First Look: Scoping Out NYC’s Newest Craft Beer Spots

Because the city can’t seem to go a week without a new beer spot opening, First Look is our roundup of the latest places to open that specialize in craft beer - bars, restaurants, and stores. This week, we take a look at four new spots from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn.

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NYC Brewers Guild to rock the block off at “Blocktoberfest”

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This block may not look like much now, but come September, it’ll be full of beer and revelry. The New York City Brewers Guild will hold their first-ever block party, a fundraiser for the Guild and New York City Beer Week, on Saturday, September 20th. And it’s on a block that already sees lots of beer: the block of Waverly Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Fulton Street in Clinton Hill that houses KelSo Beer Company. It’s called “Blocktoberfest,” and it’ll be one of your last times to enjoy a great local beer outside before it cools off.

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The farce of the word “harvest”

These beers have already appeared on shelves in New York City, long before their ingredients are actually harvested.

The early release of pumpkin beers has drawn our ire many times (too many times, one might say). This year, we saw pumpkin beers on the shelves as early as June, and argued that brewers might as well blow up the whole seasonal beer calendar and just make them year-round.

But we noticed another trend in craft beer this year — one that’s a sign that “seasonal creep” has practically encouraged dishonesty: gross misuse of the word “harvest.”

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The top beers brewed in New York City: Summer Edition

Three of the city’s ten highest-rated beers are on this menu.

Untappd is - pardon the pun - an untapped wealth of knowledge about beer. With millions of beer check-ins and ratings, there’s so much data to peruse. So, each quarter, we provide an update on a pressing question: what are the top rated beers brewed in the five boroughs?

We figured we’d provide an update on the Top 10 beers by rating. A reminder on methodology: we pulled the ratings for every beer brewed in New York City and their ratings. We also had a cutoff of minimum check-ins (100) for a beer in order for it to be included, so we could get a fair sample size. This means some smaller, newer breweries weren’t included, Brooklyn’s beers brewed in Utica are not included, and Sixpoint was not included, since they do not register or label the origin of their beers. In total, we tracked 141 beers from 14 different beer brands brewed in the city.

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Beercation: Omaha. Yes, Omaha.

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I might have been a little drunk when I decided to go to Omaha to scope out their beer scene. But when I found a round-trip flight for $175 and discovered that flight fell on the day of Nebraska Brewing Company’s anniversary celebration, I was fairly certain that I had made a good decision. My friends, however, thought otherwise. “You’re going to Omaha? Like… just for fun,” they asked incredulously. I’d like to think that we New Yorkers aren’t stereotypically opposed to the concept of visiting “flyover states,” but the reaction I got to planning a trip to Nebraska made me think the disdain other parts of the country have for us was totally justified.

But they did bring up a good point: what, exactly, is redeeming about Omaha? And what do we know about it other than steaks, Warren Buffet, or the inspiration for an album track by the Counting Crows? And why would a New Yorker visit Nebraska’s largest city as a tourist? There’s a pretty reasonable answer these days: for the beer. Omaha’s beer scene is growing by leaps and bounds, and with a vibrant music and arts scene to boot, it’s no longer just a city you should see from your window seat on a transcontinental flight.

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About me

New York City's source for local news about craft beer, beer bars, and beer culture in the five boroughs and beyond. | Editor: Chris O'Leary