It was 7:02pm and my friend and I were treading lightly to avoid the lingering patches of ice from Thursdays snow storm as we made our final turn onto a sparsely lit, industrial street in Staten Island. Earlier, we had taken the ferry over from Manhattan, and unlike most of the million tourists who ride it daily, we actually got off and stayed.
I had found an instagram handle a few weeks prior, @TapThatNYC (I’m not giggling, you’re giggling) that sets up Speed Dating events in breweries and beer halls across the Five Boroughs. They’re goal is to “bring beer (lovers) together.” I noticed they were hosting an event at Flagship Brewing Company, and figured it was the perfect opportunity to
completely embarrass myself get out to try their brews, so I bought a ticket. Most of my friends thought the idea was absolutely hysterical, but no one wanted to actually join me (shocker). I’m pretty sure my friend who did end up coming along, only did so because she was afraid for my life.
Once we got to Flagship, checked into the event, and filled out our name tags (yep, name tags), we settled in with a few other girls, and our first beer each, to
gossip about the male selection get to know one another. It became apparent very quickly that everyone there was currently living in Staten Island, if not born and raised. Note: Do not make a fool out of yourself and inquire if their subway system accepts the same metro card. It does, and you’ll sound as dumb as I did.
It turned out that the remnants of Winter Storm Niko enticed a bunch of ticket purchasers to stay home that evening, however the girls and me were determined to make the most of the night ahead. We got set up in our first round, and away we went! I met a lot of interesting people throughout the night, and had some great chats about beer, my blog, and American History, to name a few topics. While I didn’t meet the man of my dreams, I did taste about 6 different beers from Flagship Brewing Company, so I’d call that a solid win.
The event culminated with a tour of the brewery – by far my favorite part. Flagship Brewing Company opened in May of 2014, ending a decade-long period in which Staten Island lacked any breweries. Prior to prohibition the island boasted a vigorous brewing history, notably due to the abundance of natural springs, but after the closure of Piels Brewery in the 1960’s, things literally dried up around here. The brewery’s catch phrase, “Unforgettable Beer Brewed in the Forgotten Borough” leaves little to the imagination when wondering what drives the team here; they’re on a mission to make their mark.
Breaking into the craft beer community, especially a market as inundated as New York City, isn’t easy. Fighting for limited tap space with other hometown heroes such as Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint Brewery, Blue Point Brewing Company, etc. has to be a massive undertaking. And besides getting the bars and distributors on your side, you also have to get your brand out to the consumers who are constantly blasted with marketing efforts from everyone else, too. Folk’s have been actively ignoring Staten Island for years, so why should they start paying attention now? I’ll tell you why; because it’s good.
Always a fan of the underdog, I love a good Cinderella Story. Flagship Brewing Company has some absolutely excellent beers, my favorite of the night was their Roggenfest – a hybrid of two German beer styles. It was slightly bitter, but mostly sweet and had a nice carmel-y, malty aroma too it; definitely reminiscent of the fall. I’m very much looking forward to the day I find Flagship on tap in my favorite local spots here in Manhattan. I was super impressed with the new kid on the block, and I’m confident that they’ll be a household name here in New York in no time.
If you’ve never visited the island, take the same leap of faith that I did; get off the boat! Flagship Brewing Company has a great set up over there. Lot’s of beer-hall style tables, occasional live music, and yeah, the beer is pretty great too. I’ll definitely be back to Staten Island, sugah.
Flagship Brewing Company
40 Minthorne St.
State Island, NY 10301
Tasting Room Hours
Thursday 12pm – 12am
Friday 12pm – 12am
Saturday 12pm – 12am
Sunday 12pm – 8pm
Tours available on Saturdays at 2:30 and 4pm
$5 per person – includes tasting
Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events!