On the corner of 46th Ave. and 5th St. in Long Island City, you’ll find a rustic brick warehouse decorated with brightly colored murals, but what everyone’s actually talking about lies behind the building’s red doors. Originally starting off as backyard homebrewing out in the Far Rockaways by two motivated surfing neighbors, the Rockaway Brewing Company now calls the borough of Queens home and has grown over a few short years to become one of New York City’s most passionate independent craft breweries. With money from their own pockets, plus the love and support of family, friends, and a successful Kickstarter campaign, co-founders Marcus Burnett and Ethan Long have been able to expand and strengthen their business into something truly epic.
They’ve created an amazing space within their brewery for production purposes but also for consumer experience. As quoted on their website, “Someone’s always around doing something interesting,” so why not stop by and see what’s going on! Right when you walk in, there’s a stand on the left to collect all the RBCo. swag you need (ranging from slap koozies, to trucker hats and pint glasses), which then opens up to a tasting bar and lounge area. Hand cut wooden stools scatter the room, and for stopping by on one of the first cold days of the season, the place was packed.
They’re open every day of the week (except Tuesday) til about 9 PM, but are open their longest on Saturday and Sunday (Sa: 12-10, Su: 12-9). Plus they offer free tours of the brewery on Fridays and over the weekend. A vintage pinball table attracts imbibers to the back corner, while the sounds of Jim Morrison and the Beach Boys resonate amidst the patron’s chatter. They’ve also got a studio/gathering space upstairs for workshops, events and dinners!
We got a chance to chat with one of co-founders, Marcus, as we perused the brewing rooms. He provided us with a bit of their history, how they started out at the Rockaways, then found this amazing space in Queens, and decided to make the move. His enthusiasm to be a part of the craft brewery world in New York was obvious, but he was very proud to be paving their own path together with Ethan and the entire team. As he said, they’re not the first to be doing this, nor will they be the last. And the best takeaway was that they’re doing what they love, and doing it really well. Their signature brew is the sweet yet malty Rockaway ESB (extra special bitter), and definitely hits the spot! Their other elixirs include a black gold stout, farmhouse saison, pale ale, ale aged in bourbon barrels, and much-much more.
So go grab a pint, a growler (or five), and get a taste of one of Queen’s rocking breweries, at the Rockaway Brewing Company! CHEERS!