If you’re a beer lover (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) a trip to the city isn’t complete without a visit to Brooklyn Brewery’s home base in northern Williamsburg. The brewery has a tasting room featuring a wide variety of its beers, plus tours of its facilities six days a week — some of them free.
Brooklyn Brewery photo courtesy of Ina L. via Yelp.
The company was founded in 1987 by former Associated Press reporter Steve Hindy and his Park Slope neighbor, Tom Potter. At first, they manufactured their beer out of nearby Utica. By 1994, they’d hired renowned beer man Garrett Oliver as brewmaster. In 1996, they opened their current Williamsburg HQ and introduced varieties beyond their signature Brooklyn Lager.
Hindy and Potter’s move ushered in a renaissance for Kings County brewing. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Brooklyn was a beer-making hub — at one point, there were almost 50 breweries in the borough. But local companies fell into decline after Prohibition and the rise of nationally distributed beer brands. Other companies have since followed in Brooklyn Brewery’s footsteps, including Sixpoint and Greenpoint Beer Works.
Inside the brewery where the magic happens | Shauna D. via Yelp
The Brooklyn Brewery holds free tours on Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis. These fill up fast, so your best bet is to show up early: Tickets are given out at the company store an hour or an hour and a half before each tour. Afterward, try the beers for yourself in the Tasting Room—beer tokens are $5 each, or five or $20. There’s no food served, but you’re allowed to order some or bring your own to soak up all those suds.
Brooklyn’s finest brews | Michelle L. via Yelp
If you’d rather shell out the money and avoid the crowds, make an online reservation for a Small Batch tour, held at 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday ($10). Reservations need to be made at least a month in advance, so plan accordingly. This smaller tour includes beer tastings and a free glass, and at the end, you’ll have the Tasting Room to yourself. (Well, you and the 29 other people on the tour).
And if you don’t need a tour at all, just drinks, queue up on Friday nights starting at 5 p.m. to imbibe in the tasting room. There’s also an on-site store where you can buy Brooklyn Brewery T-shirts, glasses, and other branded knicknacks (the logo was designed by Milton Glaser, a.k.a. the “I