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Something New Is Brewing In Maspeth

One Man’s Passion, Available For All

As craft beer continues to explode in popularity, Maspeth’s new Bridge and Tunnel Brewery is beginning to make a name for itself.

Rich Castagna of Bridge and Tunnel Brewery sits alongside the custom-made beer brewing system in Maspeth which he created.

“Most home brewers dream of having their own brewery,” said Bridge and Tunnel Brewery operator Rich Castagna.

A Maspeth native and longtime home-brewer who still makes his home in Queens, Castagna began the one-man brewing operation over two years ago.

Eschewing stock manufactured brewing systems, he created a 45-gallon stainless steel “nanobrewery” system from scratch. Castagna claims his system works “as good if not better,” and at a fraction of the price.

After finding a location in Maspeth to house the system and getting licensed by the state and federal government (a nine-month process), he formally began production in September.

So far, he has two styles of beer in production. Ol Gilmartin Milk Stout, a dark beer containing lactose (the “milk” part of the stout), and Angry Amel Dunkel, a dunkelweizen, or dark wheat beer. Castagna is working on a third variety to debut later this month, and hopes to eventually have seven to eight styles of beer.

Castagna noted that for every beer variety, certification, or “label approval,” is required.

“You really have to plan ahead,” he noted.

Bridge and Tunnel Brewery gained a following almost immediately. Castagna stated that he started receiving emails as soon as his website was up and running, and visitors have flocked to his Facebook page.

The interest coincides with the rise of the craft beer movement in Queens; while many bars have stocked beer from microbreweries across the country, the borough itself has only recently experienced a boom in locally produced brews. In addition to Bridge and Tunnel, Rockaway Brewing in Long Island City and Singlecut Beersmiths in Astoria have opened to rave reviews.

“It’s been such a progressive movement,” Castagna noted; with the rise of craft beer bars and a more educated public, “it’s just been a snowball effect.”

Bridge and Tunnel Brewery beers can only be found in bars or in locations that sell growlers (large jugs filled from kegs at the point of purchase). Castagna decided on this method as opposed to bottling, although he noted that many microbreweries do bottle their beers.

Castagna hopes that in every sip of a Bridge and Tunnel beer, you can taste the personality of the man who made it and the borough in which he lives.

“What I want to do is reflect the life that I’ve had living in the city,” he stated.

Want a taste?

As of press time, Bridge and Tunnel brews are available at the following bars and beer merchants:

– Astoria Bier and Cheese, 34-14 Broadway, Astoria (growlers available).

– Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway, Astoria.

– The Quays Pub, 45-02 30th Ave., Astoria.

– Beer Street, 413 Graham Ave., East Williamsburg (growlers available).

– Breukelen Beer Merchants, 182 Grand St., Williamsburg (growlers available)

– d.b.a. Brooklyn, 113 North 7th St., Williamsburg

– Brouwerij Lane, 78 Greenpoint Ave., Greenpoint (growlers available).

– Legion, 790 Metropolitan Ave., East Williamsburg.

Beer lovers and bar owners searching for more information can visit www.bridgeandtunnelbrewery.com.

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