Tag Archives: Queens Beer Week

Competitors come out for Ridgewood’s first-ever thumb wrestling event

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso


Locals were all thumbs at Thursday night’s first-ever Ridgewood Thumb Wrestling Competition held at Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar.

Five brave competitors squared off in mini plastic rings in a fight for glory, honor, local pride and a free growler fill courtesy of Finback Brewery in Glendale.

The thumb warriors included The Millionaire, The Russler, Mr. Clean, The Madison Assassin and The Gentrifier. William Reder, co-owner of Julia’s, was the event’s referee. Reder read from the Thumb Wrestling Association’s official rulebook regarding match guidelines, including a strict “elbows on the table at all times” policy.

The winner of each match must also yell, “1, 2, 3, 4 … I have won a thumb war!” in order for the win to be valid.

The first match of the night took place between The Madison Assassin and The Gentrifier. As the only female competitor, The Madison Assassin (a.k.a. Madison Street resident Beata Slazak Zalewski), proved to be a formidable opponent, winning her matches against Mr. Clean (Ridgewood resident Chris Dinon) and The Millionaire, as well as one against The Gentrifier. She donned a dramatic black and red satin cape, gold crown and blue lipstick, as well as one very strong thumb painted to resemble a Luchador mask.

“I just thought that it is the most ridiculous idea and totally fun, plus the fact that costumes were encouraged and that it was being held at Julia’s made it an easy decision for me,” Zalewski said.

She was ultimately, however, no match for The Gentrifier, the neighborhood’s most hated villain, clad in gold brocade and a silver Luchador mask. As he stepped up to the miniature ring, The Gentrifier, played by Cowardly Lot Costumes and Props owner Richard Callender, taunted spectators and his opponent by waving his handkerchief and promising to bring high-end retail to the area. The crowds universally booed the wrestling heel despite his early thumb wrestling victory over the Assassin.

“I thought it would be fun and I like participating in things in the neighborhood,” Callender explained afterward.

The Gentrifier and The Madison Assassin faced off against The Russler in the final rounds of the competition. The mysterious, plaid-clad Russler ultimately took home the championship, with The Gentrifier and The Madison Assassin placing second and third, respectively.

The thumb wrestling competition was held in celebration of Queens Beer Week. Competitors and spectators sipped locally made brews, including Finback’s “Little Buddy” American IPA and offerings from Transmitter and Sixpoint breweries.

Start flexing those thumbs, Ridgewood! Reder hopes the fun will catch on and hinted at the possibility of hosting more thumb wrestling competitions at Julia’s in the future.


LIC Flea & Food to participate in Queens Beer Week

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@LICFlea

When making it down to the LIC Flea & Food this weekend, make sure to grab a cold glass of what Queens has to offer.

The popular Long Island City market, located at the waterfront lot at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will be taking part in the second annual Queens Beer Week this Saturday.

Queens Beer Week, which kicked off on May 8, celebrates nine local breweries at over 70 borough-wide participating bars and restaurants. The nine-day celebration includes brewery tours, home brewing demos, tap takeovers, food and beer pairings, pub crawls, and more.

LIC Flea will join LIC-based breweries such as the LIC Beer Project, Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company and Transmitter Brewing on May 16 in offering tours and beer samples.

The LIC Flea Beer Garden is the only venue where visitors can taste all six Queens brewed beers from local breweries including Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, and SingleCut Beersmiths.

Queens Beer Week wraps up on May 17, with the celebration of Finback Brewery’s one-year anniversary.

Along with this one-of-a-kind experience, the LIC Flea also offers items from over 80 vendors each day. Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, handcrafted jewelry and fashion, and much more.

LIC Flea & Food runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through the end of October.

For updates on the LIC Flea & Food market, follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.


On the hunt for beer and fun at Ridgewood Hair and Hound

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso


The streets of Ridgewood played host to the first annual Ridgewood Hair and Hound, part bar crawl and part scavenger hunt, on Saturday as part of Queens Beer Week, the nine-day celebration of local beer and breweries that runs through this Sunday.

The Hair and Hound was a collaborative effort between Ridgewood Beer Society founder Stephen Calebro, William Reder of Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar and Finback Brewery‘s Leah Blair.

