When most travelers think about the best cities for breweries, places like Boulder, Portland, or Ashville come to mind, not New York City. But beer lovers visiting New York should know that the brewery scene has undergone a significant revival in the past 10 years.
In all corners of the city, you can find brewers producing innovative, delicious craft beers. For anyone visiting NYC, checking out this big, famous city's local breweries is a fun way to break out of the usual tourist cliches, explore new neighborhoods, and hang out with locals.
Of course, New York City has a long and exciting history of brewing beer. Bushwick, in Brooklyn, was dubbed "the beer capital of the Northeast" in the late 1880s, and by the turn of the century, 10-percent of the beer produced in the U.S. came from Brooklyn. Prohibition brought all that to a halt, but the city is again filled with world-class local breweries and distilleries.
What Are The Best Breweries in New York?
Many breweries are in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx-vibrant and culturally boroughs that too many tourists never make it to. Picking the best brewery to visit depends on what you're looking for in beer, experience, and neighborhood. For the past 20 years, I've been serving drinks in some of the city's best bars, leading brewery tours, and exploring watering holes in all five boroughs. When people ask me for advice, I tell them that it's hard to go wrong, and I think any brewery is worth visiting once. That said, these five breweries are my favorites. Visit them and try their beer, and if you don't have a good time, you're doing something wrong.
Gun Hill Brewery
I said breweries are an excellent reason to go where most tourists don't. Gun Hill may not be the easiest to get to, but this under-rated Bronx brewery is a must-visit. It was founded in 2014 by two Bronx natives who met on a baseball field. Their combined passion for beer eventually led to opening this innovative brewery. Located on the hill where colonists once dragged a cannon up to defend the city from the British Army, this area of the Bronx is still full of American history and local pride.
The brewery and the taproom are located in a large warehouse. It's rustic but inviting and warm, and it's filled with great energy from locals and visitors. Gunhill focuses on fresh, unfiltered, and handcrafted brews. Their famous award-winning stout Void of Light is a must.
In 2016 this craft brewery collaborated with the cast of "Hamilton" to create Rise Up Rye, an American rye Saison and an homage to their shared historic grounds. They constantly innovate and aren't afraid to try new flavors-not always your typical brew. Check regularly for BBQ cook-offs and other food events.
The Bronx Brewery
This is a New York classic located in the South Bronx. It's one of the most fun tap and tasting rooms you'll ever visit, with regular concerts, festivals, sports activities, and themed events. The large garden in the back plays host to many occasions, and the energy runs high and positive. Hard not to smile, engage and enjoy. They are about community, creativity, and inclusivity.
Bronx summer ale is as delicious as always, and they also produce new and seasonal brews throughout the year. They do many socially aware collaborations; for March and Women's month, they've created a saison called Gems like Us, which brings awareness to human trafficking. It's a delicious beer, delicate yet zesty and spicy. Perfect for spring evenings.
You can even ride a city bike here if you feel adventurous-just watch your intake or take a car home. Beers run strong here, and the hours by quickly in this fun spot.
The Bronx beers can be found throughout NYC at local bars and restaurants. They're a great compliment to a good meal, especially to their own empanadas, which are served by Empanology, worth the trip just for that.
This is the brewery with the best food trucks, hands down. I mean, don't you want some duck poutine with your brew? They do rotate the trucks but always have a schedule. I mean taco Tuesdays, oysters, lobster trucks, and local BBQ, you name it! Live music and trivia nights.
Very creative beers and an excellent lineup, and incredible production and variety. Gorgeous can art and best known for potent IPAs. Bold flavors and not for the shy. They take their name from ancient history. Alewife was the ancient creator of potions, both medicinal and spiritual. The brewing company does, however, promise not to add anything psychedelic to their brews.
Relocated during the pandemic to Sunnyside Queens, very easy to access both by bus and subway and a quick stop from Manhattan. Bright outdoor seating and a large open indoor area allow for big groups and a lot of fun.
Kings County Brewers Collective (KCBC)
Fun, hot and happening! In the heart of Bushwick, Brooklyn lies the fantastic Kings County Brewers Collective. Surrounded by bars, graffiti, and that artist energy that Bushwick exudes. Always a crowd Brooklyn Brewery and people to engage with. Beautiful street art and industrial roads to peruse and take in the energy.
They have some of the coolest can art in New York State with their fantastic beer. Superhero Sidekicks, Dynamite Daredevils, and Hades Corpses leave no one untouched. Their sours are to die for with explosive flavors and bold colors. Make sure to pour into a glass for full effect.
Also, it's a plus on easy subway access, but prepare for a wait on weekends. Off-hours is a tip. An excellent start for an evening planned to explore some of Brooklyn's fun nooks and corners.
Big Alice Brewing - Long Island City, Queens
LIC (Long Island City) offers a ton of local microbreweries that are perfect for mapping out and doing a walking tour. Located in Queens right near the famous Pepsi Cola sign and near the East River esplanade. Walkable, drinkable, and lots of fun.
Big Alice is one of them and a proud small-batch farm brewery. The small but charming tasting room with personable staff and fun, funky beers. You definitely feel like you are in the middle of the brewery and in all the action. Feeling like a local and welcome.
But like mentioned earlier, combine the breweries and make a day of it. Beer, food bites, and good times guaranteed. A very local experience.
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