By Jerry Del Priore
New York City is home to several top-notch breweries, from Brooklyn to Long Island City, Queens, and every magnificent borough in between, you’ll drink some of the finest and unique suds known to man.
If you’re looking for a break from the standard bar with ordinary beers, the below breweries will give you a new-found respect for brews and the wonderful brew making process.
Brooklyn Brewery – 79 N 11 Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Located in the hipster haven of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Brewery has become some sort of New York City culture iconic paradise. If you’re like the rest of beer-guzzling enthusiasts (even if you’re just a casual part of the brew crew), this is a must-visit for drinking some of the best local and non-local suds and craft selections around town.
You can indulge in tap drafts, which include the celebrated Brooklyn Lager, Escape Goat and Brooklyn Oktoberfest, in its loud but fun tasting room, great for a gathering of your dearest jolly group of chums.
Also, there’s the Bel Air Sour, a pleasant change-of-pace beer with a touch of tartness without assaulting your taste buds.
Are you in the mood for something with a little more punch? Well, try the delicious Russian Imperial Black Chocolate Stout (10% Alcohol By Value/ABV), and the Better Angles, a Sour – Flanders Oud Bruin (9.6% ABV).
Since the Brooklyn Brewery offers small batch brewery tours, you are pretty much guaranteed to sip on some of the finest, fresh suds available anywhere in the city.
LIC Beer Project – 39-28 23rd Street, Long Island City, Queens
Specializing in Belgian-style and mixed-fermentation brews, this Long Island City brewery and taproom features an assortment of saisons, kolsches and house-made IPAs (Kingsguard and Cannon) on tap.
Once a warehouse, now a local suds-slinging Queens hotspot, LIC Beer Project is anything but a project. Enjoyment is first and foremost at this fun, rustic, family friendly, relaxed vibe establishment.
Also, you can play its giant Uno card game while downing other IPAs, such as the Imperial Mosaic Double IPA, and its celebrated IPS, Piles of Crown, which is put out on Coronation Day, for the extra regal feeling. Hail, Hail, my royal peeps.
But if you’re feeling a tad less than royalty, try LIC Beer Project’s Drop A Gem – an Imperial IPA with a touch of citrus peel flavor to go along with a heavy hops taste. Or its Manhattanhenge – an IPA with a hoppy bitterness to it.
Circa Brewing Co. – 141 Lawrence Street, Downtown Brooklyn, N.Y
Circa Brewing Co., located in Downtown, Brooklyn, offers the perfect combination of beer and pizza. Yes, what is better than that, you ask? Well, not much, in my opinion.
One of the best things about Circa Brewing Co. is the brewing process is visible to the public, as the suds are tossed about in striking stainless-steel vats – an almost hypnotic experience, or is it the effects of the beer? Who knows? But you’ll enjoy downing brews such as the Dry Irish Stout (4.5% ABV), the Peach Wheat (4.9 ABV), the Doppelsticke (8.7% ABV) and the Belgian Golden Strong (8.9% ABV), all of which are first-rate beers.
Plus, Circa Brewing Co. offers an extensive delicious menu, with burgers and a host of amazing pizzas (’62 Hawaii – maple bourbon ham, charred pineapple, mozzarella, aged provolone, black salt, and the Boys Got Heat – spicy Italian sausage, tomato, roasted pepper, fontina, mozzarella, parmigiano Reggiano), all sure to leave you full and inebriated.
Are you looking for veggie options? I know, crazy, but the cauliflower steak is crazy delicious.
Coney Island Brewing Company features craft beer and craft hard soda that are inspired by the spirit and flavors of the historic Brooklyn neighborhood of Coney Island.
This hidden gem of a place is in an area known for its great attractions: Luna Park amusement park, Nathan’s Famous Franks, a great ballpark in MCU Park, and a wonderful aquarium.
But make no mistake, the Coney Island Brewery Company is reason alone to visit the region.
As for the beers, there’s the Mermaid Pilsner, the phenomenal Cinnamon Toast Crunch Klosch, and Watermelon – all of which are tasty, quality brews.
Plus, seasonal suds such as the Blueberry Boo-Liner (Berliner Weisse – ABV: 5.5 %), Count Flocula (Kolsch – ABV: 5.5 %) and Freakoberfest (Pumpkin Ale – ABV: 6.2%)
If you like to try something different, there’s the deliciously Hard Root Beer soda. But don’t forget to drink to your heart’s content on Coney Island Brewing Company’s charming patio while playing with its giant Jenga set.
The Bronx Brewery – 856 E. 136th Street, Bronx, N.Y.
In a borough known for the New York Yankees, there’s another reason to visit “Da Bronx” – the Bronx Brewery.
Opened in 2011, its motto of “Grit – Drive – Union” has inspired the Bronx Brewery to produce some of the finest, no-nonsense craft brews in Gotham.
From to the Well-Earned Pilsner to the Where You Stand – a Berliner Weisse with cucumber and Basil, the Bronx Brewery won’t dissatisfy your hard-to-please taste buds.
Maximize your stay in the Boogie Down by kicking back with a few year-round fantastic, frothy draft selections in its on site wonderful tap-room. Among the brilliant liquid barley and hops choices are the Bronx Brewhouse’s No Resolutions IPA – American, Bronx American Pale Ale and the IPA Slow Your Roll (Session/India Session Ale).
Additionally, try some of the Bronx Brewery’s sensational seasonal choices, such as the IPA Crystal Whipped and the Summer IPA – brewed with lemon peel.
Staten Island Beer Company – 20 Kinsey Place, Staten Island, N.Y.
