Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alewife Beer Bar in Queens

Alewife in Long Island City Queens is the subject of this week's podcast! There are two main points that can't be stressed enough about the place. #1: it's not at all far from Manhattan. In fact, it's the first stop on the 7-train, one station away from Grand Central. And #2: their goal is to have the very best draft beer list possible, and it could be argued that they succeed!
Patrick, formerly of Rattle & Hum, Bob and Daniel.
In addition to being a station of the Boston mass transit system, a Massachusetts state park, and a species of herring, "alewife" is also an old English term for a gal who manages a pub. And with founder Daniel Lanigan being from Boston, we're not sure which he was going for in the name. (Probably not the fish, but, who knows?) Daniel is also the man behind other elite Northeast beer destinations: The Moan and Dove in Amherst, Mass., Lord Hobo in Cambridge, Mass., The Dirty Truth in Northampton, Mass. and Alewife Baltimore, in Maryland, of course.
We've been to all but the Baltimore establishment, and -- yeah -- this guy is a bit of a fanatic about putting the best shzt on tap! The ever changing list at Alewife is almost threatening in its level of quality. They boast 28 taps, plus a beer engine for casks, and a respectable list of bottled beer, as well.
Having opened in October 2011, Alewife recently brought on Patrick Donagher to help with events and publicity. Patrick has been a key figure in the NYC craft beer scene, as manager of Rattle & Hum and as the driving force behind the touted Get Real! beer events, which he continues to run.
Being in LIC, the gastropub has some distinctive advantages, and unfortunate perception disadvantages. On the plus side, the non-Manhattan rent allows for a huge, airy, open, comfy space, with an upstairs dining area, a cozy fireplace nook, and an outdoor deck. On the (supposed) downside, it's not in Manhattan. But wait a minute -- neither is Spuyten Duyvil! In fact, S.D. is one subway stop further from Manhattan than Alewife! It takes about the same amount of time to bicycle to both places from the East Village. And rumor has it that another good beer bar is eying the neighborhood of Vernon/Jackson, which will make it all the more of a beer destination.
Alewife on Facebook
Notice the foam lacing resembling the USA on Chris' glass!
We haven't had too much experience with the food of Alewife just yet, but we can attest to the fact that their fries are pretty damn good! They come seasoned with a garlic topping, and rank as some of the best in NYC. Their pizza is respectable. And, judging by the look of the roast beef sandwiches au jus which we saw others wolfing down recently, the menu will please the carnivores among us.
We expect to see more and more special events driving folks beyond the East River to enjoy what Alfwife has to offer. Who knows -- maybe LIC will become our intra-NYC get away. Remember when the East Village became ruined by up-town yuppies and bridge-and-tunnelers, and we were forced to go to Brooklyn for sanctuary? And then Williamsburg became spoiled with the trendy-set? LIC is still far enough off the radar to provide a relaxing, non-unnerving pub experience! I'll take that train one stop!

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