Astoria, Beer and Wine
Aug 25, 2016

Get to Know Astoria’s Current Beer Scene

There’s a lot going on when it comes to craft beer and brews in Astoria. Guest author Matt Archambault gives us a starter primer on the scene.

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[We’d like to welcome Astorian Matt Archambault to WHA with this guest post about beer, something he knows plenty about. -Ed]

Astoria Beer Guide

By Matt Archambault

The beer scene in Astoria has never been better.

I’ve been seeking out beers—new, local, and just plain great—in the neighborhood since 2007. Back then, we had two bars with strong beer programs and one prominent beer store, and we were happy to have them. A decade later, with a dozen or so new and notable beer spots, it’s easy to be bullish on beer in Astoria.

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Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski

Let’s look at some of the highlights of the Astoria beer scene, a nod to some of the businesses that represent for us the exploding craft beer scene. See something missing? Let me know in the comments and give credit where credit is earned!

The Beer Bars

The first two bars to deliver a diverse and adventurous selection of beer to Astoria were Sunswick (35-02 35th Street; Yelp) and Crescent & Vine (25-03 Ditmars Blvd; Website). Years later, they remain among the top beer programs in the neighborhood. Sunswick is a large casual pub with 24 taps, giving them room to curate a unique selection of outstanding beer as well as catch many new American craft releases. Crescent & Vine is smaller, dark and cozy. They manage 12 taps masterfully, offering as many new European craft beers as American, as well as high end ciders.

Photo Courtesy of J.T. Via Yelp

Photo Credit: J.T. Via Yelp

Astoria Bier & Cheese (locations at 34-14 Broadway and 35-11 Ditmars Blvd; Website) captures the essence of the maturing beer scene in Astoria. Part bar, part beer shop, refrigerators of bottles and cans are accessible by patrons. Bars like these have become popular all over the city, but AB&C remains the only such concept in Astoria. Hundreds of beer options are available to drink on premise, and the constantly revolving selection includes pretty much any hot new beer available in NYC. This is equally a spot for casual beer enthusiasts as for full-fledged neighborhood beer nerds.

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Photo credit: Mosaic

There are more bars in the neighborhood with strong beer programs. Mosaic (25-19 24th Ave; Website) has built up a strong community of regulars as strong as it’s beer list. They keep 10 solid options taps, but their list of more than 100 bottles and cans is what sets it apart. The Queens Kickshaw (40-17 Broadway; Website) splits its focus between beer and cider, with a particularly adventurous bottle selection that shirks trends and is truly unique. And their four taps seem to always have something rare or unique.

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Photo credit: The Local Bar, Rick ‘Budo’ Carl

Judy & Punch (34-08 30th Ave; Website) quickly attracted crowds thanks to a super casual atmosphere and well curated tap list. They always pour Guinness and Smuttynose Vunderbar pilsner while the other 12 taps rotate. The Local Bar Astoria (41-04 31st Ave; Website) has slowly built a crowd thanks in part to Friday night karaoke, but also their unique 20-tap rotating program. With little to no pretense, this little bar has brought in American craft beers I don’t see anywhere else in the neighborhood.

The Breweries

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SingleCut Beersmiths (19-33 37th Street; Website) has matured and grown since they opened. They distribute to several states, and new recipes like Softly Spoken Magic Spells have created buzz across the city’s beer scene. The good beer, lively taproom, and special events has earned it a great reputation in the neighborhood. Newcomer LIC Beer Project (39-28 23rd Street; Website) is most certainly in Long Island City but it’s close proximity makes it walking distant for many Astorians. They’ve already released a broad range of beers, but the focus on Belgian styles and their coolship and expanding barrel program is seriously exciting.

The Homebrew Club

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Whether you’re a homebrewer or not, it’s fun to join the Brewstoria email list. The only homebrew club in Queens meets the first Wednesday of every month to hear from beer professionals around the city and share their beer. This month was Saison Month, where members brewed saisons using the same base recipe and heard from farmhouse style specialists Transmitter Brewing from LIC.

The Beer Stores

Photo Courtesy of Tri-Boro Beverage's Facebook Page

Photo Credit: Tri-Boro Beverage

Triboro Beverage (41-08 Astoria Blvd; Facebook) was among the first package store to offer a massive selection of craft beers, and continues strong today. The warehouse store is better known for its prices than stocking very rare releases, but you never know what you might stumble across. C-Town Supermarket (40-12 28th Ave; Instagram) is building a reputation as a beer destination across the entire city. The beer buyer at this otherwise normal C-Town is killing it, both by bringing in an enviable selection of the best beers in the city, but also by managing a beer-only Instagram that will make beer nerds salivate (@ctown28ave).

Props to Smart Choice Convenience Store (34-12 30th Ave), a bodega that has devoted half the store to an overflowing beer inventory, including a public walk-in with cases and beer gift boxes. And don’t forget that Astoria Bier and Cheese (locations at 34-14 Broadway and 35-11 Ditmars Blvd) is not just a bar, but also a beer store!

The Megatap Bars

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It’s worth mentioning several bars whose beer program may not be terribly exciting to committed craft beer drinkers, but have a massive tap selection that, in a way, makes up for it. Sports bars like Twist and Smash’d Sports (34-02 Steinway Street; Website), Katch (31-19 Newtown Ave; Website), and MexiBBQ (37-11 30th Ave; Website) each offer roughly 50 beers on tap. They often include many macro and/or light beers, but with so many options, it’s common to find something more interesting to have while watching a game.

There are many more spots in Astoria with strong beer programs, too many to go into. I’m interested to hear from beer drinkers in the neighborhood who think I’ve missed something. Shout me out!

Matt Archambault is the cohost of the upcoming PBS show Brewed in New York. He has called Astoria home since 2007.

5 Comments

Hannah Smith

The supermarket across from
Singlecut has a solid beer selection and offers chose your own craft beer six packs.

Reply
Chris

Blackbird’s keeps a small but well curated rotating selection of drafts. They also have a quarterly beer tasting dinner where you vote for your favorite beer. The winner then goes on tap for the next season.

Reply
Matt A

I’ll keep my eye out for the next beer tasting – do you remember what has won in the past?

Reply
Matt A

Their Irish whiskey list is awesome, but their beer list is pretty straightforward for a modern New York Irish pub. Good beers available, but not a beer destination, if that makes sense.

Reply

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