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Rockaway tumblers

Is Queens becoming the best borough for beer drinkers?

“While the indie beer scene is booming up and down New York State, Queens is leading the way in new microbreweries,” said Cat Wolinski, a New York City-based beer writer who curated the new Queens Beer Book, a bar guide and passport offering 30 beers at 30 bars for $30.

“Between 2012 and 2015, six new breweries opened operating businesses in Queens — SingleCut, Rockaway, Finback, Transmitter, Big Alice, and the LIC Beer Project, which opened just this spring,” Wolinski said. “And more are on the way, with Bridge and Tunnel Brewery and Queens Brewery both opening locations in Ridgewood later this year.”

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The ongoing battle over which borough has the best restaurants will have a friendly skirmish during Queens Taste 2015 in Corona on May 12. More than 50 restaurants, dessert makers, and beverage providers are getting ready to provide samples of their products to an expected 800 attendees at this annual celebration, which will take place at the New York Hall of Science this year. More information and more foodie photos are on the jump page.

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It’s going to knock your block off. This Saturday, the Queens Council on the Arts will open the gates of the newly designated Kaufman Arts District for a block party with art, dance, food, live music, workshops and other creative activities. Let’s begin with the food. George Rallis from William Hallet will roast a suckling pig and have a spit going with pork butt. Kim Chi Smoke representatives will offer low-and-slow Korean BBQ food, and Mike Anzalone from Singlecut Beersmiths will serve locally brewed suds. Other participants include SnowdoniaManducatis RusticaBareBurgerMamu ThaiUNO PizzeriaOvelia, and Rockaway Brewery. Entertainment will feature local wordsmith Audrey Dimola, who will recite her own prose and host a special presentation of writers and poets. There will also be plenty to look at as the Queens World Film Festival will screen the award-winning short Recursion and Sal Milazzo from The Sparrow Film Project will present one of his own films. 

Details: Queens Council on the Arts Block Party, Kaufman Astoria Studios lot (35th Avenue and 36th Street), Astoria, June 21st, 4 pm to 10 pm, $35 for a ticket, which includes soda or bottled water, signature festival cup, all-day access to artist activities, eateries and breweries, admission to the film screenings, caricatures by art students and raffle prizes.

Bonus detail: The event raises funds for Queens Council’s High School to Art School program, which guides students through the art college application process and helps them with their portfolios.

Photos: Queens Council on the Arts

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Queens is the new home to a number of experimental, small-scale breweries, reports the New York Daily News. Here’s the roundup: Big Alice Brewing and Rockaway Brewing Company opened in Long Island City within the past year, SingleCut Beersmiths opened late last year in Astoria, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery opened in 2012 in Maspeth, and Finback Brewery is under construction in Glendale. Finback hopes to open by the end of the year. Another brewery, Queens Brewery, is actually located in Saratoga Springs, but the owner hopes to move operations to the borough by the end of 2014. SingleCut is the largest of the Queens breweries, and will brew about 3,000 barrels by the end of its first year. The owners hope to double production by the second year. Big Alice is by far the most experimental of the breweries, brewing up concoctions like a Rye Saison with Garam Masala. And as the owner of Queens Brewery says, regarding his plans to set up shop in Queens: “The whole purpose of this entire company is to put Queens on the map. We want to make Queens sexy.” Queens Brewery, following the familiar path of the Brooklyn Brewery?

Queens Now Home to Four Breweries, With Two More in the Works [NY Daily News]

Photo via Facebook

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The Museum of the City of New York wants your Sandy photos

The Museum of the City of New York has issued a call for submissions from both amateur and professional photographers for their photos of before, during and after Superstorm Sandy: “…the Museum of the City of New York seeks contemporary photographs of the areas and people affected by the storm – photographs that portray the region before the storm, during the dramatic hours of the storm’s landfall, the immediate aftermath, and the relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts of individuals, organizations, and government agencies – for consideration for inclusion in an exhibition at the Museum to open in April.” Entry deadline is 12pm March 3, 2013. Photographers, we know you are out there! It’s free to enter, too.

Putting together the Unisphere

We’ve shared this on Facebook and loved it on Pinterest, but we just can’t get enough of this seriously cool image from the time they were putting the Unisphere together – it’s very Erector Set here.

Image source: Queens County Market Facebook page

The Waterfront Crab House in LIC is now open, first time since Sandy

DNAinfo reports that LIC’s Waterfront Crab House is now open! They had their soft opening on Tuesday. It really took a hit during Hurricane Sandy, with several feet of water inundating the historic eatery, causing a shut down of the place and seirous repair work to take place (“new floors, walls and a brand new bar”). Some of their antiques and other collectibles that hung on the walls were totally damaged and had to be thrown out, but some things managed to survive. So, if you were missing the Crab House, it’s time to go back!

