Tag Archives: beer

Street Talk: What is your favorite summertime beer?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

street talk

CHRIS BUMBACA

“I like Bud Light, because it’s cheap!”
Tom Twist

“Curious Traveler Summer Shandy, it’s really good, and only available in the summer.”
Eric Berman

“Victoria beer, for the taste.”
Paco Castillo

“I like Sol beer, because it’s light and a good alternative to Corona.”
Ryan Gamble

“I like Sol, too, because it’s light and refreshing.”
Cheyne Gamble

“IPA Sam Rebel is nice.”
Joe Brandon

“Amstel Lite, for the taste.”
Eddy Filangeri

“I like Brooklyn beer, because my son introduced me to it.”
John Clark

 

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Woodhaven’s New Pop’s Restaurant gets new owner


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

New Pop’s Restaurant, a diner that has been in Woodhaven for more than 20 years, is set to open on Father’s Day weekend after having been closed for more than a month, according to the diner’s new owner George Alexiov.

“I like this neighborhood,” Alexiov said. “I’ve been trying to find a business to run for the past seven years and now I’m very excited that I will be serving the people here.”

Alexiov has kept the interior design the same and in the last two weeks, after signing a 20-year lease on the Jamaica Avenue storefront, he’s been busy restoring the walls and tiles in the diner.

The menu, which is traditional diner fare, also hasn’t been altered. To mark the grand opening, Alexiov said he plans on giving customers a free glass of wine or beer.

“Looking forward to see what the new owners do,” Grace Cangiola said on Facebook about the new management. “I haven’t been there for quite a while. There’s not a lot of choices to eat at on the [a]venue, it will be nice to have it back.”

Alexiov, who is originally from Greece, has had experience with running food businesses in Brooklyn and said he plans on hiring six workers.

 

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Glendale’s Finback Brewery to launch beer at local bars despite setbacks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Finback Brewery

Glendale’s Finback Brewery won’t open for a few more months, but the beer is finally coming to the surface.

The brewery, which was originally supposed to open in November last year, has been delayed by construction issues, but founders Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford are introducing three Finback beers at three bars around the city.

The brewery will have launch events for the beer at The Owl Farm bar in Brooklyn on Wednesday, Jimmy’s No. 43 in Manhattan on Thursday, and Forest Hills Station House in Queens on Jan. 28.

The three beers are Pilot X IPA, a citrusy drink filled with Summit, Chinook and Columbus hops, and hints of pink grapefruit; Puffin Smoked Porter, American porter filled with roast subtle hazelnut aroma and a smoky backbone from cherry wood smoked malt, and hints of chocolate; and Double Sess Wit, brewed with Szechuan peppercorns, ginger and chamomile.

The pair hopes to introduce the beer at other bars in the city, including The Queens Kickshaw in Astoria, and are shooting to open the brewery’s tasting room in late February or March, according to the owners.

“We’re working hard to finish the tasting room and open the brewery for beer and tours,” the owners said in an email. “We wish we could welcome you all to the brewery right now, but alas, NYC contractors have their own way of working, or not working…Rest assured we’re busy making beer and getting it out to our favorite local watering holes. Hopefully we’ll get the tasting room open in the next couple months.”

 

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Cuomo signs tax exemption for state breweries


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation recently that gives small breweries in New York state an important tax exemption and waives an annual state liquor authority fee.

In April, a similar state tax break ended after a Massachusetts-based beer importer, Shelton Brothers, filed a lawsuit.

The state, which last year launched an “I Love NY Brew” campaign to promote locally-made beer, moved quickly to reinstate the exemption.

“In addition to producing some of the finest beer in the world, New York’s craft breweries are creating jobs, supporting our state’s farmers and hops growers, as well as bringing in tourism dollars in local communities across New York,” said Cuomo.

Any brewery that produces 60 million or fewer gallons of beer in New York will now be eligible for a refundable tax credit applied against New York state personal income and business taxes. The legislation also exempts breweries in and outside of the state that produce brands of 1,500 barrels or less annually from the $150 annual brand label fee.

In an effort to promote locally grown farm products, the legislation also creates a “Farm Brewery” license that will allow craft brewers that use products grown in the state to operate in a similar fashion to the state’s farm wineries.

The legislation is good news for Rich Buceta, president and owner of SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens’ first brewery in decades, which will open this fall in Astoria. His business will qualify for both the tax and brand label fee exemptions.

“Starting out a brewery is a very expensive proposition with all the equipment, licensing and everything we have to pay,” he said.

When the law changed it was a real shock, Buceta continued. Though it wouldn’t have greatly hurt his brewery, it still would have impacted its revenue stream and made it difficult to pay off his debts.