“We want to support our neighbors while promoting the beer culture that’s developing right now,” Reder said.

Teams of craft beer enthusiasts were given a special map to the participating bars along the route. Each bartender provided the teams with a secret list of clues. The goal was for the teams to photograph objects in each bar based on the set of clues provided.

Queens Tavern, located at 68-69 Fresh Pond Rd., served as the hunt’s starting point. The bar featured specials on locally brewed beer, including Finback’s Double Session ($7), a floral brew spiked with peppercorn and ginger. They also featured pints of Bridge and Tunnel Brewery’s Twenty-Spot and a Switchblade Coffee Cream Ale ($7) infused with ground coffee for a smooth yet bold flavor.

The groups progressed next door to The Monk, a Belgian beer bar located at 68-67 Fresh Pond Rd. Teams were treated to $1 off drafts of Transmitter Brewery’s Saison S 4 Ale ($7), a white wheat malt brew combined with French Saison yeast for a full-bodied fruity flavor with hints of pepper.

Bleachers 67, a vibrant sport bar and grill located at 67-14 Forest Ave., offered specials on drafts of Queens Brewery‘s Queens Lager. Queens Brewery is currently planning to open their doors in Ridgewood in the fall. Their new locale will include a taproom and beer garden.

Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar, located at 818 Woodward Ave., was the fourth stop on the route. The bar featured $2 off specials on Finback Brewery’s aptly named Buddy System Double IPA, a tropical, hoppy brew with bold citrus notes. The sleeper hit, however, was the Kirsch Gose ($5), a refreshing pink sour cherry beer from Victory Brewing Company. According to Reder, this “salty sour” beer was created in the tradition of the old-world German brewing process.

The teams converged on Onderdonk and Sons (566 Onderdonk Ave. at Menahan Street) for a midday meetup and check-in. The bar featured an all Queens lineup of locally made brews on their taps. The list included SingleCut Brewery’s Pilsner, Braven Brewery’s White IPA, Rockaway Brewing Company’s ESB, Queens Lager, Bridge and Tunnel’s Coffee Cream Ale and Finback’s Double Session and IPA brews. Team members enjoyed the popular Onderdonk burger and fries before resuming their hunt.

The Hair and Hound wrapped up at Bierleichen (582 Seneca Ave.) where patrons enjoyed specials on Finback and SingleCut drafts ($6). The ultimate winners of the hunt were the members of Team Gunther, named after a longtime regular patron of Caskey’s Pub, currently Queens Tavern.

Prizes included T-shirts, tote bags and gift certificates to local breweries, including a free growler fill at Finback Brewery in Glendale. Organizers of the Ridgewood Hair and Hound thanked Bridge and Tunnel Brewery’s Rich Castagna for inspiration, as well as Finback Brewery, Transmitter Brewing Company, Braven Brewery and SingleCut Beersmiths for sponsoring the event.

Click here for a full schedule of remaining Queens Beer Week events.


Ridgewood gets ready to thumb-le at wrestling event

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Julia's Beer and Wine Bar


A Ridgewood bar has given the thumbs-up to the neighborhood’s first-ever thumb wrestling competition this Thursday night.

With the battle cry, “1, 2, 3, and 4…Prepare those thumbs for war,” the event will take place beginning at 6 p.m. at Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar, located at 818 Woodward Ave.

Competitors will have the chance to square off in miniature plastic thumb wrestling rings complete with mini ropes and sponsored by Finback Brewery. A referee will judge the competition based on the official Thumb Wrestling Association (TWA) rules.

William Reder, bartender, brewer and co-partner of Julia’s, described the “tongue-in-cheek” event as a fun, offbeat way to celebrate Queens Beer Week.

“We encourage costumes and stage names,” he explained. “We want this to be more about having fun than competing.”

Ultimately, a champion will be crowned and will enjoy the “glory” of sporting the championship thumb ring. Other prizes will include beer, gift certificates and more from Finback Brewery and Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar.

Registration for the Ridgewood Thumb Wrestling Competition will be held the night of the event, from 6 to 7 p.m. Competitors must be 21 years of age and older to participate and must produce a valid state ID. Tickets for competitors are available here.

