In the northwest corner of Queens, where the subways are elevated and the street addresses are hyphenated, a special young brewery is making its mark on the New York beer world. Barely two years old, SingleCut Beersmiths is among the latest and most creative of the once beer-rich city’s new wave of brewers, and even though you could sample their beers at bars and restaurants in Manhattan, it’s worth dropping by the Astoria-based brewery–even if that requires taking the Q train to the last stop. That’s because a visit here involves a lot more than fawning over brewing kettles while some bearded guy talks about hop varietals–although there is that for the enthusiasts out there. No, it’s worth it because they have one of the warmest and most welcoming tap rooms of all the city’s breweries, perfect for passing the time with friends on a lazy afternoon.
File on in, find a few stools around a tall, wooden table, and go fetch round 1 from the bar. Now, to lovers of beer, the only two words nicer than “tap room” are “beer flight,” and that’s exactly what you’ll want to order. After all, with a dozen taps dispensing the borough’s freshest suds at any one time, you’ll need to sample a few before you commit. The staff here is clearly devoted to the cause, with the beers divided by their favorites. Fill up a flight with small pours of Eric’s More Cowbell chocolate milk stout, John Michael’s white coffee bean dark lyric lagrrr [sic], Dean’s PNW mahogany ale, and Billy’s 18-watt IPA to get started. While you’re there, order a few giant pretzels and a plate of cheese and charcuterie to keep everyone happy. (You’ll get a little flag with a number on it so they can deliver it to your table when it’s ready.)
Now raise a toast to the County of Queens and take a sip. Pretty nice, right? Make a note of your favorites so you can order a full pint for next time, or even fill up a growler for home. But for now, find one of the many games that are there for the borrowing–Connect Four is always a hit–or just take a look around the space. The brewing equipment is in the back, you can poke your head around the corner to see where the magic happens. The side wall is stacked with kegs and barrels for those looking to take artsy photos. And there’s an elevated platform (like 16-feet-high elevated) for live bands.
Even if it’s empty, you won’t be hurting for tunes, since the beertenders keep the vinyl spinning–usually some deep cut you remember from pre-teen slumber parties–and there’s often a bizarre film being silently projected against the far wall. (Last time it was the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, which is even weirder with Gloria Gaynor providing the soundtrack.)
Yet at this point, it all makes sense to you, and you merrily drop red and yellow disks into the Connect Four game, hoping your opponents don’t pick up on your tower-of-power strategy. They always do, of course, but like everything else around here, that’s just fine.