There is no such thing as the “best” brewery
I will be bold as the headline indicates. There is no best brewery in the world and there is no best brewery in Brooklyn. We as a society, and specifically as beer drinkers, have become so obsessed with rankings and hype and prestige that we forget to enjoy the bliss of things in the moment: a delicious meal, a subtle wine, a refreshing beer.
Beer is about time and place as well as flavor. Nobody ever heard “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers during a baptism and proclaimed it the world’s best song in the same way nobody heard Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will remember You” and wanted to get the party started. There are simply too many variables to influence why a beer, or a brewery, is special. Many of these things can’t be squeezed objectively onto a list. It’s about what you’re in the mood for, who you’re with and how you perceive something in that moment. So here is our “Un-list.” These are breweries that make great beer that we have enjoyed lately. We think you’ll enjoy them too--just don’t tell us which one is the best.
Folksbier is a place you would want to get lost in on a rainy day. It’s a beautiful, spacious taproom with gorgeous wooden tables, high ceilings and handmade taps. There is plenty of room to grab a table for a big group, or if you’re on your own you can saddle up to the handsome bar. Bring a board game, a book or old friends and pass the day.
The beer also lends itself perfectly to making drinking an activity. Light, and packed with flavor, you can’t have just one. Check out any one of their “Glowups,” a rotating sour series that features versions brewed with raspberry, Mandarin oranges or pineapple. The Helles simple lager is outstanding, clean drinking, and the Magdalena is impossible to put down. Hop heads won’t be able to blow their faces off with IBU but the Solar Boar pale ale is appropriately hoppy and delicious.
Since you’ll be drinking all day, don’t forget to eat. Pick up a soft pretzel with beer cheese or jerky made by Prime Meats, or an order of phenomenal pickles from a German outfit in Queens. No matter what you get I guarantee you’ll be back.
Other Half Brewing
Other Half does not have the same welcoming space that Folksbier has but they do have some of the best hoppy beers on the East Coast. The taproom is the size of your friend’s studio apartment but not a bad place to hangout if there’s the room. The bulk of the transactions are done during Saturday can releases. Chances are you’ll have to wait in line for some of the suds but if you’ve never done it, or you’re dying to try Other Half in cans, it might be worth it. Their imperial IPAs--such as classics like All Green Everything, Mosaic Dream and Green Diamonds-- are always outstanding, as are their normal IPAs like Hop Showers and their west coast version of the India Pale Ale.
What really sets them apart, and makes them so hugely popular, are their one-off brews and collaborations. A recent release featured three IPAs named Broccoli, Cheddar and Cabbage. They have collaborated with Trillium Brewing, Barrier Brewing, Monkish Brewing and a ton more. If you want these rare beers, be prepared to wait, but chances are you won’t be disappointed. If you like hops, this is your stop.
Threes was one of our first loves in Brooklyn after it opened in late 2014. The beer is good but it is also an exceptional space. The brewery/ bar features large booths, a selection of tables and ample room at a long bar indoors, as well as an expansive outdoor space where you can enjoy your draft under the shade of a hop trellis. In addition to those spaces, there is also a coffee bar up a small flight of stairs that features more seating, a to-go cooler full of beer (Threes’ own and other hard-to-find favorites) and a performance space for musicians.
Grab one of their fresh IPAs such as Unreliable Narrator, I Hate Myself or Chronic Myopia, a refreshing pilsner called Vliet, or for something darker, the Baltic Porter Voluntary Exile. At one point you could get an Involuntary Exile, which included a shot of rye in the beer and did usually end up with someone getting kicked out (They no longer have this on the menu, for obvious reasons). They have started canning beers for sale at the brewery, and you can usually order the canned beer online in advance. For those who may have friends who aren’t beer drinkers (dump them!) there are also cocktails and wine. In the past they would rotate restaurants through the kitchen but now the Meat Hook has a permanent residence. Grab some fries or a burger and camp out on the patio as the weather warms up.
They’re always making fresh beer, so the list may change but the constants are delicious beer, plenty of space and good times.
Strong Rope Brewery
Located not far from Threes, Strong Rope is a New York S farm brewery that makes their tasty beer with all New York State ingredients. Not only are the beers made with local products but everything done at the brewery is imbued with a feeling of community and local flavor. Visit their taproom and try any of their unique offerings such as Dr. Maltenstein, a flavorful golden ale; Thomas the Stumbling Buffalo, a boozy barleywine; or American Wheat, which needs no explanation.
They offer brewery tours for $5 every Saturday at 2 p.m. and it includes a sample-size beer of your choice. The space is bright and features a gorgeous bar made from local wood but the tour won’t take you more than 20 minutes or so. You can also bring in your own food and there are tons of great options in the area. Order some ribs from the nearby Dinosaur BBQ, grab a stout and slowly slip into your happy place.