My search for the best beer in New York continues….

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People think I forget about Staten Island when I say we now have a brewery in every single borough of New York. I haven’t forgotten about the forgotten island. There is indeed a brewery on the island and any beer drinker who lives on the fifth borough should know about it by now. For those of us that don’t ride the ferry very often, it’s an exciting discovery.

People Come Out On Staten Island

Despite the fact that there was a festival outside on a Sunday, I was still shocked at the crowds inside the brewery. It just goes to show how long New Yorkers (especially Staten Islanders) have been waiting for some local beer.

The Staten Line-Up

I was here alone on a Sunday afternoon and I dealt with the loud music and crowds (many families with little children) to try some of the beer. The system works in a similar way to Brooklyn Brewery where you have to buy tickets or tokens at the front in order to redeem the beer. I suppose it makes it easier for the bartender to not deal with money, but it seems like a silly system (especially when they’re using paper tickets that just get thrown out in a few minutes).

The Taproom

One ticket for $8 bought me a flight of their four beers on tap. I shared a bench with a young family playing board games to analyze the beer and revel in the celebration of this local craft brewery.

The Equipment┬áNo tours were being offered while I was there, but the equipment was on display for people to admire. I couldn’t quite determine which of the many staff members (there must have been close to 15 employees running arounf) were the brewers or owners. It really felt like I had stumbled onto a private party and everybody was nice enough to not notice the non-local drinking their beer.

Beer Sampler at FLAGSHIP BREWING COMPANY

The first sample in my neatly designed glass holder was their Pastime Summer Ale, which I was surprised they offered first since there was also a wheat beer on the table. But upon further inspection, the summer featured wheat along with the other grains.

Pastime Summer Ale from FLAGSHHIP BREWERY

The grain flavor was up front, along with some mild citrus – it was clean and refreshing with a light carbonation. The golden-hued beer was very approachable featuring a muted bitter finish and a light carbonation. This is a decent entry level beer for those accustomed to mass-produced brews without much flavor. Most certainly a step up here, but I’ve had more exciting summer beers.

American Wit at FLAGSHIP BREWERY

Almost identical in color and body to the Summer was their American Wit. It was most certainly filtered (unlike most hazy wheat beers) and I could detect no noticeable aromas on the nose. Upon sipping, it revealed some strange spices that I couldn’t quite place. It was bit peppery with strong bubble gum notes in the yeast. I found it to be a little funky and chewy, not the refreshing citrusy ale I’m accustomed to when the word wheat is thrown around.

APA at FLAGSHIP BREWERY

Moving on, I got their APA (American Pale Ale). This had a deep orange tint with lots of tropical and stone fruits on the nose. I found the first sip to be pleasant with minor hop and biscuit notes, but it quickly finished with a toffee/chocolate flavor. The aftertaste was a bit strange and rough. There were some nice piney sips in there, but it was a little out of balance.

Dark Mild at FLAGSHIP BREWERY

My favorite of the lot was their Dark Mild, which is an under-appreciated classic style that has been getting some more attention lately. The dark cola liquid smelled strongly of coffee and dark roasts. The drinking was easy, very mellow and almost more like coffee than beer. The alcohol content is low and it’s very light-bodied and approachable. There was a slight hop quality toward the end, but burnt coffee notes overtook them.

I am so thrilled that Staten Island has their own brewery and while these beers were not perfect, they’ve got to be better than what most Staten Islanders are used to drinking in their forgotten borough. Thankfully, it’s not forgotten any longer.

Is Flagship Brewery the best brewery in NY? It’s most definitely the best on Staten Island and one of the liveliest in the entire city. With plenty of space, you can sample the decent beers, peek in on the production facility, and hang out with friends and family. 7 out of 10.

Is Flagship Brewery’s Pastime Summer Ale the best beer in NY? It’s a good gateway beer and easy to drink for the summer, so it gets a 7 out of 10, even though there are much better versions out there.

Is Flagship Brewery’s American Wit the best beer in NY? It only gets a 5 out of 10 because of its funky aftertaste and overwhelming bubble gum yeast. Perhaps if it remained unfiltered, it would have kept the good flavors inside.

Is Flagship Brewery’s APA the best beer in NY? Full of stone fruit flavors and a tamed hop quality, it does have a rough aftertaste of biscuits and toffee. 7 out of 10.

Is Flagship Brewery’s Dark Mild the best beer in NY? If you like heavily roasted coffee more than beer, this just might be the beer for you. Its light body makes the beer flavorful and easy to drink. 8 out of 10.

FLAGSHIP BREWING COMPANY
40 Minthorne Street (between Bay Street and Victory Boulevard),
Tompkinsville, Staten Island
(718) 448-5284
theflagshipbrewery.com
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Category: Beer

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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