Let’s get ready to rumble!!! (And stumble…) Bridge and Tunnel Brewery is gearing up to give new meaning to “liver shot.” The nano-scale microbrewery, located near the Bushwick/Ridgewood border, will host its first annual Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots tournament to launch its new oak-aged golden ale.
On April 30, up to 100 people will compete in the miniature boxing game, with five pairs of Red Rockers and Blue Bombers on hand. The purse? A belt that will be kept there until the next tournament takes place in 2017, so that every time the winner visits they can “sling it over their shoulder and be the envy of everybody in the taproom,” says brewer/proprietor Richard Castagna.
If no-holds-barred beer and boxing sounds like a bad idea to you, rest assured, there will be rules. Castagna realized the need for them after playing an “extremely competitive” game with his wife. “I was kind of surprised,” he said. “She was, like, picking the whole game up in the air while we were trying to box.”
How did retro table-top boxing become the main event? The new ale, Ridgewood Grove, is named after a boxing arena that was active in the neighborhood from the 1920s to 1950s. When Castagna, a Queens native, was a kid, his dad took him to boxing matches at the venue, where big names like Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson made appearances. A fire KOd the Grove in 1997 and Castagna hopes the event will “raise the flag for the history of Ridgewood and this part of Queens.”
When Castagna launched his nano-scale microbrewery in September 2012, from a 150-square-foot garage in Maspeth, Queens, it “was technically one of the smallest if not the smallest breweries in New York City.” He and his wife opened the new Ridgewood location in November, and are operating a 300-gallon system, built from reclaimed materials such as dairy tank fermenters. It may not be able to compete with larger breweries gallon-for-gallon, but it is a contender with high scores on Untappd, and goes “toe-to-toe with major breweries.”
With a heavy focus on beers that are dark and dense, they do a batch every one or two weeks and “have a lot of accounts in Bushwick.” It’s a tall order considering Castagna also holds down a full-time job working for a shipping company out of New Jersey. But he enjoys being able to name his stouts, porters, IPAs, and saisons after local legends, since lots of outer-borough lore is “either not really known or being kind of lost from memory.”
Sign up for the tournament via Eventbrite.
Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, 15-35 Decatur St., Ridgewood; 347-392-8593.