Beer In The New Year
NYC is renowned worldwide as one of the best cities for experiences both cultural and culinary, but we still have some catching up to do on the craft beer scene. Despite many fine establishments that feature artisanal brews, the city doesn’t yet contend with places like Colorado, the Pacific Northwest or Vermont when it comes to breweries and emphasis on local beer. Fortunately, Western Queens at the forefront of changing the status quo.
This month, BORO looks at four of the newest and most exciting additions to the local beer scene, places where you can try local brews and even bring them home in growlers filled from the tap – the way beer is meant to be appreciated. So whether you’re a hophead, swear by stouts or need some guidance along the way, there’s something here for you!
Astoria Bier & Cheese
34-14 Broadway, Astoria
This recently opened and incredibly inviting shop/hangout shares ownership with its neighbor, Astoria Wine & Spirits. Bier & Cheese is a treasure trove for aficionados of artisanal goods, including pickles, meats and, of course, cheese — and the beer selection is no exception.
Jacob Berg, Beer Manager, says his goal is “to have beers on tap that are not available in a bottle anywhere.” As such, drafts at Bier & Cheese rotate seasonally. During the winter, be on the lookout for specialty releases, winter ales, barleywines and beer from Astoria’s own new brewery, SingleCut.
Customers are welcome to enjoy pints of draft beers as well as beer flights (four 5 oz. samples). Cheese pairings are also available. For those who want to enjoy quality beer at home, Bier & Cheese offers growlers in two sizes: 32 oz. and 64 oz. Refills of a 64 oz. growler cost anywhere from $16-$24, depending on your beer of choice.
And while the tap offers fantastic options, don’t neglect the bottles and cans, either. You can find unique and rare picks in this section, including selections from breweries that only bottle in large format (comparable in size to a bottle of wine). Berg makes an effort to promote small, high-quality labels, and the attentiveness shows in the beer you drink.
Food Cellar & Co.
4-85 47th Rd, LIC
In November, this LIC store made grocery shopping far more enticing by creating a growler fill-up station with delicious local craft beer. The wall of taps is as aesthetically pleasing as the brews themselves; the wood is recycled from an old barn in Pennsylvania.
Food Cellar’s taps exclusively feature beers made within the five boroughs. Ovidio Teja, General Manager, says, “My dream is to have at least one beer from each borough at all times.” Current selections include beers from Sixpoint, Brooklyn Brewery and Alphabet City Brewery. Growlers are available in 32 oz. and 64 oz. sizes.
Also of note is the tablet at Food Cellar’s growler filling station, which features an app that shows the best cheeses in the store to pair with your beer. The app also includes recommendations for meats and desserts.
19-33 37th St, Astoria
Brian Dwyer, Assistant Brewer at Astoria’s new brewery, SingleCut Beersmiths, envisions the place as “a community center for craft beer enthusiasts.”
The brewers here pride themselves on mastering the details that lead to the best possible final product. The attention to detail is noticeable; the crew even sought out rum barrels for aging particular beers. As a result, the brews from these barrels have what Dwyer describes as a distinct “spicy, caramel flavor” you can’t get from the bourbon barrels found in most other breweries.
While SingleCut is best for those bringing beer home in a growler (they are currently unable to offer more than 3 oz. tasting portions on site), they do have a performance space, complete with a stage and full sound system, for those who want to hang out at the brewery. Music ought to be a large factor in the SingleCut experience; after all, their beers – and even the name of the brewery itself – are all based on types of guitars or legendary guitarists! Hours are Thursday/Friday 5-8 p.m. and Saturday 12-6 p.m.
Rockaway Brewing Co
5-01 46th Ave, LIC
Don’t be misled by the name. Although Rockaway Brewing Co got its start over the summer by supplying beer to boardwalk concessions in the Rockaways, their brewing headquarters and recently opened growler annex are near the water in LIC. Stop by Thursday/Friday from 4-8 p.m. or Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. to check out the brewery and hear great records spinning while you fill your growler with Rockaway’s ESB or the new Black Gold Stout, just in time for the winter months.
Don’t forget our old neighborhood favorites. Fill up your growler at one of MexiBBQ’s many taps, or stop by The Queens Kickshaw to get a growler full of cold-brewed iced coffee cider or a specialty from Astoria’s own alcohol-positive kombucha brewery, Beyond Kombucha.
37-11 30th Ave, Astoria
The Queens Kickshaw
40-17 Broadway, Astoria