For four years, Rockaway Brewing Co. didn’t exactly walk the walk. What was born as a homebrewing project in owners Ethan Long and Marcus Burnett’s Far Rockaway backyards turned into a small operational brewery that eschewed the namesake peninsula for Long Island City, Queens. Now the team has set up shop where it all began. A seven-minute walk from the beach, the expansive, 3,600-square-foot taproom—set inside an industrial garage space with picnic tables and metal barstools—attracts a scruffy group of Rockaway locals and visiting fixed-gear bikers who shoot the breeze over a chalkboard menu of six rotating taps and savor hyperlocal craft brews sans snobbery.
ORDER THIS: Six drafts (and a forthcoming cider by local producer Descendant Cider) compose an easy-to-explore menu; you can feasibly sample everything on tap if your liver’s up for it. (These brews come tall and strong though, so keep an eye on your pint count.) Start with the Summer Shandy ($7) comprised of the tart saison pharm (a traditional farmhouse ale) mixed with a light, tingly limonata for a refreshingly simple and low-key drink. The palatable Miss Congeniality of the bunch is the California-inspired 6.2 percent ABV Common Ale ($6), but for those who venture to the dark side, the Night Hop ($6) is the way to go: It’s a tasty crossover between a porter and an IPA, with a dark hue and a hoppy finish. Deeper and fuller yet is the barrel-aged 6.8 percent ABV Risky Business ($7), a robust porter blended with an English-style ale that goes down buttery-smooth.
GOOD FOR: A dose of beer-buzzed camaraderie that’s often hard to find in the hullabaloo of New York. The beers themselves are carefully crafted and good for the gulp, but you’ll keep coming back for the kind barkeep–bicycle-repairman (he’ll help unjam your bike chain between pours), who shares off-the-menu pours—like an experimental Scottish ale made by accidentally soured yeast—with transplants and regulars alike. And the hospitality extends beyond the bar staff. A recent night saw neighborhood folk order pizza to share among their newfound barstool brethren.
THE CLINCHER: RBC isn’t just for hop snobs. Beer questions as well as vinyl queries are answered with earnestness and a desire to connect. It’s not the place to go for a wallflower evening of book reading at the bar; you will be noticed and welcomed to contribute a drawing or thought to the gallery that’s adjacent to the bar, with prompts from the bartender like, “What’s the most important thing you know?” The beers will satisfy, but it’s the Cheers-ian, where-everybody-knows-your-name vibe that’ll keep you coming back. Upcoming sci-fi movie nights don’t hurt either.
|Venue name:||Rockaway Brewing Company|
415 Beach 72nd St
|Cross street:||between Failing Ave and Amstel Blvd|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 3–10pm; Fri–Sun noon–10pm|
|Price:||Average growler: $15|
|Do you own this business?|