Once upon a time (before Prohibition, 1920-1933) there were over 1,000 breweries in NYC. Now happy days are here again with the growth of microbreweries. There are 20 microbreweries in NYC today and Queens is home to one of the newest, the Finback, located at 78-01 77th Street, Glendale.
Finback is not far from Atlas Park Mall. The name is derived from a species of whale that got beached in the Rockaways several years ago.
The owners, Basil Lee (an architect) and Kevin Stafford (an illustrator) (see photo, left) are two talented guys who are artisans in the ancient craft of beer brewing. They did home-brewing as hobbyists but after extensive research they developed a business model for their microbrewery operation. They are into the 4th year of their operation but this is their 1st year in Glendale after having acquired the amount of space to truly need grow their business. The interior is spacious, well lit and immaculate.
The building was originally a commercial laundry with 13,000 sq. feet of floor space. They provide some of their space for a gallery dedicated to local graphic and performance artists. The brewery features a large tasting room, a backyard and an event space. They don’t serve food but the local pizzerias that deliver have to absolutely love these guys.
Their brews ain’t your typical Budweiser or Heineken types. This is craft beer. “Our aim is to make great beer following our passion for flavor and complexity from quality ingredients and small batch artisanal brewing,” their mission statement says. “We brew fun, unique beers made for enjoyment.”
The Finback Brewery gives guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays (but always call ahead to verify). On the tour, you are shown the stages of the brewing process. The fermentation tanks hold 1,240 gallons and the fermentation process takes 2-3 weeks.
They have developed 30 different brews and generally have 10 on tap at any given time. They are constantly creating new varieties of beer, ales and porters for their discerning customers. You can take home a “growler” (an old fashioned tinted glass jug) of your favorite brew. This is a full time artisanal brewery and a part time pub-type bar.
Thursday & Friday 4-9pm