Last weekend I visited Bridge and Tunnel Brewery‘s new tap room in Ridgewood, Queens. Currently served in a number of restaurants and bars in New York City, Bridge and Tunnel recently moved from nano-brewery to micro brewery status. One reason why this brewery intrigued me was its back story: Bridge and Tunnel’s founder, Rich Catagna, started the brewery in his garage. He recently just opened the new location, complete with tap room, at 15-35 Decatur Street in Ridgewood. (Currently, the tap room is open on Saturdays; check the brewery’s website for announcements about any additional hours.)
I hadn’t been to this area of Ridgewood before. The area close to the brewery seems fairly industrial, but don’t let its location intimidate you. Behind Bridge and Tunnel’s small entrance is a warm, cozy space–the perfect place to hang out with friends on a Saturday afternoon.
The bar is small but comfortable, and Rich has built long wooden tables for his guests to sit at. Guests are welcome to order local food for delivery, and there’s an excellent pizza place close by. There are also wine barrels set up with bar stools for additional seating. On the day I went, the space was filled with friends and neighbors, but I immediately made friends even though I came in by myself. It’s that kind of place–you feel immediately welcome, and you’ll definitely enjoy yourself.
Now for the beer. I have to admit I was a little skeptical, as I have had my share of bad craft beer. But I really, really enjoyed it. I got a sampler so that I could try four beers: 20 Spot and a Switchblade Coffee Cream Ale, Sewer Alligator Spiced Honey Wheat, Angry Amel Dunkelweizen, and Bone Orchard Vanilla Porter. (In addition to tasting great, the beers have great names, with great stories behind them!)
My favorite was the Vanilla Porter. One of Rich’s friends had made cheesecake bites with a Vanilla Porter caramel sauce, which really complemented the beer. This would be a great pairing for a holiday party. The Coffee Cream Ale was a lovely surprise as well. It had a subtle coffee flavor, but different than the dark coffee-flavored beers I’ve tried in the past. I enjoyed the Dunkelweizen too–it is a great drinking beer.
The brewing takes place in the back half of the space, currently separated from the tap room by a high metal fence. The lighting makes it a feature of the space.
How do you get to Bridge and Tunnel Brewery? As usual, I got there by public transportation. Take the L Train to the Halsey Street stop. The brewery is only a few short blocks from the subway station.