Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hops Heaven

99+ bottles of beer on the wall at Alewife

Seeing 28 draughts lined up like boozy little soldiers behind a bar will stir primal, even religious emotions in the hearts of men.

So it is at Alewife Queens, New York's new temple to the brew.

But were it not for the massive red neon sign screaming BAR between the branches of a tree-lined residential street, you'd never know that a holy house of suds lay in the outer reaches of Long Island City.

This brand-new kid sister to the original Alewife in Baltimore is a sprawling, bi-level tavern, whose hooch-heavy menu lands with a pleasing thud on its nickel-plated bar.

But skip the very able cocktails, because you're here for the beer.

Serious hopheads will be heartened by rarities (yeasty Belgian De Ranke XX Bitter) and tongue twisters (HaandBryggeriet Odin’s Tipple) among the nearly 80 bottles currently available.

And for sustenance, there's an ambitious selection of chow, from dry-aged burgers to roast beef-on-rye sliders to garlic fries with truffle salt (don't tell M.I.A.).

Invariably during your visit, "Don't Stop Believin'" will blast through the loudspeakers at some point.

There's no reason to mistrust the lyrics, you've actually arrived in beer heaven.

Alewife Queens
5-14 51st Ave., Long Island City
(718) 937-7494

2 (out of 4) Noise: 3 (out of 4)
Subway: 7 to Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Ave.
Scene: Laid-back borough folk and beer-craving stragglers from PS1 shows.
Best bets: Dry-aged burger; spinach and artichoke tart; De Ranke XX Bitter.
Hot seat:
Get away from the crowd below and settle into one of the leather love seats upstairs, or the breezy rooftop patio.
School of bock: Alewife will offer classes, pairings, beer-themed dinners, a "mug club," and "sundry other dope beer sh*t" in the near future.
Nearby: MoMA PS1; Tournesol; Manducatis

The Rundown's restaurant reviews are based on anonymous visits from reporters, not press releases.

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