A DIY Queens Craft Brewery Tour

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!

Queens Craft Brewery

A flight of beer at Fifth Hammer Brewing

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.

Transportation

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

Queens Craft Brewery Tour

Walking to 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.

Queens Craft Brewery Tour

Transmitter Brewing from the outside

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!

Queens Craft Brewery TourThe 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. Continue reading

Casa Enrique (LIC, NY)

Among the recent recipients of the coveted Michelin star in New York, Casa Enrique is a deliciously unpretentious spot to get your interior Mexican fix in Long Island City without breaking the budget.  The average dinner for two here, with 2 or 3 drinks each, an appetizer, entrees and sides is under $100. That’s a steal by New York standards, and especially by Michelin star-winner standards.

Like a hipster, I’ll just go ahead and say it. We’ve been coming here long before it was a Michelin star winner. It’s just nice to know that other folks agree with me – it is seriously good. Also amazing is their sister restaurant, Café Henri, a French bistro just across the street from the 7 train stop on Vernon-Jackson.

A friendly host or hostess greets you as you walk in and, after you indicate whether you’d like a table inside or outside, you’re whisked to your table. The minimalist décor – white on white, concrete floors, votives and a small vase of understated flowers on each table, is refreshing.

The drinks at Casa Enrique are delicious. Try the Michelada or the Aguachile Margarita if you like spice. If not, there are a ton of fruit-flavored margs and mojitos to choose from.

Michelada with Pacifico Beer at Casa Enrique

Michelada with Pacifico Beer

 

Casa Enrique - Pork puffs

Delicious pork puffs greet you upon arrival. Cannot remember their name!

The service is excellent.

Service here has always been good, but I think maybe the receipt of the star has encouraged the staff to up their game. There just seem to be more servers in general now. That being said, the service is fantastic and friendly, not in-your-face and you’re not stuck craning your neck, looking for someone – anyone – to ask for what you need.

PRO-TIP #1: Eat at the Bar if there’s a long wait to be seated.

The actual restaurant space is pretty small, so if it’s crowded Continue reading

Rockaway Brewing Company (LIC, NY)

Weekend afternoons in Long Island City would not be complete without a visit to the Rockaway Brewing Company brewery and Growler Room. Located conveniently across the street from the LIC Flea & Food, this craft brewery delivers fresh beer of all different kinds – to stay and enjoy or to take away in growlers – all with a smile. AND free bags of Cape Cod potato chips. What’s not to love?  Flint, who was on hand filling glasses and answering questions, quipped “I have 1,200 more bags, so just let me know if you want some more!”

Local brewing is experiencing a boom in Queens: Big ALICe Brewing, Fifth Hammer Brewing, LIC Beer Project are just a few of the other breweries new to the scene. But, Rockaway Brewing Company was the first.  And there’s something about the first that’s special in itself.  Not only are they the first, but they have been delivering fresh beer for a few years now and have been growing exponentially.

On tap are 10 different rotating brews, ranging from their flagship English Style ale  (the Original ESB) to saisons, cream ales, stouts, cask ales, nitro stout and pale ales.

The Growler Room at Rockaway Brewing Company

Bar and Menu, and Flint!

We couldn’t decide, so we started out (by kidding ourselves that we were only going to have a taste) with Continue reading

Top 6 Things To Do in Long Island City in the Springtime

Spring is in the air… finally! This morning,  New Yorkers crawled out of their winter dens, stripping themselves of snow boots, misery and wool coats, slapped on a (temporary) smile and ventured outdoors for what seems like the first time in ages to enjoy the balmy 65-degree Fahrenheit, sunny weather we’ve been blessed with on a weekend day. Hallelujiah! Spring is here!
With the better weather comes a responsibility that most weekend warriors will understand. On the two days a week you’re not stuck indoors at your office, if it’s nice outside, you darn well better be outside enjoying it. Let’s be clear, though. You shouldn’t ditch the black boots and long sleeves yet. We’re still in New York and it’s April, and it could very well snow tomorrow … so don’t get too excited.
An old friend we met in Argentina, but just so happens to also live in NYC, came over today and we set out to enjoy the best of what LIC (that’s Long Island City….which, while technically geographically located on Long Island, is very much part of New York City and one Subway stop away from Manhattan on the 7, E or M trains – sorry to blow your mind) has to offer.
So, we took her out to enjoy our favorite weekend rituals for good weather in Long Island City. What are those, you ask? I’m so glad you did!

Here are my Top 6 Favorite Things To Do in LIC in The Springtime:

1.  Visit the LIC Flea & Food

Inaugurating the unofficial delayed start to the season this weekend was the grand reopening of the LIC Flea & Food, a celebrated local food and artisan fair held every Saturday and Sunday during the spring and summer outdoors at the corner of 46th Avenue and 5th Street, just one block from Center Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens.
Tons of food options, tons of artists and craftsmen – making for a few hours of fun at the Flea
Keep your eyes out for a detailed post about the “Flea” in the coming days.
For more on the LIC Flea & Food, visit http://www.licflea.com/ .

2.  Enjoy Gantry State Park

Iconic Pepsi-Cola sign? Check.

Amazing, unobstructed views of the New York City skyline? Check.

Ample room to sit, lounge, stroll and enjoy the waterfront? Check.

Dog park with (what I think is) the best view you can get? Check.

Ferry landing, where you can grab the East River ferry to Manhattan or to various parts of Brooklyn? Check.

 



Trouble finding the park? Walk straight from Center Boulevard towards the skyline. Stop before you fall in the East River. Easy peasy. Continue reading

Pic of the Day – Long Island City, New York

Today’s pic of the day is from across the street from where we live, in Gantry State Park, which runs along the edge of Long Island City, in Queens, New York. You can stroll along the “boardwalk” here and take in some of the best views of Manhattan.

View of Manhattan from Long Island City
Date Taken: September 8, 2014
Location: Gantry State Park, Long Island City, New York
If you turn around from where this photo was taken, you can get a shot of the famous Pepsi-Cola sign that is one of the best-known landmarks for Long Island City. Once the site of the Pepsi cannery, the area has been developed as a higher-end mixed use residential neighborhood. The Pepsi sign was restored and reinstalled after the cannery closed and the residential/commercial construction was commenced.
I love New York!