After nearly a decade since its debut in Glendale, Finback Brewery will be launching its second Queens taproom this month. This will be the New York City-based brewery’s third outpost.
The newest location will be a 3,800-square-foot space at Queens Plaza in Long Island City, where the team will focus on serving “fruit-forward fermentation” using local produce – primarily from New York’s Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley and Long Island regions – to make beer with apples, peaches, blueberries, cherries and grapes, its co-owner Basil Lee told What Now New York. The new space will also offer natural wines and ciders.
“We’ll definitely have IPAs and lagers and all that [in Long Island City], but if you want to come in and try something a little different, I think we’ll have a unique fermentation portfolio here as well,” Lee tells What Now New York about its newest taproom.
The team has been stewarding a farm in the Western Catskills in Upstate New York, where it is experimenting with growing small batches of fruit. In the future, the team hopes to make its fruit-fermented beers with their own produce, as well as add a taproom in the area. It also hopes to expand into Manhattan and the greater New England area.
The team debuted its first taproom in Glendale, which has a “neighborly, factory-vibe,” according to Lee, about a decade ago, where the team built its “local and regional” brand on “hazy IPAs and barrel-aged stouts.” However, when the team opened their second outpost in Gowanus, Brooklyn, closer to Lee and his partner Kevin Stafford’s home, the team began to expand its food offerings. This is where the team started its Asian-cuisine street food program, Dumpling Up, which was helmed by Lee’s mother who formerly ran her family’s Chinese restaurant in Rhode Island.
Lee said the Long Island City location will offer a similar “small menu” but it will be expanding its dumpling program, adding wonton noodles and other Asian-centric fare.
“I think, in some ways, it’s true [Asian food] is not the first thing you think about – it’s like wings, pizza, burgers – with beer,” Lee admits, however, he says that “Asian food, generally, pairs very well with beer.”
“For me, spicy foods and Asian street foods and snacks work well with a nice craft beer, so I wanted to do it; but, in some ways, it was more of just a personal history,” he says about the dumpling program. “I grew up in the restaurant business and it’s food that I grew up with and always loved.”