The Best Breweries in NYC

Spend a few days in NYC barreling through the beers of the boroughs.

Over the last 20 or so years, residential transformations in previously industrial neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens have led to dozens of bar and brewhouse openings in these communities. While young beer drinkers started migrating to these neighborhoods, craft breweries in the United States multiplied as well, from some 1,500 in 2007 to more than 6,700 a decade later. Today, more than 35 beer companies are now spread across New York’s five boroughs. Here are some of the best.

Brew HOP: Brooklyn

Brooklyn Brewery, in Williamsburg, has been bottling its world-famous Brooklyn Lager and pouring it from the draft in its taproom since 1988. Nearby Grimm Artisanal Ales, founded in 2013, just opened its airy taproom in July. Also in Williamsburg is Interboro Spirits & Ales, the only beer brewery in NYC that also distills, barrels and serves housemade whiskey on-site.

Other Half Brewing Co.

Sixpoint Brewery has been a part of the resurgence of Red Hook since 2004. In neighboring Carroll Gardens, you’ll find one of NYC’s most touted and nationally distributed craft operations, Other Half Brewing Co., which pours its limited-edition, specialty IPAs from the tap and in colorful 16-oz. cans; and the three-barrel-production, family-run Folksbier Brauerei, where house-brewed Bavarian-style lagers, ales and wheat beers flow in high volume in September and October for Oktoberfest. 

Five Boroughs Brewing Co.

In Sunset Park, you’ll find the impressive Industry City, a 35-acre commercial waterfront space, home to three beer breweries and the only sake brewery in New York State, Brooklyn Kura. Inside the brand-new taproom, the Brooklyn harvested and brewed sake is meant to be enjoyed in a stem glass at room temperature or lightly chilled. Also in Industry City are Lineup Brewing, owned and operated by head brewer Katarina Martinez, and, right next door, Wartega Brewing, with its fruit-forward ales and housemade, barrel-aged coffee. The spacious Five Boroughs Brewing Co., also in Industry City, touts its citrusy, West Coast-style IPA and a Czech-hopped pilsner. 

Coney Island Brewing Company, on the Coney Island boardwalk, established itself as the world’s smallest commercial brewery when it opened a bottling facility and taproom in 2007, expanding to a larger space in 2015.

Founder Brandon Douglas working with rice to create sake at Brooklyn Kura

BREW HOP: QUEENS

Transmitter Brewing in Long Island City is known for Belgian and French-style farmhouse ales. Nearby LIC Beer Project pours its often-rotating IPA selection in a small, cozy space with frequent live music. Rockaway Brewing Co., also in Long Island City, has a tasting room and is two blocks from the beach, while Fifth Hammer Brewing Co. is a 15-barrel operation: Both breweries are open nightly. Another LIC gem, Big aLICe Brewing, has a variety of witbiers, IPAs and dark, malty brews. 

Big aLICe Brewing

Bordering LIC is Astoria, where you’ll find Singlecut Beersmiths, a veteran of the Queens beer scene, serving hoppy, fruit-forward beers in a space with regular live musical performances. 

Finback Brewery

In Glendale, Finback Brewery makes some of the best IPAs the Northeast U.S. has to offer. This year, Queens Brewery owner Nelson Rockefeller opened his gargantuan space in Ridgewood, where he also slings house-brewed gourmet coffee from a take-out window in the mornings. Two blocks away, the microbrew Bridge and Tunnel Brewery uses a 10-barrel system to pump out small batches of creative brews, such as a chipotle porter and a hazelnut brown ale. Denmark-born Mikkeller Brewing Co. opened its first East Coast U.S. location inside Citi Field, home of the New York Mets Major League Baseball club, just in time for the 2018 baseball season. The space features 60 beers on tap and rotates its own brews alongside limited-edition beers by local craft heavyweights.

Employees enjoy a beer after a day’s work at Bronx Brewery.

BREW HOP: THE BRONX

One of the most commercially successful breweries NYC has ever spawned sits in Mott Haven. Open nightly, Bronx Brewery pours its year-round and seasonal beers alongside specialty brews inside a taproom or in a colorful backyard. Farther into the heart of the Bronx, Gun Hill Brewing Company pours 14 housemade brews on tap.

BREW HOP: STATEN ISLAND

Flagship Brewing Co. boasts a slogan that pokes fun at the brewery’s locale: “Unforgettable beer in the forgotten borough.” The waterside Tompkinsville staple offers brewery tours and a taproom concert series. Kills Boro Brewing Co., the newest of Staten Island’s three hop-havens, pours its 14 craft brews on tap, many of them unusual (e.g., guava and vanilla bean sour ale). Tiny, family-run Staten Island Beer Company, is a brewpub with a cozy backyard and 11 housemade beers on tap.

BREW HOP: MANHATTAN

The best breweries on Manhattan Island don’t have taprooms (yet). Radiant Pig, a tiny operation with a highly touted amber ale called Gangster Duck, has been selling its 16-oz. cans throughout NYC since 2012. The Lower East Side-born Alphabet City Brewing Company sells its popular Alpha Male IPA and other varietals throughout the Northeast U.S. Finally, Evil Twin Brewing Co., a Danish brewery headquartered in NYC, known for producing limited-edition brews, is slated to open a taproom this fall. 

Daniel Fridman
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