If you’re a craft beer drinker in the United States right now, and you’re like me, you probably climb up to your rooftop on the regular, shouting “WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!”
…no? Am I the only one who does this?
As a beer writer and beer drinker living in Jackson Heights, Queens, the past 5 years has been insanely exciting. New breweries pop up almost weekly, it seems. Beer lists at even the dive-iest of bars have beefed up with local liquid provisions, and even Irish Pubs have one or two craft taps in addition to, you know, that awful, corn-flavored water that AB-InBev, MillerCoors, etc. try and pass off as beer.
The newest craze amongst us bearded beer lovers is the New England Style IPA. It seems the market has become saturated with them, but I’ve still got my local go-tos in NYC and Long Island, (see my previous article about Sand City Brewing) and when I can get my hands on a juice bomb from Vermont or Massachusetts, it’s like Christmas morning.
Sometimes, though, you need to hop off that hazy crazy IPA train, and give your palate a change of pace. Don’t get me wrong, I love an IPA-heavy menu, but after a while, it all starts to taste the same.
This is why I love our dear friends at Big aLICe Brewing in Long Island City. They have 13 taps of rotating styles, flavors, and ABV (alcohol by volume) percentages, to suit any thirsty palate.
The name refers to Big Allis, a giant electric power generator located on the waterfront in LIC, not too far from the brewery itself.
It’s appropriate that Big A is named after a local landmark, because their focus on being local is paramount. They use local ingredients (such as New York State Hops and Barley, and honey from their VERY OWN APIARY!!), and are a licensed New York State Farm Brewery. They also collaborate with local Queens businesses to source ingredients like coffee and donuts for their Date Night, Bro? Stout.
Date Night, Bro?
Date Night, Bro? came about when one of the owners, Jon, and his wife were on a late night laundry excursion. A group of NYPD Officers entered the laundromat and one of them asked, “Date Night, Bro?” And thus was born a lower ABV Stout with coffee and donuts. It’s roasty, smoky, bitter, with just a hint of sweetness, and at 6% ABV, you can have a few of them without feeling wobbly. When this was released in cans, Big Alice donated a portion of the proceeds to the NY Police & Fire Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund.
Breweries make good neighbors. I’ll say that a million times. Maybe I’ll start shouting that from the rooftops! “BREWERIES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS!!”
Big Alice Tap Room
Their tap room/brewhouse is GORGEOUS, and literally packed to the gills with mash tuns, fermenters, and barrels filled with the finest liquids, hibernating and soaking up all the delicious flavor of the spirit that went before, waiting to be pulled out of the barrel after months or even years, and put on tap.
This past weekend, I was able to try their Gin Barrel-aged Gose with Brettanomyces. This was citrusy, salty, dry, funky, with hints of mint, eucalyptus, and floral notes from the gin barrel. It was a really cool combination.
Other favorites we’ve had at Big Alice are:
Jalapeño Rye IPA, with spicy rye malts and citrusy hops, with a bit of heat from the Jalapeño, it’s executed with perfection. This is my wife’s absolute favorite beer, so much so that she sings to the fermenter when she sees it. (Operations Manager Annie told us that she sings to her home brews like people sing to their plants, because the yeast is alive and can hear you. Sounds weird, but just remember, it’s SCIENCE!)
My wife Holly Kay kissing the fermenter or Jalapeño Rye, either right before or right after singing to it.
Lemongrass Kolsch, a crisp, dry, Kolsch-style Ale brewed with Lemongrass. Fun fact, they were steeping Lemongrass when we were drinking in the taproom one Saturday afternoon, and the entire brewery smelled like Fruit Loops. So does this beer.
Big aLICe also makes a number of kettle sours that are outrageous, such as their Dry Hopped Sour series, each Hopped with a single variety Hop, and the Sour One series, which I’ve tried on it’s own and with cranberries, which add a lovely sweetness to the tart base beer.
If you’re beer crawling around NYC (and why wouldn’t you be?) Big aLICe needs to be on your list. They’re located at 8-08 43rd Road, Long Island City, NY 11101. Head to www.bigalicebrewing.com for more info!
Also, be sure to check out www.benedictbeerblog.com for more posts about my travels around this globe with my wife, Holly, and friends, on our search for the next Great Beer Adventure.
Until next time,