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

BRONX BREWERY, 856 East 136th Street (between Willow and Walnut Avenue), Port Morris, Bronx

Bronx Brewery is not a brand new brewery. Their beers have been circulating around the city for a few years now. But I think most people would be surprised to learn that it is only recently that they have been making beer in the Bronx.

Opening up a brewery in the city is difficult – expensive and full of logistical and bureaucratic nightmares. So Bronx Brewery, like many new breweries, first started their production elsewhere. When the time was right (and money and real eastate fell into place), they actually opened a facility in the Bronx.

Who Wants to Play?

It’s a very smart (and in some ways, necessary) move. I applaud the guys at Bronx Brewery because I think they’re very smart. Not just for this, but in the way they brew their beer.

Choose Your Beer

Instead of launching a dozen styles right off the bat, these guys perfected their Pale Ale recipe and then used that as the base for other similar styles (Belgian Pale Ale, Black Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, etc.) You can see their beers on grocery store shelves and bar menus all over the city.

Brewing in the Bronx

I always like to drink at the source and now that it’s within the five boroughs, it’s definitely possible. Their tasting room, complete with board games and foosball, is adjacent to the brewhouse in a warehouse in the South Bronx. If you know anything about recent NYC history, you know this is not the prettiest or safest neighborhood.

Walking from the subway to the brewery took me through some desolate, questionable areas. But inside, I felt safe and a few beers quickly took the edge off. I just wanted to make sure I was back on the train before dark.

The Changing Neighborhood

No doubt that the brewery will be a big part in the changes afoot in this area, so in the future, you may see chocolate makers, distilleries, and cheese shops right next door. For better or worse.

Line-up in the Bronx

It’s exciting to know that the brewery is open to the public every single day. Here you can purchase flights of their regular line-up for $10 or pints ranging from $5-$7.

Uptown Milk Stout at BRONX BREWERY

In addition to their regular line-up (which I’ll get to in a minute), there were a few specialty beers on offer, known as their B-sides. The newest one is the Uptown Coffee Milk Stout and the bartender poured me a small taste. I’d like to drink an entire glass before judging, but it was quite good. Very mellow and light with hints of coffee and a milky mouthfeel.

Sticky Rye at BRONX BREWERY

I also got a nip of their Sticky Rye, which I didn’t like as much. I found it a bit watery.

Beer Flight at BRONX BREWERY

I won’t review either of those beers since I only got a sample, but I settled on the flight which takes you through all five of their regular beers for $10 – not a bad deal.

American Pale Ale at BRONX BREWERYThe American Pale Ale is the base for their other beers and it’s spot-on. I first encountered this back in 2011 and was impressed with the balanced grapefruit and pine bitterness rounded out by a subtle caramel and biscuit backbone. It’s as good as I remember.

Rye Pale Ale at BRONX BREWERY

From there I moved on to the Rye Pale Ale, which had a bracing spiciness and a unique hop quality. I didn’t find it quite as balanced as the regular pale ale, but the flavor was certainly taken to a funkier place.

Belgian Pale Ale at BRONX BREWERY

Belgian Pale Ales are fun and this one was no exception. The head disappeared from the golden beer by the time I got to it, so I got very little aroma. But the flavors still come to life – yeasty and citrus with a sweet, floral finish. Despite its higher alcohol content, I couldn’t detect a burn.

Session India Pale Ale at BRONX BREWERY

This is the first time I tried their Session India Pale Ale and was surprised by it. It wasn’t a hop bomb like one would expect, but rather a nice citrusy bitterness and a very mild, clean finish. Some people might demand more intense hops, but I quite liked the subtlety.

Winter Pale Ale at BRONX BREWERY

And finally, the last beer is their Winter Pale Ale, which is the current seasonal one. I really liked this, perhaps most of all. It’s beautifully spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and a healthy dose of ginger. Not sure I’ve ever tasted a winter beer that was this light and refreshing. It’s got all those warming flavors, but none of the heavy stickiness.

In the Bronx Indeed!

I’m glad to see Bronx Brewery has finally brought beer and craft to the borough that bears its name. The brewery is a very fun place once you discover it and a good way to explore their line-up – the freshest way possible. And now people will be right when they think Bronx Brewery is indeed in the Bronx.

Is Bronx Brewery the best brewery in NY? I really admire their business sense and the fact that they found a great recipe for brewing their beers.The space itself offers plenty of room for socializing and free tours on the weekends. You just have to hike through the urban jungle to get here, but 8 out of 10.

Is Bronx Brewery’s American Pale Ale the best beer in NY? I reviewed it a few years back and after re-visiting it, realize it is just as good as ever and it keeps a 9 out of 10 for its juicy grapefruit notes balanced with a sweet malt finish.

Is Bronx Brewery’s Rye Pale Ale the best beer in NY? I found it a little out of balance, leaning slightly heavier on the spicy, peppery side. But for those that really love ryes, this is a strong one and gets a 7 out of 10. 

Is Bronx Brewery’s Belgian Pale Ale the best beer in NY? It earns an 8 out of 10 for the clean yeasty flavors that are a little sweet, a little floral, and a little funky.

Is Bronx Brewery’s Session IPA the best beer in NY? Many might find it a little too subtle on the piney hops, but the citrus notes are strong and its approachable, flavorful beer that goes down easy. 8 out of 10.

Is Bronx Brewery’s Winter Pale Ale the best beer in NY? 9 out of 10 for the surprising and warming additions of aromatic spices like cinnamon, cloves, and gingery. It’s not too sweet, but full of flavor.

BRONX BREWERY
856 East 136th Street (between Willow Avenue and Walnut Avenue),
Port Morris, Bronx
(718) 402-1000
thebronxbrewery.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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