Julia’s will feature beer from Queens-based breweries, including Finback, in honor of Queens Beer Week. They also have an extensive menu of New York State wines sourced from small, family-owned vineyards, as well as a delectable menu of small plates, salads and appetizers.

The event is open to the public and cheering is greatly encouraged.


Queens Beer Week to kick off second year with over 70 venues

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image via Instagram/@queensbeerweek


Something is brewing in Queens, and in just two weeks you’ll be able to get a cold glass of what the borough has to offer.

The second annual Queens Beer Week will kick off its nine-day celebration of local breweries on May 8, with the final event on May 17.

According to organizer Daniel Bronson, a beer enthusiast and manager of Crescent and Vine in Astoria, this year’s event is expected to be bigger and better than the previous year, celebrating nine local breweries at over 70 borough-wide participating bars and restaurants.

The celebration will include brewery tours, home brewing demos, tap takeovers, food and beer pairings, pub crawls, and more.

“Queens has such a rich and diverse beer scene,” Bronson said. “We’re a borough home to some of the best neighborhood bars in the country. And although we have more breweries than any other borough, it was hard getting New Yorkers, even us here in Queens, to appreciate that.”

This year’s Queens Beer Week kicks off on May 8, with the official launch of Queens’ newest brewery, LIC Beer Project, at Crescent and Vine, located at 25-03 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria.

On May 9, Rich Castagna of Bridge and Tunnel Brewery will host the Ridgewood Beer Bar Scavenger Hunt at various bars throughout Ridgewood. Players will search for clues and hidden items at local hot spots such as Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar, The Monk Ale House, Onderdonk & Sons, Bleachers Sports Bar and Queens Tavern.

The official Queens Beer Week Kick-Off Party, which is already sold out, will be held on May 10 at 4 p.m. at LIC Landing, located at 52-10 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City. The event will feature samples and tastings from all of the Queens breweries, including Queens Beer Week IPA, a special collaboration beer made specifically for Queens Beer Week by SingleCut Beersmiths and Barrier Brewing Company.

On May 14, the film “Blood, Sweat and Beer,” a documentary by filmmaker Chip Hiden chronicling the evolution of two start-up breweries, will premiere at SingleCut Beersmiths, located at 19-33 37th St. in Astoria. In addition to pours of SingleCut beer, viewers will also be treated to beer-inspired popcorn from Ma and Pa Kettle Corn Co.

Long Island City-based breweries such as LIC Beer Project, Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brew Co. and Transmitter Brewing will offer tours and beer samples throughout the day on May 16.

Queens Beer Week 2015 wraps up on May 17, with the celebration of Finback Brewery’s one-year anniversary. Their new Barrel-Aged Plum and Proper, described as “a smoky sour dark ale brewed with fresh plums,” will be available in Finback’s taproom, located at 78-01 77th Ave. in Glendale.

For the latest information and Queens Beer Week schedule, visit www.queensbeerweek.com.


New LIC brewery to open taproom featuring experimental beers

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Jamie Lefkowitz Photography

A trio of beer lovers have come together to begin a project in Long Island City that will bring new flavors to Queens.

Daniel Acosta, Damon Oscarson and Gianni Cavicchi are the guys behind the LIC Beer Project, a new brewery expected to make its official launch during Queens Beer Week, which is set to kick off on May 10.

The idea of the brewery was born after Acosta took a backpacking trip through Europe in 2004 and fell in love with Belgian beer. He had already been interested in craft beer, but while overseas, he was able to visit well-known Belgian breweries. When he came back to the United States he tried some Belgian beer at a California brewery and from there started brewing at home.

At the time, Acosta was working in the construction industry and this got him interested in the process portion of making beer and how breweries are built.

“I had all of that behind me to help drive having the idea to start a brewery,” he said.

He later attended the Siebel Institute of Technology, an accredited brewing school, and received an education in brewing science. For the next eight years he studied and traveled around the world visiting breweries. 

With the idea of starting a brewery already in his head and wanting to create Belgian-inspired beers and American wild ales, he just wasn’t sure where he would call home. Then, three years ago, he met Oscarson, who had also been home-brewing beers, and Cavicchi, a wine and beer sommelier, and the idea of the brewery became a reality. 

The brewery is now located in Long Island City at 39-28 23rd St. and its site is slated to open in June, although LIC Beer Project will officially launch with three to four of its beers next month. 

“I felt there was really a need for these styles of beer here in the city so we all converged and wound up here in Long Island City and this is where it is beginning. We’re on a crazy journey here,” Acosta said. “We felt that [LIC] was a real up-and-coming area and we are very close to Manhattan, close to Brooklyn, so we felt that it was at the center of something big to happen.”

The idea of the brewery is to create different types of beers, using various techniques, and all shooting to be dry, allowing for people to enjoy more. The main set of beers will go through weeks of fermentation, a second style will be brewed with wild yeast called brettanomyces, naturally occurring on fruits, and another batch will go through what is known as the coolship method.

Through the coolship method these beers spend time in an open vessel, allowing what is naturally occurring in the air to ferment it, and then will be transferred to oak barrels. Through this method, which takes from six months to two years for beer to be ready, the brewers hope the beer will be exposed to the Queens air and have its own kind of “local touch” to it. 

“The reason we call it LIC Beer Project is because we have several different types of beer we’re going to do here starting from more traditional Belgium-inspired beer with their own American twist on them and then they’ll go through an evolution,” Acosta said. “So as we go through the different beers they’ll get more complex, more difficulty in brewing process, more complex yeast characters.”

Coolship located at the site of the LIC Beer Project.

Coolship located at the site of the LIC Beer Project.

Along with being home to the LIC Beer Project, the 23rd Street location will also serve as a taproom expected to be open to the public Fridays through Sundays starting in June. 

The taproom will have 10 beers on tap, which will constantly rotate in order to try different experimental beers and get feedback from visitors.

The site will include seating and food, and tours of the brewery will also be given, in order to provide an educational portion. Visitors will also be able to walk around the 5,550-square-foot facility and get a firsthand look at the brewery’s production.

“We’re going to make it a pretty interesting place for people to come and try something new,” Oscarson said. “We wanted to give people an experience when they come here and enjoy the beer as well. We wanted to give them an experience when they are drinking the beer and take them to a different place, so we wanted to do same thing with the taproom and brewery itself.”

For now, the LIC Beer Project has three beers — Ardent Core, Evening’s Empire, and one yet to be named — ready to be released to the public, and after Queens Beer Week these selections will be available at various locations in Queens.

Acosta added that the ultimate goal for the brewery would be to become a nationally known boutique brewery, sold at various markets around the country, but for now they will let the beer take them forward.

“We’re going to keep evolving, keep working. We’re on like a beer odyssey. Sometimes things might work out and sometimes not,” Acosta said. “At the end of the day everything that we do is all about the beer.”


First Queens Beer Week to showcase borough’s best

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image Courtesy of Queens Beer Week

The city will raise a toast to Queens in the borough’s inaugural beer week starting Friday.

Since 2009, more than half of the city’s breweries have opened up in Queens, with a total of seven breweries in the borough, according to Astoria resident Dan Bronson, organizer of the first annual Queens Beer Week.

The nine-day event, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday, April 27, celebrates the best beers, bars and breweries the borough has to offer. Queens Beer Week will bring together over 60 bars and restaurants for a week of promoting the rapidly growing craft beer scene.

“We thought it was time that Queens got its own beer week to share its own achievements,” Bronson said. “We thought it was time to have a week of our own.”

On Friday, the borough’s newest brewery, Transmitter, will make its debut at Crescent and Vine, located at 25-03 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria.

The official kick-off for Queens Beer Week will take place during an open invitation party, 21 years and older and no tickets needed, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Singlecut Beersmiths, at 19-33 37th St.

The Taste of Queens party will feature all of the borough’s breweries, local vendors, music, and the debut of the event’s exclusive “Queen of Tarts” ale from Barrier Brewing Company.

Queens Beer Week will then continue with a week of more than 40 innovative beer-centric events, spread across the borough, including event pairings of beer, wine, chocolate and music.

“It is a great week to go explore the bars and breweries in Queens,” Bronson said.

For more info on participating venues and up-to-date notifications of events going on during Queens Beer Week, visit the event’s official website or follow @QueensBeerWeek on Twitter.