We were warned about the wings.
"They're really spicy," our Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen bartender said when we ordered, looking back not disapprovingly but in a way where you could tell she was serious.
I like killer hot stuff; store-bought sauce is rarely spicy enough, and I grow habaneros in my garden. But believe me when I tell you the hot version (they make two) of Brato's duck fat Nashville hot wings is seriously, lip-burningly spicy. Extra napkins were ordered. Hiccups were suppressed.
"It's fried and then tossed in a really well thought out rub in a little bit of duck fat," says chef and cofounder Jonathan Gilman. "It helps it preserve its crispiness on the outside while staying juicy in the middle."
The dish is just one of the food and drink options available at Brato, a Brighton spot that opened in October. Here's what you need to know about the restaurant and brewery.
STORY: Gilman and cofounder Alex Corona met at Cambridge Brewing Co., where Gilman ran the food side and Corona made the beer. The duo started Brato as a mobile business in 2017, popping up at 15 Boston-area breweries a total of 400 times in two-plus years.
EAT: The wings, house-made pickles, and grilled cheese.
"There's a duality to it," Gilman says of the food menu. "We like to think of it as approachable, something that you recognize like a sausage, grilled cheese, pickle, or a beer. But it also has some depth, something for people who are looking for a little more involved experience."
Depth comes from the fact that Brato makes its own sourdough, for example, incorporating spent grain from the brewing process. That bread is used for each of the six grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu, including one with blue cheese, fig jam, and bacon.
"It gives us a pretty unique bread, one that you can't really buy anywhere else," says Gilman.
Get one of the brats, too. There are four, but the classic Brato bratwurst, with pickled vegetables and beer mustard, is my favorite. And do get the wings, though maybe stick to the medium.
DRINK: Small pours, of everything.
Visiting breweries in Denver influenced Corona and Gilman to offer 5-ounce versions of each of their beers.
"I like the idea that you're not really boxed into four specific ones like with a flight," says Gilman. "What if you really wanna try three of them? Or five? And I used to always appreciate the option to take a splash more of beer."
Standouts here include Brato y Brato, a Belgian-style table beer, and Stay Afloat, a citrusy wheat beer. Foam on the Range, a West Coast-style IPA, is a piney brew that harkens back to the early 2010s, when IPAs were dark and bitter.
Currently, Brato is not making beer onsite, owing to a delay in utility hookups used to power up the brewing equipment. In the meantime, Brato is partnering with breweries like Bone Up, Night Shift, Idle Hands, and Cambridge Brewing Co. to make its brews.
"We started doing food at everybody else's spot, and now we're doing beer at everybody else's spot," says Gilman. "It's sort of fitting, but we're ready to move forward and get our stuff online."
Brato hopes to eventually fill 12 draft lines, including one each for nitro cold brew and kombucha.
LOCATION AND HOURS: 190 North Beacon St., Brighton. Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.