 

First Queens brewery in decades opening soon


| editorial@queenscourier.com

SingleCut

BY ASHLEY WELCH

Queens will soon be home to its first brewery in decades with the opening of SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria later this year.

The company’s president and owner Rich Buceta said that the new brewery, which will be located at 19-33 37th St., is a natural fit for the borough.

“Queens has not had a brewery to call its own in a very long time,” said Buceta, 48, who was born in Jamaica.

SingleCut will feature a Tap Room with beer tastings and a stage for live musical performances, Buceta said. Visitors will also be able to take home half-gallon growlers. Though there will be no bar on the premises, Buceta said he may consider that option in the future and will hold several events a year utilizing the 5,000-square-foot-space and its stage.

If construction stays on schedule, Buceta plans to begin distributing beer throughout New York City in September.

The borough housed several breweries before the Prohibition era with Ridgewood being the most prominent neighborhood, according to Richard Hourahan of the Queens Historical Society.

“From 1905 to 1920 there were five within five blocks,” he said.

Bob Singleton, executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society said that although the establishments still may have brewed beers illegally during Prohibition, brewing officially stopped once it was banned.

According to Singleton, another brewery may have opened in Queens after the ban lifted. Several years ago, he found labels on eBay with the name Burke’s Brewery at an address in Long Island City.

“We don’t know though if the brewery was in Queens or if the labels were just printed there,” he said.

For his part, Buceta is excited to bring a suds factory back to the borough — and so is the community of Astoria.

“The local support has been very enthusiastic,” he said.

Five years ago, the Upper East Sider left his career as an advertising executive to pursue his passion of craft beer. He had been brewing in his home for some time and soon found a job cleaning kegs at Greenpoint Beer Works in Brooklyn.

“I went from a corner office to the brewery equivalent of being a dishwasher,” he said with a laugh.

After quickly moving up in the ranks, Buceta decided to take his career to the next level.

“Once I felt I knew my trade well and had all the contacts, I quit to start my own brewery,” he said.

SingleCut will specialize in lagers, ales and hoppy beers, Buceta said. He emphasized that SingleCut will be a “real local brewery,” meaning beer will be brewed in Astoria and only Astoria.

“We will never have our beer brewed anywhere else,” he said. “If demand becomes too great in the future, then we just won’t take on new business. That’s how important quality is to us.”

St. Patrick’s Day around Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Queens’ St. Patrick’s parades have passed and for those that want to avoid the madness of Manhattan there are a plethora of options right here in the borough. Bars around Queens borough are serving up St. Paddy’s Day specials, so revelers can save some green.

Here are some spots around the borough to celebrate:

Austin Ale House, Kew Gardens:

Live music Friday and Saturday with a complimentary corned beef and cabbage buffet from 3-5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day and food and drink specials all day.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria:

Receive a St. Paddy’s Day mug with unlimited refills on select beers for just $15. There will also be live music, $4 shots of Bushmills, $5 shots of Jameson, $6 Jager bombs, $7 Irish car bombs and $10 corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots.

Bourbon Street, Bayside:

Friday the restaurant will feature a pre-St. Patrick’s Day happy hour drink specials and “green” giveaways. On St. Paddy’s Day watch the parade from the bar with live music, free corned beef and cabbage from 3-5 p.m. For those suffering a post-holiday hangover the bar has a Sunday brunch with Bloody Mary drink specials.

Donovan’s, Bayside:

The New York institution since 1966 will be serving up a traditional Irish breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day between 9-11:30 a.m. Live Irish music by The Sporting Paddies will be performed between 5-8 p.m.

Gibbons’ Home, Maspeth:

The recently reopened Irish pub will feature live Irish music Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Strawberry’s Sports Grill, Douglaston:

Darryl Strawberry’s restaurant will be featuring drink specials all day including: $2 Coors Lights, $3 domestic drafts, $3 green Jell-O shots, $4 Guinness drafts, $4 Killian’s, $5 Jameson shots and $7 car bombs. Fill up with smoked corned beef and coleslaw specials all day.

Studio Square, Astoria:

Enjoy a free corned beef and cabbage buffet between noon and 5 p.m. Wash that down with a pitcher of Killian’s Irish Red and three shots of Jameson for $18 or $2 Jameson shots.

Safari Beach Club, Bayside:

The bar will open at 8 a.m. and feature $5 Irish coffees. There will be free shots for ladies between 2-6 p.m. and live music beginning at 11 a.m.

Woodside, once the heart of Queens’ Irish-American community, still maintains a strong presence of Irish pride and features some of the best Irish pubs in the city. Stop by Sean Og Tavern, Saints and Sinners, Donovan’s Pub, Molly Blooms in neighboring Sunnyside, amongst a host of others for an authentic pub experience.

