Craft brewing has increased tenfold in the last 5 to 10 years, with new breweries popping up around the city every year. Bud light is now CLEARLY for those with no taste! People who enjoy craft beer once may have been known as “hipster” or “beer snobs”, but these beers have transgressed into the mainstream bar scene, with many of these local breweries offering their specialties at bars across the city. There’s so many to choose from, so I picked out the best that actually included every borough (Except Manhattan. This is one arena where it doesn’t excel). Check out the below locales if you want to stray from the Natty Lights of the world and delve into the world of true NYC beers made with heart and soul.
Da Boogie Down Bronx
Located in the Port Morris neighborhood, the Bronx Brewery aims to focus on making the best pale ales (named for the flavors the beers are made with for those of you who aren’t “beer snobs”) across the East Coast. They offer tours of the facility as well a tasting room where you can down all the brewskis you just saw them whip up. If you enjoy a good mix of pale ales and venturing to a cool BX hood, this place is for you.
Brooklyn, we go hard, we go hard
Founded in 2014 and located on the edge of Carroll Gardens, Other Half is a Brooklyn staple that could be, dare I say it, better than the below option. Their tap room is available for small events and consists of everything from pale ales to IPA’s to stouts. Although the tap room can get a bit crowded at times (great to make new beer snob friends!), the beers will always leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
What is often the most heard of and visited brewery in New York, the Brooklyn Brewery, which of course is located in Williamsburg, is always a great time for larger groups and to begin your NY brewery journey. Founded in 1988, (you know, before breweries were a thing), this place has been partnering with other local establishments in Brooklyn to sell their products. The Brooklyn Lager is their most famed brew, and can now be seen at bars across the country. They host small batch tours Mon through Thursday for $15, so if you have some extra moolah to spare, check that out to get the full Brooklyn Brewery experience.
The Forgotten Staten lsland
There is a very good reason that this Staten Island brewery is included on this list, including the fact that you can finally get on that good ole free Staten Island ferry for the visit! Located in St. George, this is only a 10-minute walk from the ferry and cheaper than anything you’ll get in the other boroughs. Pay $5 on a Saturday to get a great tour and tasting of their products. A unique aspect of this brewery is their beer truck that you can rent out for special events and you need to spread your extreme love for this place. Their tasting room also holds over 240 people for private parties, so it looks like Staten Island really isn’t looking so forgotten anymore.
The Kings of Queens
Located in the up-and-coming Long Island City, Rockaway Brewing Company has a lot going for it. It’s cross the street from the LIC flea in the spring and summer and right near Gantry Plaza Park. This brewery is ideally made for a Sunday Funday outing. Although it’s small on the ground floor, the upstairs has more tables and they host complimentary tours. The brewery also offers free chips (#freefoodforthewin) and often hosts foodie pop-ups in association with their beers, including concoctions from Kimchi Smoke, Empanada mania, and a Girl Scout cookie and beer pairing. Fun for the whole crew!
Last, but certainly not least, Singlecut is located in a very industrial section of the always great Astoria (I’m not bias or anything….). This is pretty much the only brewery on this list that has good bar food available to enjoy with your tastings. You can even play games like Jenga and Connect 4. Free brewery tours are available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with no reservations required. They often host live bands on the weekends, and the tasting room never gets too crowded to enjoy a dance as the brews start hitting you. Queens brewing=fun for the whole family!
Take a break from your Coors and Buds and venture out of Manhattan to experience the great breweries this city has to offer. Your wallet (and taste buds) will thank you. And maybe you’ll become that “beer snob” you always hated on in the past. The possibilities are endless!