There are dozens of breweries in NYC. There are two ways I’d recommend getting a good taste of them. You can either borough-hop your way through several, or stick to either Brooklyn or Queens to really get to know the local brews. I’m going to recommend a great brewery tour through Queens that I think takes the cake because you can hit six breweries walking. Here it is:
1. Transmitter Brewing
Until April 2019, you can still check out Transmitter Brewing in Long Island City. Transmitter is located under the Pulaski Bridge. You can get there by taking the 7 to Vernon Blvd and then either walking halfway over the bridge and taking the stairs down, or taking Vernon Blvd all the way to the end, turning left, and then turning right just before the bridge. It’s a sketchy location, but they have fantastic brews. I would argue they shine best when they brew saisons, but they have also been making some serious sours lately. They’ll give you three tastings when you enter, then you can sit and have a beer at a picnic table in their brewery.
2. Alewife Brewing Co.
Alewife Brewing Co. is a relatively new brewery offering in LIC. Alewife previously just sold great local beers. Now, they sell their own great beer! You can’t get free tastings as a matter of right (but can request), but read their descriptions and take the plunge because I haven’t found one that wasn’t tasty!
Tour break: Casa Enrique
While on your brewery tour, you need food! You can eat at Alewife, but let me recommend instead grabbing guacamole and chips at Casa Enrique. Casa Enrique has a Michelin Star and delicious guac.
3. Rockaway Brewing Co.
The next stop on the tour is Rockaway Brewing Co. Rockaway started in a very small space, but now they have a good-sized taproom. You have to request a taste if you want one, but you can also get a flight here to try their brews. This is a great local place for everyday beer, but also an essential stop on any tour.
4. Fifth Hammer Brewing Co.
Just up the street from Rockaway is Fifth Hammer. Fifth Hammer is another new addition to LIC’s brewery scene. This brewery is extremely family-friendly, and along the tour you can expect to see both young children and dogs at Fifth Hammer. Don’t let it deter you! They have a wide selection of brews and something for everyone. They also rotate their brews often and do collaborations with breweries all over the Northeast.
5. Big aLICe Brewing
You could stop at Fifth Hammer because the next brewery is a little bit of a walk. But don’t stop! Big aLICe Brewing is really only a few blocks away along Vernon Blvd and it’s a personal favorite of mine. They have some 10-15 brews on tap. They’ve been known to be the more experimental of the LIC breweries. I love their sours, Neal loves their stouts. They just opened in Brooklyn as well! If you want to stop here, okay. Take a break at John Brown Smokehouse, get some famous bbq and jump on the train at Court Sq.
6. LIC Beer Project
If you can keep going, you just have to duck under another bridge (Queens Borough Bridge) to get to the last LIC brewery – LIC Beer Project. They have interesting beers with deep palates. They also have a cool space with a free self-serve popcorn machine.
Tour End: The Baroness
At this point, you NEED more food. After LIC Beer Project, stop by The Baroness. You’re likely to find your favorite brewery on tap at The Baroness and you can grab yourself a fancy burger with a side of mac and cheese. Their veggie burger is my favorite in NYC. The Baroness is right next to Queens Plaza, so you can hop on whatever train you need there.
Queens also has ICONYC, SingleCut, Finback, Bridge and Tunnel, and Mikkeler, among many others. You can’t walk to each of these, but they’re easy to get to via public transport. Brooklyn also has an amazing brewery scene, and many of the breweries here have opened Brooklyn spaces as well. But Queens is densely packed and you can spend a great afternoon getting a taste of its beer culture!
As it turns out, you CAN walk to Singlecut…if you have a few hours to kill! We managed to walk all the way there from Court Square. You can read more about that walk and our take on the brewery (spoiler alert: it’s awesome) here.
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