we are privileged to move in after them. They have been so supportive throughout this whole process to get where are now, we can’t thank them enough!“
You’ll see fellow co-owner Emma Whelan at McGinty’s, a few blocks away, and Cronin intends to stay in the beer industry. Losing a brewery will hopefully be offset by gaining one. As the press release below states, this isn’t a 5-year lease issue, and while the pandemic is always a factor, this is more about business owners who are ready to move on and took care to find another brewing tenant for 8216 George Avenue. Please join us in wishing Emma and Matt well, and let’s send Astro Lab out with a bang.
We don’t know much about Third Hill beyond what’s on the website. Founder Jason Sliter began homebrewing in 2015 and has decided to go pro. We celebrate Astro Lab, and look forward to what comes next. A press release follows.
May 11, 2023
The Astro Lab story began almost eight years ago. Supported by friends and family, we planned and planned and planned, and finally we opened this brewery during the fall of 2018. Over the four and a half years that followed, Astro Lab would become far more than just a business. Our staff, thoughtful and passionate, turned into family. The taproom transformed into a gathering place for regulars and Lab Rats and a weekly run club. We felt the warmth of community, both within downtown Silver Spring and across the DMV’s vibrant brewing scene. So, it is with heavy hearts – but also deep gratitude and an immense optimism for what will follow in our wake – that we announce that Astro Lab will be closing at the end of May.
Was this an easy decision? Yeah nah, as Matt would say. As with a lot of businesses, the pandemic kicked us in the butt. Astro Lab has been sustained to the present day by the love of patrons, bars, and retailers – and we’ll eternally be grateful for that – but our long-term vision was challenged by new economic realities, and our plans for expansion and growth were perpetually pushed to another day. The past year has been a labor of love, to be sure. Matt has produced our beer mostly on his own. Emma has pretty much lived in the taproom. We’ve made it work – with a lot of help, understanding and patience, especially from our families. Meanwhile, we’ve been exploring numerous avenues for how to continue forward, as Astro Lab or otherwise. Ultimately, we were introduced to Jason Sliter, who was searching for a space to launch Third Hill Brewing Co. It felt like the right fit. As tough as all of this is, we’re happy knowing that 8216 Georgia Ave. will continue to be a home for new and exciting beers. We can’t wait to try them.
But, look, we still have three more weeks of Astro Lab. Let’s have some fun. Let’s celebrate the memories we’ve made and create some new ones. We’ll be open our regular hours. We’ll continue canning and serving the freshest Fresh As. Kid Fresh Pale Ale is on the way, as well as our final brew, named Astro Lab, which will feature a symphony of Nectaron, Galaxy, Codename Peacharine, and Nelson Sauvin hops. We want to end on a high note – and we hope to do it with you.
After that, Emma will be taking the summer off to spend time with her family, then focusing on the other family business. Matt will continue to apply his creativity and deft hands in the brewing industry, and he’s excited about the new opportunities that await. We’re also exploring options for our staff, some of whom have been with us since this very beginning, to retain employment at Third Hill, so you may see some familiar faces when that beer project opens.
Again, we just want to say thank you for investing your time and friendship with us. We’re so proud of what we did together. It’s been a blast.