Growing pints: Coney Island Brewery will expand in August

Growing pints: Coney Island Brewery will expand in August
Coney Island Brewery

Good drinks come to those who wait!

Coney Islanders looking to stretch out with a crafty cold one will have to wait a little longer — the expansion of the neighborhood’s namesake brewery has been delayed until August.

The beer maestros at the Coney Island Brewery had hoped to open a new taproom next door to their current home at the base of MCU Park in time for the summer, but buzz-killing bureaucrats had other plans, according to the resident brew-master.

“The city denied our plans,” said Matt McCall. “So, unfortunately the new space is not available yet.”

When the project is fully completed in mid-August, the expanded space will be three times the size of its current location, according to McCall. The extra room is needed to serve its tasty brews to an ever-increasing crowd.

“The current space has an indoor capacity somewhere around 45 people, and the beer garden fits around 150,” he said. “The new space will have room for 300 people outside and around 280 people inside.”

The finished taproom will feature two fully operational bars, a walk-up kitchen window, and a dedicated indoor space for bands, karaoke, and other performances.

In the meantime, the brewers were able to cut the ribbon on the outdoor portion of their expansion plan, adding many new picnic tables to the sidewalk outside the brewery, where McCall plans to host special events throughout the summer season.

Outer limits: Coney Island Brewery has more than doubled the size of its outdoor patio, taking up space formerly used by the now-closed Steeplechase bar.
Coney Island Brewery

“We have that outdoor space open now,” he said. “We’ll have live music, trivia, freak show acts, all that kind of stuff.”

The brewery has developed a devout following of Kings County beer aficionados since it opened in 2015, and when the neighboring bar, Steeplechase Beer Garden, closed shop, the brewers hopped at the opportunity.

“There’s always pressure when you take over a place like Steeplechase. They were really great at playing to the local crowd. They had a lot of regulars,” said McCall. “But, I think we bring our own things to the party, so to speak.”

Among those things is its wide variety of creative brews; this year, McCall will churn out almost 30 new beer recipes, served all year at the Surf Avenue stop.

“We have 16 taps, eight inside and eight outside,” he said. “Only two of them are doubled up, so we can have up to 14 unique beers at a time.”

Coney Island Brewery’s master chef since 2017, McCall is particularly proud of one of his most recent creations.

“I’m a man who enjoys a simple, clean, lager. So we made a beer called ‘Killer Rye Life.’ It’s an American lager that’s really dry,” he said. “It turned out really nice.”

Visit the Coney Island Brewery [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 996–0019, www.coneyislandbeer.com]. Open Sun-Thu; noon–10 p.m.; Fri, Sat, noon–midnight. Free tours daily at 2, 4, and 6 p.m.

Brew-master: Coney Island Brewery’s head brewer, Matt McCall, says that so many people have come to the seaside brewery that it needs to expand.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.