In 1612, Adrian Block and Hans Christiansen opened America's first brewery on the southern tip of Manhattan. While you can't raise a pint glass in Block & Christensen's pub today, you can find plenty of spots to toast their contribution to the craft beer industry. Small-batch brews, American-made ales, and rare, Belgian-style beers are taking center stage at a number of New York bars and pubs, allowing yet another generation of Americans to cast off their mass-produced cans and discover what those first settlers knew so well: good beer is worth waiting for.
Greenpoint: Belgian Brews in Brooklyn
There are only a few beers on tap at Spuyten Duyvil, but that's a good thing. Keeping drafts to a minimum means none of the rare, primarily Belgian beers looses freshness and that bartenders can rotate the selection regularly. The staggering bottled selection is broken down by region––Flemish, Lamic, Wallonian, etc––but the staff is happy to hand-pick one for you.
Chelsea: Bar Fare and Beers From a Top Chef Judge
James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Colicchio is known for his gourmet fare. But with the opening of his new taproom, he explores upscale renditions of bar fare, including pizza with shaved black truffle, paired with themed flights of beer and unique brews such as Evil Twin’s Freudian Slip.
West Village: Rare and Specialty Brews
You won't find any tigers in Blind Tiger Ale House, but you will find something almost as rare. The bar's close-knit relationship with craft breweries procures them access to rare and limited edition beers nearly impossible to find anywhere else, such as Evil Twin’s Soft Dookie or Goose Island’s 2009 Christmas brew.
Park Slope: 1000 Bottles of Beer
Aside from pouring from 14 draft and 2 cask lines, Bierkraft stocks its cellar with bottles of more than 1,000 domestic and imported beers. Tuesday night tastings invite guests to sip and learn about 5 or 6 unique brews and favorite draft beers can be toted home in 64 oz. growlers.
East Village: Elevated Pub Grub
Brews from Brooklyn, Belgium, and Germany cohabitate harmoniously in this cozy, olde-worlde inspired basement bar, but that's not the biggest surprise. Boring burgers and nachos are replaced by elevated pub grub, such as fried beer sausage and shrimp with apple-smoked bacon and grits, earning Jimmy's a spot on New York Magazine’s perfect bar list.
Greenpoint: Choose Your Desired ABV
Imbibers pace themselves knowledgeably thanks to a menu arranged by escalating ABV (alcohol by volume). Start with an 1809 Berliner Weisse (5% ABV) or a bottle of Stone Levitation (4.4%), and make your way up to the Brooklyn Local Belgian-inspired golden ale (9%), before heading to the backyard ski lift for a nap.
Clinton: Ever-Changing Beers, Never-Changing Price
Boredom doesn't come into play at this American-brews-only bar. As soon as one keg kicks, it's replaced by something totally different amid a raucous yell of “new beer!” A chalkboard tracks the rotating options as well as each beer's popularity according to vote––though with a set price of $5, there's not much to lose.
Park Slope: Pints and Pinball
This former auto-repair shop now houses one of the coolest green bars in Brooklyn. Reclaimed wood, industrial décor, and a greenhouse-type ceiling provide plenty to talk about between sips of daily-rotating, mostly American craft brews. No drinking buddy? Occupy one of two pinball machines or bring a four-legged companion–-dogs are welcome at the bar.
Kips Bay: Beer and Butcher Shop
You'll need a lot of friends to help you make it through all 450 beers at this suds and sausage emporium. Luckily, a huge communal butcher's table suits a sizeable gathering, and there's plenty of meat to keep you fed through several rounds, from house-made pates to a slow-roasted half pig's head.
Midtown East: American-Brewed Brews
Breweries from New York and the rest of the Northeast are featured prominently on this bar’s 16 rotating taps, but bottles and pours from around the U.S. contribute to a menu that is 50+ beers long. Bottles and drafts aren't your only imbibing options though: a selection of beer cocktails sees bartenders adding a splash of malted goodness to bourbon and gin-based drinks.