Home brewer Rich Castagna began Bridge & Tunnel Brewery in a tiny garage (150 square feet) near his home in Maspeth, Queens in 2012. He was running a true nano-brewery and only able to produce 1.5 barrels (about 3 kegs) at a time.
Demand grew and in 2015, Rich expanded his operation and opened up a 10 barrel microbrewery in nearby Ridgewood. It is a true labor of love as Rich built the entire thing from scratch down to the bar seats and repurposed reclaimed material like dairy machines to brew the beer.
With the exception of some bartenders, the operation is entirely run by Rich and his wife Lisa. It's also not uncommon to see his two daughters hanging out in the tasting room along with plenty of locals who are very happy to have a community brewery in the neighborhood.
And the beer community loves his beer too. In addition to lots of local collaborations, Rich was also awarded the Ruppert Cup People's Choice award at the 2017 NYC Craft Beer Week.
Rich brews a wide range of beer and all of them have a story and relate to history in some way - usually of the neighborhood. For instance, his Ridgewood Grove Golden Ale (which comes in both a regular and an oaked version) is named for a former boxing arena in Ridgewood that used to host professional boxing and wrestling matches. The Bone Orchard Vanilla Porter (brewed with Madagasxar vanilla beans) hints at Queens' connection to cemeteries and burial grounds.
You can try those beers and many others (ranging from an Oyster Stout to a Coffee Cream Ale to a Barley Wine) on the 16 tap system in the cozy taproom. Pull up a bar seat or take one of the tables offering up complimentary popcorn and games. Children and dogs are always welcome here.
You can also view the brewhouse behind a fence where Rich brews throughout the week.
While the big beer corporations are slowly buying up craft breweries around the country, Rich and Bridge and Tunnel have a commitment to remain independent and local. You feel that in this community where odds are you'll find yourself chatting with Rich and other locals about the neighborhood and his beers. The name Bridge and Tunnel refers to the bridges and tunnels that unite the city, not divide it. You really feel that sentiment alive here.
Other NYC breweries are in much more trafficked areas and have lines of tourists, but this is a modest neighborhood spot that really caters to the Ridgewood community. Yet we bring groups on our Brewery tour by Bus and guests are often shocked to try this great beer and get a slice of real life in a neighborhood far away from the tourist crowds. This is real New York where great local community breweries thrived in the early days before Prohibition (we talk about that history on our Brewed in Brooklyn tour) and thanks to Rich's dedication and hard work are thriving once again.
Bridge and Tunnel Brewery
15-35 Decatur Street
Ridgewood, New York 11385