No, we didn't say "New York City," we said Brooklyn, and there's a reason for it. Brooklyn has a nice little brewing heritage dating back to the days of Rheingold, but the past 15 years or so have done as many wonders for the borough's beer as they've done for the borough itself. A decade or so ago, you were lucky if you could get your hands on a pizza, a deck of playing cards and a table in Brooklyn Brewery to sample some of brewmaster Garrett Oliver's wares.
Today, SixPoint Brewery floods the East Coast with tallboys of its experimental brews (though renovations have temporarily closed it to tours), Greenpoint's KelSo Brewery is keeping it more traditional and local and Brooklyn Brew Shop has been converting beer lovers at the Brooklyn Flea and elsewhere to home brewing one $40 beer-making kit at a time. It's not a bad place to knock a few back, either.Brooklyn's put together an awe-inspiring collection of craft beer bars in a relatively short span. The beer garden, cask and scant six drafts at Williamsburg's Spuyten Duyvil have only been around since 2003, but it's the grand old haunt of Brooklyn's beer scene compared with what's opened since. Beer Table is not only moving its vintage beers and food pairings to a larger location, but doling out beers in 64-ounce growlers at its retail outpost across the river at Grand Central Station. Meanwhile, bottle shop/taproom/cheese shop/chocolatier/sandwich shops Bierkraft was not only the first in New York to fill growlers, but its 18 taps flow even more freely during its free beer and food tastings on Tuesdays.