Bushwick has a long history of beer-brewing. Since the early 1800s, Bushwick has been one of the central locations for beer making in the New York area, at one point producing 10 percent of all America’s beer. The still standing Claus-Lipsius Brewing Company and the neighborhood’s oldest brewery, the William Ulmer Brewery, that now hosts an art residency, remind us of the area’s beverage history. Those two breweries represent only a small fraction of beer-making activity in Bushwick at the height of the Industrial Revolution.
Nowadays, Brooklyn is full of modern and artisanal breweries carrying on the legacy of longtime settlers. Here is a list of a few stellar examples of what Bushwick and the surrounding area have to offer to the beer enthusiasts.
Dubbed New York’s best new brewery by Thrillist when it debuted a couple of years ago, KCBC was, at the time of its opening, the first brick-and-mortar brewery to set up shop in Bushwick in 40 years. The three main founders, Zack Kinney, Pete Lengyel, and Tony Bellis, are interested not only in brewing excellent beer, but also in positioning themselves squarely within the context of Bushwick’s storied beer-making history (Bushwick having been home, in the 19th Century, to a stretch of road known as Brewer’s Row).
381 Troutman St., Bushwick
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 5pm – 11 pm; Friday, 5 pm – 12 am; Saturday, 12 pm – 12 am; Sunday 12 pm – 9 pm
Claiming on its website to be the only establishment in Brooklyn that offers both craft brews and distillates, Interboro produces beer, whisky, amaro, gin, all in situ – an impressive feat. Apropos of its warehouse district location, the Interboro space also occasionally hosts DJ-backed parties and other events. Food options include charcuterie, pub grub staples, and sundry.
942 Grand St., East Williamsburg
Hours: Monday to Friday, 5 pm – 11 pm; Saturday, 11 am – 11 pm; Sunday 1 pm – 8 pm
We would say that you’re not a borough if there isn’t a brewery carrying your name, except that it appears neither Manhattan nor Staten Island are being honored at this time. However, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens all are, so we’ll maintain that stance and risk inter-borough strife. The latter borough’s iteration, founded by Nelson D. Rockefeller (no relation) in 2012, opened a brew hall in Ridgewood last year and there’s little to complain about: aside from the brewery’s three signature beers and cocktails on tap, the hall gives patrons sausages and hot dogs to eat, free live music for the ears, karaoke, and games for the fidgets.
1539 Covert St., Ridgewood
Hours: Monday to Friday, 4 pm – 12 am; Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm – 12 pm.
Just two blocks from Queens Brewery is this family-owned operation, which had its beginnings in the backyard garage of owner Rich Castagna. The enterprise has come a long way since then, but there remains in the bones of the place the DIY spirit of its founding. He and his team clearly share a predilection for elaborate names. There’s the “Spot And a Switchblade Coffee Cream Al,” “Tiger Eyes Hazelnut Brown Ale,” and the egregiously long-winded (excuse me while I shake my wrists out) “Marvin Gardens AKA Hop The Turnstile Dry Hopped Pale Ale.”
15-35 Decatur St, Ridgewood
Hours: Wednesday to Friday, 5 pm – 10 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 1 pm – 10 pm; Monday and Tuesday closed.
In the fall of last year, Evil Twin, a so-called gypsy brewery, finally opened its own brick-and-mortar space after years squatting in other breweries for short periods of time. Aside from the suds factory itself, a small retail shop peddles the firm’s kaleidoscopic output in can and bottle form (many of whose lengthy moniker’s put those of Bridge in Tunnel Brewery in the shade, with one of their pop-up’s brews titled, “How Much You Wanna Bet I Can Throw a Football Over Them Mountains?”).
Tours and tastings are, unfortunately, currently not offered, but never fear: not only will that soon change, those new options will also dovetail with the opening of the long-awaited Evil Twin beer garden. In addition to 20 beers on tap, a fleet of food trucks and a list of bar snacks will keep garden patrons fed.
1616 George St., Ridgewood
Retail hours: Tuesday to Friday, 5 pm – 9 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm – 6 pm; Monday, closed
Like the above-mentioned Interboro Spirits and Ales, Grimm sits in a difficult-to-define limbo between Bushwick and Williamsburg (only a few blocks apart, you could easily make an afternoon visiting both sites). And like Evil Twin and so many other breweries, it spent its infancy and adolescence drifting around different brew sites, like nomads at desert oases. But canvas tent finally became sprawling warehouse space in the summer of 2018. Food was, and still is, sourced from Samesa, a local catering company specializing in Middle Eastern food. Among other things, they offer oak-aged sour beers and a couple of gose, a sour style German beer adept at cutting through New York’s muggy summer malaise.
990 Metropolitan Ave.
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 5 pm – 10 pm; Thursday and Friday, 5 pm – 12 am; Saturday, 12 pm – 1 am; Sunday, 12 pm – 10 pm
Cover photo courtesy of Grimm Artisanal Ales. All other images courtesy of corresponding breweries.
For more news, sign up for Bushwick Daily’s newsletter.