Those of us who have spent any substantial amount of time in Queens, or maybe were even born there or–gasp! the horror!–continue living there to this very day have long laughed at the fact that whenever you even mention Queens to people, they say, “Oooh, like Astoria? I love Astoria!” or, more recently, “Oh yeah, I know someone who once considered moving to Long Island City!” Well, there are other parts of Queens. Lots of them, even! And one of them is Glendale, a neighborhood just east of Ridgewood–another area that’s been picking up steam with Brooklyn types for a while now, thanks to its proximity to Bushwick–which also happens to be the home of a very promising new brewery.
Finback Brewery was founded in 2011 but just settled into its permanent Queens home earlier this year. That home is a 13,000-square-foot, sparklingly clean space that includes a tasting room, a barrel-aging room, and another room specifically dedicated to sour beers. They opened their doors to the public in early-May, and have been self-distributing their beers (draft only) to bars all over the city.
Among their beers you’ll want to check out, along with their very solid IPA and their floral, chamomile-infused Double Sess(ion) witbier, are Replicator and Starchild. The former is a Black Rye Pale Ale that boasts a good amount of floral and citrusy hop character as well as chocolatey roasted notes and a nice dose of rye spiciness. At 5.5% ABV, it’s like a lighter version of Firestone Walker’s outstanding Wookey Jack. Starchild, on the other hand, is a sour–and not just a mildly tart Berliner-Weisse or anything like that, but a full-fledged sour sour with lots of vinegar and apple jumping out in both aroma and taste before being rounded out ever so slightly by a little bit of sweet grapefruit on the finish.
The brewery is located at 78-01 77th Ave, in Queens. Tasting Room hours are 4-8pm Friday, 12-6pm Saturday, and 1-5pm Sunday. Tours are offered at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by and get many growlers filled, visit BeerMenus to see where else you can find their beers.
All photos by Robert Caputo.
Follow Mike Conklin on Twitter @MikeConklin.