I had put “Rockaway Brewing Co” on my phone in Google maps and was surprised when the pin didn’t land in Rockaway, but in Long Island City in Queens. But don’t be fooled, the whole story began in Rockaway.
This Wednesday I took the G train from Brooklyn up to Queens to meet up with the gang at Rockaway Brewing Company. I was well taken care of by Ethan and Marcus (founders of the brewery) and Justine (tastingroom and events).
The owners, Mark and Ethan. Image courtesy of www.timeout.com
If you’re lucky you can take a sneak peak while they’re brewing.
Ethan and Mark met each other through their old jobs in commercial. Ethan built sets and Mark was (and still is) a cinematographer. Mark had a bungalow in Rockaway and shorty after Ethan bought one too. They were both home brewers and started brewing together. After a trip they did with their families through America they realized the lack of breweries in NYC and decided to get a license to start selling their own beers. The goal was to sell their beers at the Rockaway boardwalk. They quickly realized they needed to brew more in volume and get a space with bigger equipment. Ethan had a business in Long Island City so they used that space and some more to finally open up their own brewery. This was three years ago. The location used to be a meat packing plant and there are some pretty interesting and cool decors left after that. And it is perfect for hosing when cleaning in the brewery since the floors already has drains.
Old meat smokers from the old days when this was a meat packing plant.
What used to be the butcher room, is now the tasting room, a cool hang out for people in the neighbourhood or visiting thirsty guests. The brewery is very convenient located, as it is easy to get there, from a lot of places, with the E, M, G and the 7 train close by. They just recently expanded their opening hours in the tasting room and are now open everyday except for Tuesdays. So if you are close by, go in and have a beer or a growler to take away!
Drink a pint, a flight or fill your growler. You choose!
The beers are brewed in a 5 bbl DME brewing system with two vessels. They have seven fermentor tanks (3×5 bbl, 3×10 bbl and 1×15 bbl) and two bright beer tanks. They produce around 30-35 barrels a week and usually brew two batches on a brew day, but when I was there they were brewing three batches in a row. A long day for the brewers… Their ESB was brewing which is their first beer ever, and one of their classics. It is an ESB with an American twist, and very delicious!
Ethan checking on the level of the wort while cooling and transfering it to the fermentor tank.
So far, all beers has been kegged and served either at their tasting room or at bars around the city. But today, as I am writing this, they are canning their first beer ever. They are using a mobile canning line and it is their ESB going into those 16oz cans. They will only be sold at the brewery for the moment, but the plan is to get them in stores eventually.
There is a big demand of their beers and the only way to meet that is to expand. So at the moment they are looking for a bigger space in Rockaway. So cross your fingers that they find something soon, so we can see more of their beers out there!
Everyone here is super friendly, love what they do and has a great passion for beer. I can highly recommend coming here for some cold brews and if you’re lucky you might get a sneak peak of the brewery.