I know what you’re thinking: why would anyone want to go to Staten Island? Sure, most New Yorkers treat Staten Island like NYC’s redheaded stepchild. But how else would you visit one of Metropolis’ best, newer beer houses – Staten Island Beer Company?
It’s truly a tucked away jewel, situated near the Goethals Bridge, with a selection of awesome brews made to be had.
For instance, there are 11 different beers on tap, from IPAs and red ales to saisons and stouts, all in a friendly, relaxed ambiance, with games, a popcorn machine and free water. Those are more than enough reasons to frequent the brewery in the borough to the southernmost point of NYC.
As for the boozy main attractions, there’s the Victory Blvd American Pale Ale (5.4 % ABV) – a Pale Ale brewed with the finest caramel and pale ale malts that give this beautiful brew its bright amber glow, not to mention a flowery, citrusy taste.
Additionally, Staten Island Beer Company features top Kolsch-style (German beer brewed in the city of Cologne) suds. Plus, the Kool Herc – a tropical mango stout, Oktoberfest, and a beer made with lime and jalapeno.
Flagship Brewery Co. – 40 Minthorne Street, Tompkinsville, Staten Island
Located just a half of mile from the Staten Island Ferry, the Flagship Brewery Co. is quickly becoming a go-to brew spot for beer enthusiasts and beer novices all over Staten Island, as well as the rest of the Big Apple.
And for good reasons, as the Flagship Brewery Co. sports numerous quality beers, including its signature APA – an American Pale Ale (6.2 % ABV) somewhere between an IPA and a Pale Ale as far as the hop flavor and hop bitterness goes.
Flagship Brewery Co.’s head brewer will go as far as calling it a “work of art.” Not bad praise at all, albeit a little bias. But still worth a sip or two for your taste buds and precious beer palate.
Other phenomenal suds include its IPA, Summer Ale, Dark Mild, Roggenfest, Van Dam, Wicked Staten Island Pale Ale, and the Kill Van Kolsch.
Fifth Hammer Brewing – 10-28 46th Ave., Long Island City, Queens
Fifth Hammer Brewing is a 15-barrel unassuming brewery located in Hunters Point, Long Island City.
Sure, it may not look like much as you first enter the place through a large garage door (open on warm days), but it’s a great spot for a brewery, with plenty of tables, seating, soaring ceilings, and a chill, relaxed vibe felt throughout.
FHB features several awesome IPAs, such as the Savvy Seamare – an oat sessions IPA with a fruity kick to it thanks to its zesty orange, pear and melon notes.
Additionally, there’s the Poglodyte Sour – an American sour with passion fruit, guava and blood orange added to the brewery’s base sour for an absolute flavorful bomb.
Need something a little more full-bodied? Well, then try the Ilene Porter – a classic dark ale with smooth, dark chocolate, perfect for brisker, cooler days.
Plus, there’s the Feathershark (8.8 % ABV) – an Imperial IPA featuring Wakatu, Mosaic, Amarillo and Azacca hops, all combining to produce a fantastic brew with tropical fruit succulence underlaid with hints of floral and citrus zest.
Rockaway Brewing Company – 46-01 5th Street, Long Island City, Queens and 415 Beach 72nd, Arverne, NY
While entering Rockaway Brewing Company, you can’t help but notice its causal, tranquil beach atmosphere; it’s almost as if you stepped into a beach vacation spot. Well, almost.
Fitting in with its beach island vibe (the owners are surfers from Far Rockaway, Queens), RBC sports beers called the Aqua Melon (5.5% ABV) – a Pale Ale brewed with watermelon and Simcoe hops for a consistent, not-too-sweet flavor, and the Rockaway IPA (6.2 % ABV) – a must-try brew with hints of pineapple and papaya.
In addition, there’s the Original ESB (6.4 % ABV) – RBC’s flagship suds, which is malty and sweet, and the 1875 Pale Ale (6.0% ABV) – a citrusy Pale Ale brewed with Amarillo hops, and delivers notes of grapefruit goodness.
Don’t forget the Nitro Black Gold Stout (5.6% ABV) – a dry Irish Stout, chock full of chocolate and espresso notes, served from a nitrogen tap for a creamy finish. That’s enough to keep your Irish eyes smiling for days!
Plus, it’s dog friendly for you pooch-loving beer drinkers. But please don’t share with Fido and Spot.
Transmitter Brewing – 53-02 11th Street, Long Island City, Queens
A departure from the normal brewery, Transmitter Brewing specializes in Farmhouse style ales, with a focus on French- and Belgian-style suds and barrel-aged sours. So, there aren’t any IPAs. And if you’re looking for draft selections, you’ll be out of luck, just cans and bottles on hand.
But don’t let that dissuade you, as there is an ample variety of interesting and uniquely outrageous beers from which to choose at this out-of-the-way, tucked away jewel.
There’s the W1 Grapefruit (5.1% ABV) – a special grapefruit wit (Belgian white) crafted with a blend of rye, pilsner malt and white wheat, which adds spicy notes to the coriander, black pepper and grapefruit peel. And the W3 – a phenomenal Belgian-style hibiscus orange wit, with a bright citrus flavor from the orange peel and hop addendums.
Don’t forget the F7 (5.2% ABV) – a sour farmhouse ale, with a gentle tartness, accented with a lemon/lime taste and fermented with 100% brettanomyces, a non-spore forming genus of yeast. Yes, I hear that does produce a better taste, but what do I know?
Finally, there are the PH6 (5.1 %) – a sour ale made with mango, and the PH1 – a dry hopped sour ale with subtle pine and lemon/lime flavors.
A fringe benefit: the staff is absolutely amazing and knowledge, accentuating your one-of-a-kind beer voyage.