brewpub (n.) – a restaurant where beer is brewed on the premises
What an amazing concept though rarely seen in this beautiful city. Brewpubs are great: you get great food alongside the freshest beer you could wish for. So why aren’t there more of them? Legally speaking, it’s very difficult to open a brewery within a restaurant because then a whole new set of laws are in play. On top of that, you have to hire a brewmaster! For these reasons, there are only three brewpubs in New York City but rather than wallow in the sorry state of things, I’ll celebrate what we do have. Here’s your guide to NYC’s brewpubs:
200 Fifth Avenue nr. 23rd Street
Birreria falls under the umbrella of Eataly, a popular Italian eatery located just south of the Midtown area. The fact that Birreria (“brewery” in Italian) is brewing cask-ale beer on-site is only highlighted by the fact that the bar is located on the roof of the building. This makes for a beautiful view of the city, which includes the Met Life and Empire State buildings. However, no brewpub is complete without its share of choice items to keep imbibers from getting too drunk and Birreria delivers by serving hearty dishes ranging in price from $8-$24. Patrons are invited to indulge in generous sausage platters, gussied up mushroom plates and hardy veggies like Brussels sprouts, beets and potatoes. For those who’d like more varied fare, Birreria offers a cavalcade of draft/bottle beers and wines. And all under the warm rays of a spring that is fully underway. It doesn’t get better than that.
Chelsea Brewing Company
59 Chelsea Piers Roadway
Chelsea Brewing Company is a bit out of the way but it’s certainly worth the trip if only for the fantastic view of the Hudson River. Since 1995, this brewpub has proved to be prolific, becoming the largest microbrewery in the city and contributing to the rich nightlife culture of the neighborhood. The menu is pretty basic, inviting attendees to choose from burgers, mussels, steaks, chili, and a variety of comfort foods. However, the food isn’t the main attraction. They don’t called it the Chelsea Brewing Company for nothing! This brewpub has an impressive beer selection numbering in the teens and ranging from blonde ales to brunette stouts. And all of it is made in-house! For those who don’t feel like beer, the CBC offers wines, scotch and liquor as well. As it gets warmer, they’ll open up their outdoor cafe allowing patrons to enjoy the sun and the seaway.
508 Restaurant & Bar
508 Greenwich Street nr. Spring Street
This elegant brewpub is pretty close to my heart because as I’ve mentioned, I’ve met and hung out with the brewmaster behind it! 508 was opened in August of 2012 by chef Jennifer Hill. Their menu has all the comfort of CBC’s with all the style of Birreria and includes artisan pizzas, roasted duck and lamb burgers ranging in price from $14-$27. Until last fall, Hill’s husband was the chief brewer at 508 when they hired Chris Cuzme, an enthusiastic member of NYC’s craft beer community who began his career as a homebrewer in 2001 and now brews full-time at this West Village gastrobrewery. Unlike Chelsea Brewing Company and Birreria, 508 only offers their in-house brews alongside a curated wine list but I can vouch for their brewery. They’ve given Cuzme complete freedom over what he brews and it shows. Visit 508 for the atmosphere, stay for the beer.