With the new Brooklyn Brewery opening and more and more bars offering extensive local brew options, it’s clear that New Yorkers are consistently choosing tasty microbrews over Bud Light. And in that quest for hometown beer, sometimes you have to go to the source. Above is our guide to the city’s best microbrews that are named for the bars in which they’re served and often available only at that location. You can even use the map to go on your own beer tour of the city! Or you can just stay at one and drink all day. We don’t judge.
Blue & Gold: The cheap scotch and pool table might be the main draws at this East Village standby, but it’s also the only place in the city to find their Blue & Gold lager. The hay-colored pints are light but flavorful, enough to be refreshing in the summer but still hearty and filling in the winter. And for $4 (or $5 for that an a shot of SoCo), you can’t beat the price. It’s pretty much the reason we look at anyone who orders PBR in there with disdain.
79 E 7th Street, (212) 473-8918
Heartland Brewery: The decor has always reminded us a bit more of a TGI Fridays than an old-fashioned brewery, but for sheer choice of original brews New York chain Heartland Brewery is hard to beat. And as Brewmaster Kelly Tayor said, “It’s really important to drink locally. Fresh beer is just better.” With both seasonal and year-round brews, there’s something for everyone, whether it’s a light apricot ale or an oatmeal stout. Our personal favorite is the Mother’s Milk Maibock, a knock-you-on-your-ass German-style beer with lots of malt and citrus.
Rudy’s Bar & Grill: We’re not sure what goes into Rudy’s Blonde and Rudy’s Red. It could be their own brew. It could be rejected batches from local breweries. It could just be Coors. They won’t tell us and we don’t really care, because Blonde is $7 a pitcher and Red is $9. Pair that with free Hebrew National hot dogs and you’ve got yourself a cheap date night. Or breakfast—they open at 8 a.m.
627 9th Avenue, (212) 974-9169
Brooklyneer: Have you gotten over the whole Brooklyn-themed-restaurant-in-Manhattan issue with Brooklyneer? If not, here’s another reason why you should. Along with their extensive beer menu [pdf] is their Brooklyneer Lager, a 4.5% ABV beer on tap. It can be enjoyed for $4 a mug in house or taken to-go in a growler. One Yelp reviewer says it “goes down easy,” though another complains the mugs don’t hold enough beer. Well, it is still Manhattan.
220 West Houston Street, (646) 692-4911
McSorley’s: We know you can get bottles of the bar’s famous light and dark ales in most bodegas around the city, and that other bars carry it on tap, but it just never tastes as good as it does in mugs carried to your table by the dozen. We’ll still defer to the source for this brew, meant to be enjoyed under cobwebbed chandeliers and framed news clippings. Unfortunately, the beer hasn’t been brewed in New York for some time (it’s currently made by Pabst Brewing Co.), but we’re willing to overlook that. Location, however crowded, is everything.
15 East 7th Street, (212) 474-9148
Chelsea Brewing Company: We’ve never had any particular desire to drink our beer next to a golf driving range, but this is New York dammit, and if we can we will! Located at Pier 59, Chelsea Brewing Company serves “up to 20 handcrafted premium beers” with gourmet bar food and views of the Hudson river. Beers include the Checker Cab Blonde Ale, modeled after German Kolsch beer, and the Sunset Red Ale. Yelp reviewers also recommend the seasonal Winter Wheat and Black Hole Stout, and no matter what you’re drinking it’s worth the schlep for the outdoor seating in the summer.
59 Chelsea Piers, (212) 336-6440