May 11, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
Long Island City’s local beer scene continues to grow with a new brewery planned for 46th Avenue.
Fifth Hammer Brewing Co. is aiming to open at 10-28 46th Ave. in the fall, according to co-founder Chris Cuzme, a veteran of the New York beer industry. The brewery will focus on “a multitude of styles,” Cuzme said, from hoppy IPAs to sour ales to farmhouse beers.
“There are two kinds of beer: good beer, and the other kind,” Cuzme said. “We hope to only make the former.”
Cuzme, a Williamsburg resident, runs Cuzett Libations, a brewing company focused on alternative fermented drinks such as meads and ciders, with his wife Mary. He said that Fifth Hammer will take over some of Cuzett Libation’s barley-based beverages while also pursuing brews that he and his business partner David Scharfstein are interested in.
Fifth Hammer will also serve beers on site, and will devote some of its taps to other New York-brewed drinks.
“We want to celebrate not only our own beers, but other people’s beers in our tap room,” Cuzme said.
The Fifth Hammer bar is slated to seat roughly 65 people, according to Cuzme. The space is also planned to have room for visual art and live music performances.
“We will definitely be doing a lot of music and paying attention to art in the community,” he said. “We hope to be able to celebrate artists with different exhibitions on a monthly or rotational basis.”
According to Cuzme, he and Scharfstein chose Long Island City for the new brewery due to the strong beer scene already present here.
“LIC has been growing and growing, all around, but in particular on the beer scene,” he said. “It’s already an amazing beer trail.”
He cited Queens Beer Week, which runs from May 13 to 22, as a testament to the local beer scene’s strength.
Of the 10 Queens breweries participating in Queens Beer Week, half are based in Long Island City.
“We’re really excited to welcome our good friend Chris Cuzme into the scene,” Dan Bronson of SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria, and a Queens Beer Week organizer, said.
“In the three years since we’ve started [Queens Beer Week], we welcomed a whole bunch of breweries into Queens,” Bronson noted. “Long Island City is an ideal place for brewing; it’s really close to mass transit, which is great, [and] it has a good amount of industrial space which is right next to a residential area.”
Both Cuzme and Dan said “a rising tide floats all boats” when it comes to brewing in Long Island City.
“We all feed from one another,” Cuzme said. “You go to each one of those tap rooms and you’re going to end up with an entirely unique experience. That’s part of the greatness of the beer community.”
“We can’t wait to make beers for everybody,” he added.