Lots of cities have tour companies offering to take visitors around to visit craft breweries or wineries. However, you don’t need to pay for an expensive tour if you know where to go. There are a bunch of Queens craft breweries you can visit without a costly tour. All you need is some cash or a credit card for drinks and a love for beer. Ready to taste and toast? Let’s go on my DIY Queens craft brewery tour!
First things first: Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island are ALL part of New York City. They are 4 of the 5 boroughs (Manhattan is the 5th). New York City is not just Manhattan. Capisce? Any visitor to NYC can take advantage of visiting a Queens craft brewery during their visit. Allons-y!
Plan to do this tour on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Why? Because not all are open every day. I’ve noted below when each Queens craft brewery is closed, for your planning purposes.
Some of these craft breweries are walkable distances from others, and some require covering a bit more ground between them. One of the easiest ways to cover short distances in New York City is by Citi Bike. Citi Bike is the local bike share program in NYC (similar to the Boris Bikes in London, etc.). You can buy a day pass or a three-day pass if you are not a local, and enjoy unlimited Citi Bike rides during your trip.
Otherwise, you’ll need about $10 on your MetroCard or an Uber/Lyft/other account to get from stop to stop. Got it? Good.
The best of Queens CRAFT BREWERIES
How to use this map: View the map bigger by clicking the bracket window-looking icon in the upper-right corner, next to your photo/avatar. Save the link to your phone if you’re traveling. Use the layers to toggle between stuff that you’re looking for. I’ve grouped the Layers by breweries and by transportation type, as well as routes between each (biking, walking or driving).
Stop #1: Transmitter Brewing
Take the 7 train from Manhattan to Vernon-Jackson (the first stop in Queens), then walk to Transmitter Brewing, the first stop on our Queens Craft Brewery tour. Note that you’ll probably think you’ve gone the wrong way. It’s VERY industrial here and can look a bit scary. Alternatively, you can walk on the Pulaski Bridge and take the staircase down where you see the Transmitter sign. The Pulaski Bridge connects Long Island City (Queens) to Greenpoint (Brooklyn) and has dedicated sidewalks and bike lanes, in addition to traffic lanes.
Transmitter Brewing is a Queens craft brewery known for its large-format bottles (750ml) and its farmhouse-style brews. Its own website touts it as an urban farmhouse brewery – couldn’t have said it better myself!
The beers are all named according to a system – sort of a binomial nomenclature (nerd alert!). My favorite is H4, a Harvest sour ale made with Italian plums. They sell by the bottle for tasting on-site and to carry out. You can try some of their options that are for tasting on-site only. I suggest grabbing a bottle or two of the ones that stand out to you, and hang out with your tourmates at a picnic table.
Note that this brewery has limited seating and fills up quickly on a nice day, when they open the front garage door. It’s very informal here and you can ask for a tour. You’ll find that the place is very small, but they make a ton of different beers. The folks here are really nice and are no bullsh*t. Love visiting this brewery!
Transmitter Brewing is closed Mondays through Thursdays.
When you’re ready to go…
Walk from Transmitter to the Citi Bike station at Vernon Blvd. and 50th Avenue and pick up a Citi Bike and ride to 46th Avenue and 5th Street. It is less than 5 minutes by bike to the next stop. If it’s nice out and you want to walk, it’s about a ten minute walk.
Stop #2: Rockaway Brewing Co.
I’ve already done a whole post about this great Queens craft brewery, and you can see it here.
Rockaway has always been our friendly neighborhood bar, with kind folks tending bar and a pretty killer vinyl collection. Their ESB is pretty special and you’ll find it on tap in many NYC establishments. They make some delicious porters and stouts, as well as heavy-hitting IPAs and other styles. The brewer doesn’t go nuts with experimental flavors, but their beer is solid and they’ll have something for everyone in your group. Depending on the day, there may be a pop-up shop or restaurant onsite, too!
Rockaway Brewing is open daily.
When you’re done here, walk a block and a half down 46th avenue to our next stop.
Stop #3: Fifth Hammer BrewING
The newest Queens craft brewery on the scene, Fifth Hammer Brewing opened in October 2017 and has been growing in popularity ever since. The owners include a former lawyer and a musician/brewer, and they’re just fantastic people.
At night on the weekends you can walk in to enjoy some fabulous live music with Chris Cuzme (one of the owners) on the saxophone or a live band. The man is seriously talented.
The vibe is laid-back and community is king here. There are a number of picnic tables along the walls and in the back, and the back wall is covered in chalkboard paint. Grab a piece of chalk if you’re feeling inspired and write or draw anything you like – there’s no judgment here.
If you’re in the mood for a board game or a game of Jenga®, they’ve got you covered. There are a ton of options available and some of the tables even have a checker/chess board and backgammon board inlaid in the top.
Oh, and the beer? They have all different styles, from black stouts to fruit-driven Berlinerweisse-style beers, to sours and IPAs. The glassware is beautiful and all of the beers come in various sizes – from a taster to a large pint. They are all delicious, but I’m partial to the sours and fruity ones 🙂
Fifth Hammer Brewing is open daily.