 

A Garden Party at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Steve Mosco

There is a 100-year-old urban oasis in the middle of Astoria that draws huge crowds of revelers during the warm summer months. This meeting place, the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, provides an outdoor space for people of all ages – a park among city asphalt, an advantage that the venerable spot holds over all the other “beer garden” pretenders.

Larry Spacek, the general manager, said that Bohemian Hall provides the “dirt under your feet” that lets you know you are in an authentic beer garden. But he also said that the Hall is much more than an outdoor summer spot – as it is open during the winter months, offering unique, hearty cuisine that sticks to the ribs and warms the belly.

“This is not for people on a diet,” the genial Spacek said with a smile. “This is typical Czech food – a lot of different influences from surrounding counties, but very tasty and distinctive in its own way, served in a family restaurant.”

Standard starter buffalo wings are available, but be sure to try the Anglicka Slanina, double-smoked bacon with a crunchy pickle; Bramboraky, Czech potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce; and Utopenec, cold spicy marinated knockwurst sausage.

Bohemian Hall’s traditional entrée dishes are the perfect food for the chilly January and February months. What better way to warm up than with roasted ham, beef goulash or a dynamic schnitzel? There is all of that and more at Bohemian Hall.

The Vepro-knedlo-zelo, or roasted ham with sauerkraut and dumplings, is a true old-world dish. Once peasant food, dishes like this represent the hard work and determination of an country filled with people who learned how to get the most out of the least. The Szegedinsky gulas, home style pork, is a food in the same vein – a typical dish of the old world revealed here to a new generation of eaters.

Of course, don’t forget about the beer. Patrons can order half liter mugs or pitchers, with options spanning the globe. Czech Republic and Slovakian beers are available alongside beers from Belgium, Germany and our own country as well. Try the Pilsner Urquell for a beer that will go with just about any dish.

Bohemian Hall is offering the community a place to go for the Super Bowl, too. Dubbed, “The Biggest Tailgating Party in Astoria,” Bohemian Hall will be open for the big game on February 5 and offers free admission, free hot dogs and a wing special while the game plays in the Main Hall on a 200-inch high-def screen with surround sound.

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden on Urbanspoon

A feast just off Bell Boulevard


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo by Steve Mosco
There are plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry on Bell Boulevard – but for a comfortably elegant setting, turn your attention just off of Bayside’s main strip.

Bentley’s Off Bell (213-41 39th Avenue), a newly opened restaurant featuring delectable international fare, entices patrons the moment the doors swing open. The restaurant is spacious and classy, with a bar/lounge area up front and a gorgeously cozy dining room in the back. Even before the food comes out, Bentley’s gives itself up as an ideal destination for a date or a group of friends.

But Bentley’s is more than just dinner – a staircase leads up to a private catering space. It’s the perfect spot for just about any catered affair, including afternoon business meetings, as the restaurant will open for such occasions. If requested, Bentley’s will provide both floors to private functions.

On the eating occasion, the focus rests squarely on the food. Bentley’s boasts a tempting tapas menu for eaters who want a little bit of everything. Options include mussels in a white wine pepper sauce, crispy fried formaggio, hot spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo wings, portabello stuffed ravioli and sirloin sliders.

For entrees, be sure to try the braised beef short ribs. These mouthwatering gems are simmered in Burgandy wine for hours until succulently tender – flawlessly cooked, the meat easily cuts from the bone and is loaded with beefy sumptuousness. Another can’t-miss-dish is the almond crusted tilapia, coated with almonds and sautéed with lemon butter. The fish is moist and flakey. Both dishes are served with choice of potato and the vegetable of the day – I recommend the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a crisp vegetable medley.

Bentley’s also offers some great burgers too. Besides the standard burger, they also have a stuffed burger, which is both stuffed and topped with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon; and a béchamel cheese burger, a cheese lover’s dream smothered with béchamel cheddar cheese sauce.

And this elegant food is available for neighborhood prices. The owners believe that a touch of class shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg – the food is for everyone’s purse.

Specialty nights include Wine & Dine Wednesdays, where patrons can get half off their bottle of fine wine; Tequila Tuesdays, featuring $5 margaritas; Girls Night Out Thursdays, with $3 well drinks and $5 martinis; Taps and Tapas Mondays, featuring $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beers and half-price appetizers; as well as a Tavern Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, with half-price appetizers, $3 well drinks, $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beer and $5 house wine.

If you’re looking for a place to party for New Years Eve, Bentley’s will feature a special ala carte menu along with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

 
”Bentley’s