Just spent 5 nights based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Man, how the beer scene has changed in the three years since I was last there! Last time it was all about regional/national beer, great beer lists all around, but filled almost totally with stuff from outside the NYC area. This time, 90% or more of my drinking was local.
Greenpoint made a GREAT jump off point for doing stuff around NYC with my family. It's a bit of a subway hike to get around, but so worth coming back to a "quiet" neighborhood at night. My hotel was a 5 minute walk to Torst.
- Torst: Such a cool spot, and the one place where I didn't drink that much NYC product. Well curated list of beers with huge range. Was there multiple times both busy and quiet. Very nice spot to sit and chill when it's quiet, that's for sure.
- Greenpoint Beer and Ale: A great example of something from nothing not that long ago. Huge brewpub space, lots of great taps, fun vibe. Take home cans (note they were more expensive on site than I saw at WF the next day, glad I waited). Beers were all solid to VERY good.
- Threes @ Franklin + Kent: Another great Greenpoint spot that didn't exist not that long ago. Big pub space, cool vibe. Was quiet on a weeknight. Maybe a dozen of their taps/cans available, full bar and food.
- Gingerman: great spot with tons of local/regional/national beer. Food was solid, vibe was fun late on a weekday afternoon. Note kids are kicked out at 6pm. Grr.
- Randolph: good respite from the Chinatown craziness. Great beer list with solid local and regional beer. OH, Interboro, some Vermont stuff as well including HF and Sip of Sunshine.
- House of Brews: needed to get away from Times Square to eat with family. Meh. But likely one of the better beer/family options around. Few dozen big brand craft taps (Founders, Lagunitas etc).
- Spuyten Duyvil: meh. I didn't get the fuss here at all. Were maybe 2 people in the whole place including the nice back garden on a Saturday afternoon, but bar staff seemed to have better stuff to do (i.e. talk to each other) than serve me. 6 taps, nothing remarkable and crazy expensive. Lots of bottles, but CRAZY expensive and finding something is an excercise in ADHD testing. Stuff on random chalk boards all around bar. Is there a beer catalog of bottles? Anyway, too many awesome spots to drink beer in NYC to bother for where I sit.
- Other Half: Yeah, did the can line on Saturday morning. I'm not a person who normally lines up for beer, but went down hoping it wouldn't be as bad as I feared. Arrived maybe 5 minutes after opening, and it took me nearly an hour to get my beer. Very generous can limits, which would have been great had I had a vehicle instead of riding the subway. Taproom looked like lots of fun, but I was carrying 20 cans of beer in my backpack, and the room was jam packed.
- Interboro: this was a fun spot. A dozen or so of their beer on tap, cans to take home. Beer was very good, vibe was chill and fun.
- Whole Foods: multiple locations including Bedford in Brooklyn and Gowanus near OH... meh. Never found one with that great of a beer selection to really rave about. The one on Bedford had some Greenpoint cans.
NYC was already a great beer destination a few years ago, lots of great bars, lots of great taplists, but now with the growth of the local industry (OH, threes, Interboro, LIC, Greenpoint, etc etc) you get the best of both worlds. I was also surprised at how present Vermont was around town. Saw bottles of Foley and Frost at some bars, many HF taps around town (the Jeffrey had 6 HF taps one afternoon, but I wasn't able to make it). Sip of Sunshine was on tap at a few places I was at or near.