If you want excellent beer, come to Queens

The borough has been know for a long time, actually as a place for great beer and a place to drink it – the Bohemian Beer Garden comes immediately to mind (it is one of the best known food/drink spots in Queens, along with Jackson Diner in Jackson Heights, Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona, and Flushing’s Chinatown). But these days, beer has been “kicked up a notch” in Queens and fantastic craft/micro/nano brewed beer is coming out of the borough, especially in western Queens. There’s everything from Astoria’s own SingleCut Beersmiths to the somewhat mysterious Bridge and Tunnel nano-brewery. Then there are places to drink beer, like The Strand, Astoria Bier and Cheese, as well as the beloved Queens Kickshaw. So yeah, we’re not joking when we say there’s a beautiful beer scene in Queens.

Yoga is all the rage, but you probably knew that

Yoga is a really big deal all around Queens. There are different kinds (Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, just to name a few) taught, sometimes a yoga class/session has more of an athletic aspect, while others include a spiritual element to it, too. But in this fast-paced world we live in, yoga can be a welcome change of pace for so many – men and women. We’ve got a list of places you can take a yoga class, as well as some background on yoga and why it has caught on so well in Queens.

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Image source: SingleCut Beersmiths

Brew York clued us into some great new beer that will be flowing soon at SingleCut Beersmiths. Here’s the skinny:

Astoria’s Singlecut Beersmiths has rolled out more of their kegs into bars around the city. They launched last month with their debut brews 19-33 Lagrrr! and Dean PNW Mahogany Ale, but they’ve got some other beers up their sleeves, too. The seasonal Jan Olympic White Lagrrr! is a spiced lager and John Michael Dark Lyric Lagrrr! is a dark and hoppy lager, both out now. And coming this month, their line of IPAs will start to appear, including the Billy 18-Watt IPA, a sessionable hoppy ale, and Billy Full-Stack IPA, an intense Imperial IPA with 120 IBUs and 8.6% ABV.

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The Stran(drama) Smokehouse

We’ve heard mixed reviews about the food at newly opened The Strand Smokehouse in Astoria – glowing (“tender and juicy” regarding the roast beef, and “some of the most delicious in the city” regarding the biscuits as part of brunch) to more critical (“coagulated fat and tough skin” and “pulled pork and ribs — both were dry and not much flavor,” two reviews on Yelp). We’ve also heard about the neighbors who are frustrated by the noise and smoke coming from this establishment. The management has made some changes but will that be enough? You be the judge and check out what everyone has to say about it all.

Sandy Can’t Get Me Down

It was great to read about this LIC teacher who has decided to write a children’s book about Superstorm Sandy. It will be called Sandy Can’t Get me Down, and will be self-published later this month. The teacher, Marie Barret, who teaches at Public School 111, has been “collecting the stories of brave children on the Rockaway peninsula and weaving them into a book of hope.” Barret was inspired by their survival stories.

She previously wrote a book about hurricanes right after Hurricane Irene, called Ms. Irene is So Demanding. About the new book, she says, “The goal is to take away the fear of hurricanes. The book will allow children to talk about things that have happened during the storm they might not have been able to talk about before. The message is you can survive anything no matter how sad it is.”

Halletts Point development – what’s up with that?

We put together an overview of the Halletts Point development, which will bring 2,200 new apartments in 7 buildings to the Hallets Point peninsula that sticks out into the East River just south of Astoria Park. The area is far from the subway, there are few services like retail, but perhaps the new development will solve some of these challenges. The developers could theoretically break ground later this year. We’ve also included a lot of photos of the area to give you an idea of what’s there.

A Steinway-SingleCut pairing?!?

Looks like SingleCut is getting a piano! Rulpsen Singlecutbeer proclaims on Facebook, “We are currently receiving a ‘housewarming’ gift from our awesome neighbors down the street…” with this photo attached:

Image source: Rulpsen Singlecutbeer

That’s pretty cool! SingleCut is hosting live music, so this is a terrific match. Steinway pianos are some of the very best in the world (you can even take a tour of the Steinway factory, just up the street from the brewery).

Wildlife in Queens? Indeed!

This morning we asked our readers if they’ve spied any wildlife (not pigeons or squirrels, which are ubiquitous), and here are some of the answers we got on twitter and Facebook:

SangriaWhisperr: @QueensNYCity On my block in Astoria (38th St btwn Broadway & 34th) I’ve seen raccoons eating leftover halal and possums eating Mexican!

nyc8675309: @QueensNYCity did you see the hawk eating rat video from Flushing a few weeks back? http://t.co/beMUYFWL

sacsplace: @QueensNYCity Some people on the N train qualify as wildlife.

Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary and Victorian Garden: Does “real deal” wildlife include cardinals, mockingbirds, and sparrows? We see many of these wild birds in our garden. They aren’t hawks, but they’re a little rarer than squirrels, pigeons, and feral cats!