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Queens Chronicle

Get an ice-cold beer at Glendale’s brewery

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:30 am

Nestled in the small and rather residential community of Glendale on 77th Street is a new, unlikely neighbor.

The street, mostly populated with houses, isn’t welcoming a family or a newly married couple, it’s welcoming a brewery.

Finback Brewery — named for a beached whale that washed ashore in Breezy Point a few years ago — opened its tasting room on Saturday afternoon.

As a part of their opening, they had food and an open bar for beer connoisseurs and newbies alike to taste Finback’s drinks and take a tour of the new facility.

The founders of Finback, Kevin Stafford and Basil Lee, both from Brooklyn, are longtime fans of beer and wanted to throw their hat into the local craft mix.

“We have a passion for beer,” said Lee, who is originally from Rhode Island and whose background is in architecture.

“There’s a great home-brewing community in the city. Everyone brews, everyone talks about what they do. New York City needs local craft beer and we thought, ‘Let’s make it happen.’”

At the opening, Lee and Stafford served up more traditional brews including an IPA, stouts and a smoked porter, among others that visitors could indulge in.

“In a few months we might try different things,” Lee said.

In addition to the featured beers at the opening, the founders of Finback will also release a new summer stout and pale ale in the coming weeks.

Stafford, who was a graphic designer in Boston, started making beer when he got a home-brew kit for Christmas eight years ago.

“I was always into beer, going to beer festivals and drinking new beer whenever I could,” he said.

He started brewing so much that soon his apartment was filled with beer cases.

Stafford spoke with Lee and they decided to turn their passion into a job.

The duo first looked for space in Brooklyn, which already has a slew of breweries that cater especially to the hipster neighborhoods.

Various obstacles including cost and adequate space prevented them from renting in any of the popular Brooklyn neighborhoods.

So instead, they turned to Glendale — right on the border and fairly accessible to Brookyln and Queens folks alike.

“When I saw the space, I was like ‘Wow,’” said Lee. “It’s big, it’s clean, it feels comfortable, there a lot of local people.”

Even though the location is far from where they live, Lee has developed a soft spot for the surrounding community.

“I really appreciate it because it serves a very local community and I like the fact that if people want to come they’ll come,” Lee said. “It’s not like you’ll be strolling around a hip neighborhood and pop in, you have to make an effort to come here,” he said.

Craft breweries, especially in Queens and Brooklyn, have been seeing a wide boost in popularity among beer aficionados, who have been turning away from the massive, established distributors such as Anheuser-Busch, Coors and Miller.

Lee compared the “local brew kick” so many young city residents are on to the “farm to table” movement so many people opt for instead of factory farming.

“People want good quality food,” he said. “They want to know who made it, they want to know it wasn’t made in some factory far, far away,” he said. “They want to know that people within the community are making this stuff with the best ingredients and putting in their passion and effort.”

The brewery, which hosts tours each week, is open Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. ,and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 6 p.m.

Those looking for more information on Finback Brewery or interested in visiting the facility visit their website: finbackbrewery.com

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