I recently learned that an English travel blogger I’ve been corresponding with, Marion, was traveling to New York City for the first time with her son Mark. (You can find Marion’s blog, Love Travelling, here.) We arranged to meet in person while Marion was here. I wanted to take them somewhere beyond the usual tourist destinations in the city and decided that Long Island City would be our starting point. The plan was to taste some beer at Rockaway Brewing Company’s taproom before walking the short distance to Gantry Plaza State Park, by the East River, and watching the sunset over Manhattan.
Rockaway Brewing Company is located in an old brick manufacturing building that has some great murals painted on the side.
Here are a couple of photos of the murals on the side of the building.
A sign painted on the side of the building appears to explain the bicycle theme:
Because we arrived at the taproom at 3:00 pm on a Thursday, right after it opened, we had the place to ourselves for a little while. We took advantage of the intimate atmosphere, talking about Marion and Mark’s adventures in New York City to that point and learning more about the beer. Rockaway offers 8 beers on tap, as well as a couple of special beers, as demonstrated by their chalkboard. Some of the beers are always available, while others are seasonal. Here’s the list of what was on tap during our visit. (They also serve draft cider from Descendant Cider, a local cider maker – a great option if you are with someone who doesn’t like beer.)
The brewery has two set tasting flights: the “classic” flight, which consists of beers that are regularly available, and the “other” flight, which are the seasonal beers. You can also choose to mix and match. On this occasion, I decided to create my own flight, as seen in the photo below. From left to right, we have the Helles, the Winter Whistler, the Extra Stout, and the Nitro Black Gold Stout.
All four beers were delicious. Rockaway makes very drinkable beers. As you can probably tell from the tasting flight I selected, I have a soft spot for stouts. Both of these stouts were absolutely delicious and still distinctly different from each other. They had a smoothness, with the Extra Stout having more distinct chocolate notes, and the Black Gold having a lovely suggestion of coffee so often present in a good stout. I would definitely order any of the beers I tried again. The bar manager also gave us bags of Cape Cod kettle chips to snack on, which was a nice touch.
It was a cold day out, and the tap room was nice and cozy. There’s nice seating in the bar area, but there is also another space upstairs which is perfect if you come with a small group of people. Another fun thing about Rockaway – they often host pop-up dining options that change regularly. The food is usually available on weekends only, so we didn’t get to sample anything during our Thursday visit – but that just provides an excuse to come back again! Check the brewery’s events calendar if you’re interested in one of Rockaway Brewing’s pop-up food events.
On the weekend, the brewery also offers tours of their brewing room. I actually went back last weekend to take the tour since it wasn’t offered during our Thursday visit. (The second visit also gave me the chance to try beers I didn’t try the first time! They were all delicious too.) The tour was interesting and informative, and I was left with a new appreciation for the process of putting beers into cans! Here are a couple of photos I took from the tour.
Rockaway Brewing is one of my favorite places to go in Long Island City, and a great destination to take visitors. If traveling by subway, take the E or the M to the Court Square-23rd Street Station (the M train only runs Monday through Friday), the G to the 21st Street-Van Alst Station, or the 7 train to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue.