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Singlecut Beersmiths: New Queens Brewery Is A Keeper

Photo by CeetarI had the chance to get out to Astoria to visit Singlecut Beersmiths this weekend and check out the beer. I was not disappointed. I don’t have to tell you how craft beer has taken off over the last decade or so, and like so many other tidal waves of change, it washes up a lot of muck along with the gems. We’ve all tasted those craft beers that are merely “Not Bud” or simply ordinary, so when a new brewery opens up it’s not uncommon to meet it with a little skepticism and wait to see if they’re going to do more than create pale imitations of the popular craft beers already in the market. I’m happy to report that this is not the case with Singlecut.

 

The beersmiths put care and effort into crafting these delicious beers, and it shows. They had four on tap when I got there, and they’ve got two IPAs coming very soon. Photo by CeetarForward to back is the 19-33 Lagrrr!, the Jån Olympic White Lagrrr!, the John Michael Dark Lyric Lagrrr!, and the Dean Pacific Northwest Mahogany Ale. The 19-33 was a crisp Czech-style pilsner, enjoyable although basic. The Jån is described as a uniquely hued and flavored Lagrrr! and you can see it’s opaque like a hefeweizen. Their blog says it’s brewed with Matzoh Meal. It was delicious, and the one my three companions enjoyed the most. It’s still a lager and enjoys all the qualities of a lager, but with a richness and flavor akin to a wheat beer. Next up is the Dark Lyric, which was my favorite. I’ve been on a black lager and black IPA kick for a while though, so perhaps that swayed my vote. Dark Lyric did not disappoint, providing a moderately hoppy beer with a gentle roastiness to it. Lastly, for now, was the Dean Pacific NW Mahogany Ale. This one was extremely hoppy, perhaps too much for the style, but I like hops and don’t care about defined styles so I’m not complaining. The bitterness masks some of the other flavor you’d expect  so it trended more towards an amber than a brown, but the Pacific Northwest is known for hops so it’s not unexpected.

Photo by Ceetar

We visited at four on a Saturday and the place was pretty crowded. It was a neat little place that seems to be drawing a lot of interest. They had barrels stacked in the fermentation, and I’m told they were a Bock being aged in rum barrels, so I’m excited to try that in the future. They framed some of the bags of malt they used in the beer and hung them on the walls, which was a neat idea. The record player and records for music was a nice touch as well, and fitting with the music theme. I appreciate the quirky descriptions of their beers (check the list on the website) but could’ve used some more basic tasting notes, beyond just IBU and ABV, both on the website and at the tasting room. I overheard some talk about a homebrew club on weekends and noticed one of the guys behind the bar with a Brewstoria shirt (who is also the foursquare mayor), and although I’m not going to go over the bridge for such a thing, it’s a good idea.

All in all I enjoyed my visit to Singlecut and recommend checking it out. Particularly if you’re a Queens native looking to support local businesses. (especially if you’re say, a professional baseball team?)

January 14th, 2013 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, Uncategorized
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EuroTrip: Amsterdam Day One

That's quite a few bikes!

We arrived in Amsterdam on Friday afternoon, after taking a Red Eye from New York.   First impression: Yowzah that’s a lot of bikes!

 

Amsterdam is a pretty cool city.  We started the afternoon after checking in by walking around the place and checking out the canals.  It was a little quiet at first, once we walked away from the transit hub at Centraal Station near where we were staying.  Friday afternoon is not a place you expect to be bustling with people necessarily, but when you’re used to New York City quiet streets in the middle of the day are odd.

Read the rest of this entry »

October 4th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, life, travel, Uncategorized
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Fair Lawn Promenade Needs a Brewpub

Fair Lawn is getting something called the Fair Lawn Promenade along route 208.  This is right next to the gym, so I noticed recently when they started leveling out the ground and clearing the weeds.  It’s been empty lots for a long time.

 

The Fair Lawn Planning Board has approved the application for the “Fair Lawn Promenade,” a proposed mixed-use village on the Route 208 Northbound site of the former Kodak property.

 

My first thought: It needs a brewpub.   The signs mention retail and dining, so why not?  It profiles as a “upscale town center environment” and given the inclusion of some affordable two-bedroom apartments, it stands to reason that it will promote people just like me.  By that I mean couples in-between owning a house and graduating from college.  In my experience this is a demographic that appreciates real beer and would enjoy being able to get locally brewed beer a stone’s throw from home.

 

So why not a brewpub, preferably one with a beer garden, for us to enjoy?  There are already a bunch of apartments within walking distance, which is where I live, so it’d be a great place for a happy hour or watching a game.  It would create that nice city benefit of living within walking distance of a cool bar or restaurant while still living in the suburbs.

 

I saw brewpub even though a typical sports bar with a good beer selection would probably work too.  This particular area could use a microbrewery serving good food, because to my knowledge there isn’t one anywhere nearby.  Building from scratch could provide the ability to factor in a nice beer garden too, with long benches and trees.

 

Certainly if I had the capital to start up a business, I’d be all over this.

May 11th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, dinner, Food, new jersey
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“Fancy” Beer for Simple Folk

A friend linked me to this article on askmen.com.   It reads like The Onion, and the tone is full of pretension that the author is trying to attribute to craft beer, but it’s presumably a serious post.  The author misses the days when beer was simple, bland, and cold.  He yearns for the days of simple working class people getting together over a couple of beers, and simply drinking them.  It amuses me that he goes on and on about working class beer but goes out of his way to use ‘fancy’ words like emetics, gullet and twee.

 

It’s an okay sentiment, if one I don’t agree with, to enjoy, even prefer, a beverage that is quaffable,  a cheap hobby, and gets you to that tipsy and relaxed state that many people enjoy whether from beer, wine, or cocktail.   What’s not okay is to suggest that his preference is both the real way to enjoy beer, and that it’s secretly what I want as well.  The idea that craft beer drinkers are hipsters drinking the beer solely to make a statement and stand out is not a new one, but it’s been steadily disproven with the growing market of not only craft beer, but of homebrewing.  There are lots of people out there making strange tasting beers in their own basements and consuming them themselves with no regard to what’s popular or trendy.  Many people have different taste buds, and enjoy the different tastes beer offers beyond a vaguely malty cold beverage.  One of the great things about beer is how many different types there are.

 

The writer of this article, one Patrick Smith, makes himself out to be the archetypal character in a marketing commercial.  He admits to being influenced by beer commercials well before being of legal age, he repeats the common marketed point of beer being better as cold as possible,and  he recites commercial taglines and insinuates that he believes them that it makes him cool to drink those beers.   Personally I think he’s stuck in a 1970s view of what’s manly.  I think, and maybe we’re not all keen with the labels in today’s society,  the typical manly man in today’s world is different than it was then, and they drink craft beer, but that’s a discussion that deserves it’s own post.

 

The more I think about it, what Mr. Smith is really missing is a time when he could be a “functional alcoholic” and be praised as a man for it.  Luckily we’ve progressed to a point where we recognize the desire to drink heavily after work, at ballgames, as a child, or at every gathering of men as symptoms of alcoholism.

 

March 16th, 2012 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, Uncategorized
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Transitioning From Beer Douche to Beer Geek

You know the type.  That guy who is somewhat new to craft beer, and always is talking about it.  He asks the waiter “What microbrews due you have?” and often orders the trendiest one.   He (or she) berates your choice of beverage, and seems to bask in the superiority of having ‘discovered’ beer.

 

The problem is; he doesn’t really like it.  He thinks he’s supposed to like an IPA so he drinks it, but his palate isn’t used to the bitterness.  He’ll hear about some new super double IPA and have to have it, not prepared for the intense taste.  This guy actually is a disservice to beer, as anyone that is trying to follow him into the world of beer may be turned off by the intense flavors.   Real beer is not about intensity, it’s about flavor.   There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good wheat beer, or a simple pilsner that’s well crafted.  Just like some people will never enjoy 100,000 scoville unit hot wings, some people will never enjoy 100 IBU beers.

 

That’s the transition stage from beer douche to beer geek.  But It’s also a good way to figure out what you like.  Some people rave about Imperial Stouts.  I tend not to like them too much so I don’t order them, even if they’re somewhat trendy.  IPAs are acquired tastes, and many people don’t want that much bitterness in their beer.

 

Another problem is that there are a lot of mediocre breweries out there.  They’re usually still better than the Bud stuff, but just because a beer is micro doesn’t mean it’s good.  So as someone breaking into beer (and I can see it being pretty daunting these days) just trying new things, it’s easy to find stuff that’s not very pleasant.  But as you learn what’s delicious, both in general and to yourself, it’s a world of difference.   Sixpoint, Troegs, Brooklyn, and Flying Fish are some of the breweries I trust to make high quality beer ‘around’ NYC.

November 2nd, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, new jersey, new york, Uncategorized
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