A rare Saturday afternoon off… It’s 2pm. I was sitting in my pajamas on my couch watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier. (I wasn’t in my underwear, you sickos! Stop thinking about me in my underwear! Wink!). I get a text from Bradco asking if I had any plans for the evening…
Holly and I were going to a pizza party (with SANTA I KNOW HIM) later in the evening, but my afternoon was free (see earlier comment about me not sitting around in my underwear YOU THOUGHT ABOUT IT AGAIN! Sickos!) and Brad said he was wandering around Astoria aimlessly…
So I gave him some aim. I hopped on Transmitter Brewing’s website, and just a second later, Brad texted asking if I’d ever been. We think alike, Brad and I… (read: We think about beer a lot, Brad and I…)
CUT TO: Transmitter Brewing. I arrived first, and was greeted by Lexi, who was running the tasting room. She had a few large (750 mL) bottles in front of her (they don’t have draft lines at the brewery), so I asked how it works, and she told me I could taste from the three bottles they were offering that day, and order any of the 750 mL bottles they had for sale for consumption on premesis, or to take away. Brad arrived mere seconds after Lexi handed me my first sample and told me, “Your friend can catch up.” Brad also had two large (750 mL) slices of pizza with him, and asked if I could help him eat them. Yes. Yes I could.
Ok. The beer! Brad and I sampled their three tasting room offerings that day.
First was G2 Golden Ale. This is a Belgian style Golden Ale, with aromas of citrus (it’s hopped with Azacca), and spice and bubble gum from the Belgian yeast.
Next up was IB1 Citrus and Elder Flower Saison (a collaboration with Interboro Spirits and Ales). This had less hop citrus, and had herbal notes from the elderflower and citrus on the backend.
The Third taste was A4 Belgian Quad, brewed with Star Anise, Black Pepper, and Grains Of Paradise. A classic Belgian Quad, with candied sugar sweetness, caramel, dark fruits, and a bit of citrus. It hid the 10% ABV very well. We would have gotten a full bottle of that, but opted for something lower in alcohol, as we were just starting our day.
We shared a bottle of S8, a Rice Saison. The rice added some really interesting sweetness (think Sake), and dried out this delicious saison, with spice and citrus notes, leaving you wanting more. This was a perfect table beer to compliment the pizza.
The tasting room is right inside the brew house, which I assume would make it impossible to brew on days they’re open. It’s small, but industrial, with tall ceilings and big barrels (a theme you’ll see in the pictures from the rest of the breweries).
We left, and walked the 10 minutes north to Rockaway Brewing Co., which I had never visited before. My favorite thing about this place was that they were rocking some magical Christmas songs, and one of the bartenders was belting them out from behind the bar, which only spread Christmas cheer throughout the tasting room and made the (already amazing) beer taste better.
First off was Hawaiian Pizza IPA. At 6.5%, this had a really nice body and awesome pineapple hop profile, and I will absolutely come back and grab a growler of this stuff.
My second in the flight was the Hüllified Gangsta Lean, a 3.9%, summery, wheat ale with notes of melon and peach. Super interesting beer to drink as it’s getting colder, but it was a nice reminder of summer in NYC.
Third was Black Gold, a lovely, lower ABV, toasty roasty Stout.
Last but not least was El Cuco, a Milk Stout, with bitter chocolate, coffee, and some milky sweetness. Awesome stuff.
Brad and I did the free tour, with an enthusiastic host, who told us about the brewery history (Why is it called Rockaway Brewing if it’s not in the Rockaways? Well, it used to be! And soon, they’ll have a brewery/tasting room there again!), let us smell some whole cone and hop pellets, and taste barley. I LOVE TOURS.
We moved on up to Big Alice Brewing! You remember my last post about them, right? If not, here’s a refresher!
Brad and I sat down, and Annie and Cory were behind the bar (you’ll remember Annie from the previous blog post!), and we chatted with them for a bit, although they were quite busy on a Saturday night (Drink local!!).
Holly joined us here as she got out of work, and we all had multiple tastes from their extensive (12 beers and 1 cider) tap list. We each had two small pours of our favorite, Jalapeño Rye IPA, with just enough heat from the peppers to balance out the citrus from the hops and spicy sweetness of the rye malt. It’s unreal stuff.
Another favorite of ours was the Date Night, Bro? This is a stout with coffee (OK) and DONUTS (OK!!!)!!! Dessert. Plain and simple.
Another highlight? Sour One with Cranberries. Super tart, with a lovely cranberry sweetness. Could drink this stuff all day!
As we waited for our Uber to arrive, we each drank another taster of Jalapeño Rye, because that’s what ya do when your driver won’t arrive for 7 minutes. Ya get spicy.
We could have walked to LIC Beer Project, but, it was cold, and, we were lazy. And it got us there in like 4 minutes. And then we were…
Brad and I ordered the Modern Aberration Double IPA with Brettanomyces (see my post on Sour Beer here!!), which was dank, tart, citrusy and amazing…
Holly ordered the Gal Friday, a delightfully light, crisp, sour. Pucker up!
So, as I was checking into my Modern Aberration on Untappd, I noticed that one of my Untappd friends had checked in moments earlier to the same beer AT LIC BEER PROJECT. I swore aloud (I’m sorry) to Holly and Bradco, and said “HOLY SH**! ONE OF MY UNTAPPD FRIENDS IS HERE AND I’VE NEVER MET HIM!!” The internet is weird.
So I walked around the bar, calling his name (BECAUSE I AM A TOTAL WEIRDO!). “JASON S.? JASON S.?” Eventually, I found him, and we laughed, along with his friends he had brought to the brewery, about how funny the internet is. I told them about the blog, and asked for a selfie with him because, you know, Pics or It Didn’t Happen, right? We became Facebook friends, and actual real life friends (or, he thinks that I’m a maniac, I hope not.)
So yeah, we hit all 4 LIC Breweries in one night, and then we met up with our friend Bryan and my wonderful family (Uncle Bill and Aunt Dolores, and my cousins Billy, Andrew, James, Aidan and Thomas) at Sokol, the gym where Holly does gymnastics, which just so happens to be attached to the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria. We ate pizza, we drank a pitcher of Oktoberfest, we got our picture taken with Santa, and we did The Turkey Dance.
A Bunch of Turkeys!!
Brad with his empty glass of Spaten Oktoberfest!
I love when an unexpected Saturday off leads to some amazing beer adventures with my sweet Holly Kay, my wonderful friends, and family. 2016 keeps throwing flaming tires at all of us, and all we can do is keep on dodging ’em. Be kind to everyone. Have fun. Spread joy, spread love. It’s not profound. It’s just beer.
Let’s do it!
Until next time.