Getting some beer in New York City would seem like a simple task. You walk into one of the city’s thousands of bars, grocery stores or bodegas and you’ll have a frosty beverage in your hand within seconds. But if you’re a true beer lover, any old lukewarm can of Pabst just isn’t going to cut it. Would you go out of your way for a great Belgian, a crazy-good craft beer or marvelous microbrew? Then New York’s the beer city for you.
New York City residents have been brewing beer for over 300 years, ever since the city was flooded with the stuff by beer-loving Dutch, Irish and German settlers. By the 19th Century the industry was thriving – Brooklyn alone had 45 beer makers and produced one fifth of all the nation’s beer. Remarkably by the 1970’s, the industry had all but dried up. Yet something is once again brewing in the Big Apple. The once dormant brewery industry is in the midst of a remarkable resurgence, and along with it has come a renewed passion among the city’s residents for the art of making and drinking truly great beer.
Whether you’re on the hunt for an exotic Belgian brew or your favorite American lager, in search of something local or thirsting for a taste of lands far away, you’ll find a beer for you in New York. Ready to visit some of the city’s most unique beer bars? Interested in taking a tour of Brooklyn brewing history? Grab yourself a glass – this week, Undiscovered New York is headed in search of New York’s best beer.
The Best Bars
When you’re thirsting for a really great beer, not just any old bar with a Bud in the cooler is going to cut it. You want a place that takes its beers seriously, perhaps with a little local culture thrown in for good measure. A good example would be the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Queens.This former Czech and Slovak social club oozes with local charm, great beer and a great summer beer garden to boot.
Meanwhile, Manhattan beer-lovers favor such spots as Vol de Nuit, a Belgian beer bar, Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village and The Room, a non-descript spot with a killer selection of suds. If you’re out in Brooklyn, head to bars like the rowdy Radegast, or the British-beer favorite Chip Shop on Atlantic Avenue.
Beer Breweries + Tours
Perhaps the idea of just drinking a few high-quality beers isn’t good enough? Fear not, New York also has some great beer tours that will take you inside the city’s most famous breweries, offer tastings and teach you about the New York’s illustrious beer history.
The first place to start is the Brooklyn Brewery – the now famous beer maker runs part of its operation in the Borough’s Greenpoint neighborhood. They offer 4 tours each Saturday and Sunday, tastings included. For a more in-depth look at Brooklyn’s brewing history, check out the team at Urban Oyster, who run the Brewed in Brooklyn Walking Tour. In addition to visiting the old Brewers’ Row in East Williamsburg, the tour also makes a stop at the Brooklyn Brewery. Sixpoint Craft Ales is another well-known Brooklyn brewer based in Red Hook. Though the brewers don’t have any formalized tour schedule, rumor has it passionate beer-lovers can email the company to inquire about brewery visits.
Beer Groups + Events
Not only is New York a great place to drink and learn about beer, it’s also host to plenty of beer focused events and tastings. Beer organizations like the New York City Beer Guide provide listings of some of the city’s best beer bars and breweries. They’ve also got a rundown of upcoming beer events.
If you happen to be coming to New York City this September, make sure to check out the 2nd annual NY Craft Beer Week, beer walks, special food and beer pairing menus and a beer speaker series.