The Chitwood family just got back from a lovely vacay in Folly Beach, South Carolina! While there we drank a lot of good beer (..and rosé..and prosecco..). The SC beer scene had definitely improved since our last trip. The highlight of the week was finally visiting Westbrook Brewing Company, a longtime favorite of the Barley Babes.
Westbrook only packages a handful of their beers, and we were excited to see a draft list filled with brews we’d never tried, or for that matter, heard of. Maddy ordered a flight of small pours for group, and we got a few pints as well. Two standouts from M’s flight were the Key Lime Pie Gose and Coconut Weisse Weisse Baby. The KLPG is loaded with tangy, sour lime and rounds out with a graham cracker finish. Maddy noted graham cracker on the nose too; Westbrook nailed this one! The table also enjoyed my pint of juicy Nelson Sauvin IPA. It’s the style of IPA I’ve come to expect from NYC breweries like Grimm and Other Half. Finally, we were excited to try the Mexican Cupcake, a session version of Westbrook’s hyped imperial stout brewed with habanero peppers. The cupcake didn’t quite live up to the cake, but it’s nice that you can experience almost the same flavor profile in a lighter, lower ABV beer. Great for summer!
Now it’s time for some NYC brewery action! I found out about Bridge and Tunnel and Rich Castagna when I first started working at Hops and Hocks. One of our draft lines was occupied by a brewer that brewed in his garage in Queens, and who was currently working on building out a tasting room entirely on his own?? That’s pretty neat. Fast forward one year and the Bridge and Tunnel tasting room is officially open in Ridgewood!
Since opening at the end of November, B&T has expanded their tasting room hours from Saturdays only to Friday-Sunday. Last Sunday evening we took a pleasant walk to the cozy tasting room for some pints and coloring.
B&T has more of a neighborhood vibe than any other NYC brewery I’ve visited. Those sitting at the bar were clearly regulars, and excitedly answered questions about the beers and tasting room. The space is industrial, yet homey, with colored lights hanging above the bar, long wooden tables, and a decent selection of board games. We easily found a table and sipped our beers while working on illustrations for B&T’s “Tank Fund Color Off.” The color off is to raise awareness about the small crowdfund campaign they’re launching in March to raise money for a unitank fermenter and chiller. Rich’s daughters are choosing the winner of the color off!
I started with a super flavorful rye DIPA, while Matt and Kitty Kat chose two of the darker selections on the menu (Rich’s specialty), and Allison tried a blackberry kombucha. Kat analyzed the differences between B&T’s vanilla porter (Bone Orchard) and that of Woodstock Brew House (Casey Joes); we’re always working, I tell ya!
For my second beer I picked Tank Fund Saison, the SMASH beer Rich brewed for NYC Beer Week. In honor of this annual event, every brewer creates a SMASH (State Malts and State Hops) beer that emphasizes the same three hops and grains. It’s really cool to see the wide range of styles that result. Tank Fund is now one of my favorite B&T beers. It’s medium-bodied with flavors of lemon and honey, and has a closing bitterness that keeps it from being too sweet.
They serve popcorn and pretzels in the tasting room, and you can also order from Houdini, the wood fire pizza place next door. I see your wheels spinning, Pammy! We can definitely put B&T on the itinerary during your next visit. Like many NYC spots, B&T is cash only, but if you forget dat paper, just bop into Houdini and use their ATM.
Rich was at H&H for a tasting last night and we chatted about how NYC Beer week is going. He confessed that he was a bit tired of the events, and couldn’t wait to get back to the tasting room this weekend. If you read the reviews on Yelp, or any other press about B&T, it’s so clear that B&T is Rich and his family. He’s so passionate about the tasting room and his beer, and he loves to tell the backstory behind each brew. Customers will return to B&T for the delicious beer, welcoming atmosphere, and amazing prices, yes, but most of all, because of the faces behind the bar.
Happy Friday! Cheers to passion.
p.s. Want to know more about about Rich and the Bridge and Tunnel story? Of course you do! Check out these beer reads:
Building a Brewery From Scratch
Bridge & Tunnel Brewery Taproom Opens in Ridgewood, Queens
Bridge & Tunel Brewery Set to Open Ridgewood Location This Saturday
Bridge and Tunnel Microbrewery in Ridgewood, Queens: The Definition of DIY