Booze tours in New York City: Breweries, distilleries and wineries

Temps are dropping! Get all warm and buzzy by taking a tour of these New York City alcohol purveyors, including Brooklyn Brewery.

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Photograph: Michael Kirby Smith
Brooklyn Brewery
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Photograph: Michael Kirby Smith
Brooklyn Brewery
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Photograph: Dan D'Ippolito / Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn Brewery
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Photograph: Jolie Ruben
Chelsea Brewing Company
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Photograph: Courtesy SingleCut Beersmiths
SingleCut Beersmiths
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Photograph: Courtesy Breuckelen Distilling
Breuckelen Distilling
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Photograph: Courtesy Industry City Distillery
Industry City Distillery
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King’s County Distillery
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Photograph: Alex Patterson
New York Distilling Company
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Photograph: Courtesy Van Brunt Stillhouse
Van Brunt Stillhouse
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Photograph: Courtesy Van Brunt Stillhouse
Van Brunt Stillhouse
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Brooklyn Winery
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City Winery
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Photograph: Michael Anstendig
Red Hook Winery

Breweries

Brooklyn Brewery

As the expansion of this stalwart New York brewery nears completion, it’s a prime time to drop in for one of its 45-minute guided tasting tours or gratis ten-minute walkthroughs. During the former, you’ll sip four beers—including seasonal and rare Brewmaster’s Reserve pours. Don’t worry, you can still imbibe during the freebie tour by nabbing a pint ($5, five for $20) in the tasting room. During your stroll, peep the eight new fermentation tanks that were shipped over from Germany, each holding up to 45,000 pints at a time. • 718-486-7422, brooklynbrewery.com. Free tour: Sat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5pm; Sun 1, 2, 3, 4pm; free. Paid tour: Mon–Thu 5pm; $8; reservations required via brooklynbrewery.com/tours.

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Williamsburg

Chelsea Brewing Company

On Saturdays, take a free tour of Manhattan’s largest microbrewery, which houses fully automatic grain-handling and bottling systems. When you’re finished with your walk, which includes a complimentary beer, swig through a few of the 20 handcrafted brews ($6, all made on premises) while relaxing along the stylish copper-topped bar. • 212-336-6440, chelseabrewingco.com. Sat 2, 3, 4, 5, 6pm; free.

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Flatiron

SingleCut Beersmiths

Queens, a borough laden with beer makers before Prohibition, returns to its frothy roots with its first full-scale brewery in decades. The yet-to-open 30-barrel brew house will have a taproom outfitted with lagering tanks, a stage for live music and refillable growlers for purchase ($20–$30). SingleCut plans to host free tasting tours each Saturday, when you can sample the solely-brewed-in-Astoria beers, including the 19-33 Lagrrr!, a German pilsner, and the PNW Mahogany Ale, an American Amber. • singlecutbeer.com. Sat time TBA; free. Opens late November.

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Astoria

Distilleries

Breuckelen Distilling

Labels from this Sunset Park distillery seem more and more commonplace at bars throughout NYC. The two-year-old craft-spirits producer uses only New York–grown barley, rye and corn for its gins and whiskeys. During the hour-long free tour, check out the American-oak barrels that age Breuckelen’s booze, and meet the distillers. Afterward, wet your whistle with a sampling ($3) in the tasting room next door. • 347-725-4985, brkdistilling.com. Sat 2pm; free; e-mail info@brkdistilling.com to confirm the space is open.

Industry City Distillery

Industry City, a group of repurposed waterfront warehouses that until 1974 was called Bush Terminal, houses this Brooklyn distillery built by five pals, all newbies in the alcohol industry. During ICD’s free tour, spot house-made items like a $3,000 yeast propagator tank that normally retails for more than $300,000 and a letterpress for bottle labels. Along with the golden Willy Wonka–inspired ticket you receive with your tour, you’ll also have a chance to taste the goods (again, for free). • 917-727-5309, drinkicd.com. Sun 4pm; e-mail tours@drinkicd.com for reservations; free.

King's County Distillery

This whiskey distillery pumps handcrafted, organic-corn-based moonshines and bourbons in the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s 112-year-old Paymaster Building. Using only New York grain, old-school distilling practices (for example, aging whiskey for at least 14 months in charred-oak barrels) and minimal packaging, Kings County Distillery harkens back to a pre-Prohibition NYC. The 45-minute tour grants admission to the KCD’s “Boozeum,” which displays old photos and newspaper clippings about NYC’s distilling history, and includes three slugs of the hard stuff. • kingscountydistillery.com. Sat 2:30–5:30pm; $8.

New York Distilling Company

One of the three company founders will likely lead your tour of this Williamsburg distillery. Enjoy a guided tasting of spirits like the Perry’s Tot 114-proof Navy Strength Gin (the only navy-strength gin produced in the country) and the Dorothy Parker American Gin (a contemporary-style gin infused with elderberry and dried hibiscus petals). After marveling at the 1,000-liter copper-pot still, have a couple more drinks inside the company’s on-site cocktail bar, the Shanty. • 718-878-3579, nydistilling.com. Mon–Thu 6–7pm; e-mail info@nydistilling.com to reserve a weekend tour; free.

Van Brunt Stillhouse

This Red Hook spot brings spirits like New York grain whiskey, Due North rum, Red Hook grappa and moonshine back to the borough where they were once heavily produced. Although there are no tastings on this tour, you can investigate the process behind copper-pot distilling every Sunday. • vanbruntstillhouse.com. Sun 4pm; free.

Wineries

Brooklyn Winery

After taking a thorough 35-minute behind-the-scenes look at this Williamsburg winery, opt to pony up for a flight of three wines of your choice ($16–$18) at the bar. Our tip? Ask about the recently unveiled peak wines that have been aging since before the spot’s 2010 opening. These limited-run selections include a 2007 cabernet sauvignon, a 2010 North Fork blend and a 2010 Old Vine zinfandel. • 347-763-1506, bkwinery.com. Wed 7, 8, 9pm; Sat, Sun 2, 3, 4pm; free.

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Williamsburg

City Winery

For 50 bones, embark on a paired tasting at this Soho restaurant, bar and music venue. Tours include your choice of three vinos (typically made on-site) and crostini covered with chickpea puree, shaved cucumber, baby fennel and toasted cumin-orange vinaigrette, among other toppings. • 212-608-0555, citywinery.com. Mon–Fri 5:30pm; Sat, Sun 3–5pm; e-mail tours@citywinery.com for reservations; $50.

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Downtown

Red Hook Winery

Red Hook has become a stronghold of the Brooklyn DIY food and drink movement, with artisanal chocolate, vermouth and other goodies spilling from the cobblestoned community. In April, the ’hood upped its quota of locally sourced fare with the opening of Red Hook Winery, which uses exclusively New York State grapes to make riesling, sauvignon blanc and other wines. On weekends, the warehouse hosts 30-minute public tasting tours (three samples $5, six samples of reserve wines $12) and private paired tastings with Saxelby Cheese ($15 and up). • 347-689-2432, redhookwinery.com. Public tour: Sat, Sun noon–4pm. Private tour: E-mail info@redhookwinery.com for reservations.

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