Note – you may want to finish your tour here if you’re feeling a bit tipsy. That’s fine! I’ve added some tips below about how to customize this for YOU.
But, if you want to keep going… 🙂
Once you’re done here, walk back to the Citi Bike dock at 46th Ave & 5th St. and grab a bike. Bike to 43rd Ave & 11th St. and dock your bike there to go to…
Stop #4: Big ALICe Brewing
Ah yes, Big aLICe Brewing. This badass brewery has been around for a pretty long time in Queens brewery years, and is arguably the most experimental. Jon and Kyle have perfected one of my favorite beers, a coffee and donut-flavored stout aptly named “Date Night, Bro?”. It’s made with real donuts in the brew. I mean, come on. It’s so popular that it’s one of the beers always available now, but there are plenty of slots for rotation of other, one-off brews and seasonal rotation.
Other favorites here at Big aLICe Brewing include Jalapeño Rye, Sweet Potato Farmhouse Ale, Honey Wit, Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout (YESSS, seriously) and Lemongrass Kolsch.
Get a flight here, because you’re going to need to try some of the stuff that might sound a little weird, but trust me – it’s delicious. The taproom is comfortable and homey, but a little small in the front. So, if you’ve got a big group try to snag the table in the back.
Big aLICe Brewing is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Once you’ve finished and found your new favorite, grab a Citi Bike and bike to the next dock at 24th Street and 41st Avenue, then walk a little over a block to LIC Beer Project.
Stop #5: LIC Beer Project
It took me forever to figure out where this place was. LIC Beer Project is kind of in the middle of nowhere, in a super-industrial part of LIC. (Most of LIC used to be warehouses/industrial until about 10 years ago.) But, now with Citi Bike’s expansion and with Uber and Lyft, it’s really easy to get to and a must-see as a Queens craft brewery.
In terms of hangout space, LIC Beer Project is one of the biggest in Queens. It has a huge garage door in front that is opened in good weather. The bar itself is small and the menu is scrawled on the mirror behind the servers.
There’s always a setup to play cornhole (or bean bag toss – whatever you want to call it) here, and the back of the brewery is open so you can see what’s happening back there, too. The giant mural is also pretty sweet.
I always recommend LIC Beer Project to friends who love IPAs. This place has tons of IPAs on draught all of the time. And, their cans are highly collectible. Their can launches mean lines of people waiting for hours around the block just to be able to buy a couple. If you’re really into beer, don’t miss this stop!
LIC Beer Project is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Once you’re a cornhole champion and you’ve bought a can or two as a souvenir, grab an Uber/Lyft/taxi or take the N or W train from Queensboro Plaza to Ditmars Blvd. to our final stop:
Stop #6: SingleCut Beersmiths
Ah, yes, dear friends. Our last stop. But that doesn’t mean that SingleCut Beersmiths is any less of a Queens craft brewery than the others in this list. It’s just a lot farther away from the other 5. Which means you should either start here, or end here. This brewery has been in operation since 2012 and has been canning their beers for the past few years. Their beers are as sought-after as LIC Beer Project’s cans in some circles.
With a beer list heavy on the IPAs, this brewery is a hot spot for hop heads. But, sour lovers and pilsner drinkers will still find solace in the bottom of a glass of Kim Hibiscus Sour (or whatever fruity beer they have on rotation) or 19-33 Pilsner (a taproom staple).
Similar to the others on our itinerary, the taproom here features live music on a tall platform (more floor space for equipment and people) and a huge back room – plenty of room to socialize with friends and discuss which beer of the day is your favorite!
Unlike the others, however, SingleCut does have a small kitchen – from which we ordered these delicious soft pretzels. Availability of the menu items when we last visited was a bit hit or miss, so make sure they have what you want before you order.
Play games with your friends or jam out to the live band. But above all, remember to congratulate yourself on a job well done!
SingleCut Beersmiths is closed on Tuesdays.
MAKE IT YOURS – CUSTOMIZE YOUR QUEENS CRAFT BREWERY TOUR
Six breweries in one day is a lot. Feel free to combine them to fit your needs. It is designed to be done in its entirety if you like! But in the spirit of moderation, I recommend splitting these 6 breweries into 2 days. With #1-#3 on Day 1 and #4-#6 on Day 2.
If you can only visit 3 or 4 craft breweries in total, my top four are: Transmitter, Fifth Hammer, Big ALICe and Rockaway.
If you don’t like IPAs, your best bets are Transmitter, Fifth Hammer and Big ALICe.
Can’t get enough of IPAs? Your best bets are LIC Beer Project, Rockaway Brewing Co. and SingleCut Beersmiths.
Love sour beers? Don’t miss Transmitter, Fifth Hammer and Big ALICe.
If you love experimental flavors, don’t miss Transmitter and Big ALICe.
Into collecting beer? You have to visit LIC Beer Project and SingleCut Beersmiths.
If it’s nice outside, best breweries for chillin’ are SingleCut Beersmiths, LIC Beer Project, Transmitter, and Fifth Hammer.
Keep checking back – coming SOON: The Best of Brooklyn Breweries
Brewery Websites for Up-to-Date Information and Special Hours:
Have you been to these breweries? What did you think? What’s your favorite beer? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!