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Gowanus is another section of Brooklyn that’s in the process of transforming from an industrial neighborhood to a residential one. Just south of downtown Brooklyn, the neighborhood is bordered by Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, & Red Hook. It’s most famously known for the Gowanus Canal, which yes, is a Superfund site. But that’s all in the process of improving, though calling it the Venice of New York City might be a stretch at the moment. In the meantime, it’s still a fun place to hang out. Here is a selection of great places for craft beer in Gowanus, including breweries, taprooms, and beer bars. Most are centered along 4th Avenue, near the Union Street subway station.

The Best Breweries in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Wild East Brewing Company

Wild East Brewing Company hits that sweet spot of breweries that honor European brewing traditions while also innovating within the American craft beer world.

While Wild East specifically calls out their respect for traditional Belgian brewing techniques, that’s actually selling themselves short. Yes, their Belgian-style farmhouse & sour beers are excellent, but the brewery also demonstrates its expertise when it comes to beers from elsewhere in Europe.

For example, Little Patience, their stellar Czech pilsner. Not only was it the best pilsner I’ve ever had that wasn’t served fresh out of a tank in the cold cellar of the Pilsner Urquell brewery on a sweltering summer day, it was also served from a Czech-style side-pour tap. It’s that attention to the little details that makes Wild East stand out.

Everything else about the place is also just right. The brewery has 20 taps with a wide selection of their beers (plus more in bottles), served from a horseshoe-shaped bar inside a spacious, bright taproom playing 60s & 70s rock like Jimi Hendrix & Led Zeppelin. They do have a couple of hazy IPAs for those who want them, but the bulk of the tap list focuses on their farmhouse-style & mixed-fermentation beers, plus lagers, all done perfectly. Catch a fresh batch underway and the air has that lovely brewery smell. Inside the warehouse, spot aging barrels that are further along the process, waiting for their moment.

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Wild East is doing something special. You can tell when brewers are really passionate about what they do.

Address: 623 Sackett St, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (map)

Nearest Subway station: Union St (R)

Strong Rope Brewery

In a neighborhood with several larger warehouse breweries, Strong Rope Brewery is a pleasant change of pace. It’s a more intimate spot, with a relaxed indie-leaning music playlist to match. There are a few tables inside, as well as a patio out front.

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Strong Rope is another brewery that specializes in lesser-seen styles. While you will still find IPAs & the occasional imperial stout amongst their 10 taps, they also offer other styles such as cream ales, English bitters, & schwarzbier.

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Owned & operated by Jason Sahler and Christina Quintero, the brewery has incorporated Jason’s background in sustainable development into everything they do. Strong Rope Brewery only uses ingredients that are grown in New York state. From hops to malts to fruit, they are committed to supporting smaller local producers like themselves.

They have also opened a 2nd location in Red Hook, plus they have a seasonal taproom in the Adirondacks.

Address: 574 President St, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map)

Nearest Subway station: Union St (R)

Finback Brewery

Finback Brooklyn in Gowanus is the second location of Queens’ Finback Brewery. It’s located just across the street from Strong Rope.

In addition to housing some smaller-batch brewing, Finback Brooklyn also is home to Halftone Spirits (a gin distillery), Invisible Force Coffee (a coffee roaster that also features in Finback beers), and Dumpling Up (with recipes from co-founder Basil Lee’s mother). Those newer offshoots are helping Finback diversify, while also working together as a complete community hub.

The taproom has a clean industrial feel, with plywood walls, a high ceiling, and communal tables. And also a neon whale, as it should.

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The Gowanus brewery has 20 taps, plus cans & bottles. Finback is probably best known for its hazy IPAs, but everything they make is good. Their BQE imperial stout is one highlight, connecting ingredients from both Brooklyn & Queens, just like the brewery itself.

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Address: 545 President St, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map)

Nearest Subway station: Union St (R)

Threes Brewing

Threes Brewing Gowanus is the first & main location of Threes Brewing (the others are in Greenpoint, Governors Island, & Huntington).

The Main Bar has a full 24-tap selection of Threes beers as well as guest taps, plus a full bar. Upstairs, there’s also more seating & an events space.

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The brewery has formed partnerships with other local purveyors, including food from The Meat Hook and coffee from Ninth Street Espresso.

The Yard, a lush green patio, is available year-round, whether it’s a sunny summer day or in heated tents during the winter months.

Address: 333 Douglass St, Brooklyn, NY 11217 (map)

Nearest Subway station: Union St (R)

The Best Craft Beer Bars in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Gowanus Gardens

Gowanus Gardens is an unpretentious bar that was started by local residents who have put together everything a neighborhood bar should be.

The Gowanus beer bar has 14 taps of craft beer, plus cocktails. While the food menu mostly sticks with bar bites & sandwiches, they’re done well, with weekend brunch too.

Inside there are sports on TV, plus there’s a colorful backyard garden that also hosts trivia nights.

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Address: 256 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map)

Nearest Subway station: Union St (R)

Givers and Takers

Givers and Takers is a chill, intimate bar with 14 craft beer taps, as well as a small patio space.

Address: 286 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map)

Nearest Subway station: Union St (R)

Whisk & Whiskey

Whisk & Whiskey is another Park Slope craft beer spot (and much more) that’s just across the street from Gowanus.

I’m a sucker for businesses that do a little bit of everything but do it all at a high level. Minority- & women-owned Whisk & Whiskey is a part bakery, part cocktail bar, and part beer bar, also hosting jazz nights & dinner parties.

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Owners Secoyah Browne and Chandra Touch have combined the flavors of their Trinidadian and Cambodian heritages to create a delicious menu. Trinidanian bakes (fluffy buttery bread filled with good stuff – including Cambodian flavors such as curry & sweet chili chicken) are at the heart of Whisk & Whiskey.

The bakery also offers fantastic cookies & cakes. I asked each person behind the counter their favorite cookie & got different answers. That didn’t help a ton with narrowing down my options, but the oatmeal cookie I chose was perfect.

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In addition to their 5 tap selection of local craft beers, the bar also focuses on female distillers & local spirits.

Address: 259 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map)

Nearest Subway station: Union St (R)

What are your favorite Gowanus beer spots? Comment below!

Do you love craft beer? Check out more of my recommendations for the best craft beer around the world!

Here are some great New York City tours & activities & other things to see & do in New York City.

If you’re looking for a place to stay near Gowanus, check out these New York City hotels.

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