August 8, By Hannah Wulkan
The beer business is booming in Long Island City, with yet another brewing company about to open.
Chris Cuzme and David Scharfstein are opening Fifth Hammer Brewing Co., adding to the list of craft breweries that have taken up residence in Long Island City in recent years.
Fifth Hammer will consist of two components: a 15-barrel brewing system at 10-36 46th Avenue, and a taproom next door featuring Fifth Hammer brews, along with other local craft beer.
Cuzme said that there would be no specific focus on a type of beer, other than “the good kind.”
Cuzme gained much of his experience working as a brewer at a now-defunct brewpub in Greenwich Village. He said he learned to craft a wide variety of beers, which cater to all tastes.
However, he said, his focus is often seasonal, for example favoring hoppy beers in the springtime.
Fifth Hammer will also offer finger food such as charcuterie and cheese plates, but doesn’t plan to become a full-fledged restaurant, keeping the focus mostly on the beer.
The name for the brewery, Cuzme said, is indicative of the type of atmosphere he hopes to create.
“Fifth Hammer” references the story of Pythagoras discovering a beautiful sound coming from a forge with five men hammering. He studied each hammer, and while the first four could be measured and analyzed, the fifth hammer made a beautiful sound, but defied understanding. That fifth hammer represents harmony and the infinite, Cuzme explained. “It’s sort of outside the box, like me,” he added.
This idea of harmony and music extends to the idea for the taproom, as Cuzme plans to host a wide variety of musical acts, “celebrating art and music spanning all genres,” he said. He added that he is moving his piano in to the space as soon as possible, and is especially excited to focus on what he considers to be America’s classical music: Jazz.
Cuzme also hopes to amass the largest vintage hammer collection on the east coast to display in the taproom, and is off to a good start with over 200 so far.
Cuzme said that over the last year and a half he and Scharfstein looked at a variety of properties throughout the city, but ultimately settled on LIC because in addition to making sense fiscally, there is already a great community of brewers in the area. He said LIC already has one of his favorite beer crawls in the city, and he looks forward to joining the ranks of Rockaway Brewing Co., Big aLICe Brewing, The LIC Beer Project, and Transmitter.
Though it is unclear when the brewery will officially open, the brewing equipment will be shipped on December 1, and Cuzme will begin experimenting as soon as it is installed. Once the equipment arrives, opening will depend on when all of the brewing permits are in order.
Cuzme also owns Cuzett Libations, a brewery in Brooklyn, with his wife Mary Izett.
DNAinfo was first to report the opening.