Friday, September 5, 2014

SingleCut Beersmiths (Astoria, Queens, NY)

While the rest of my trip up to Queens was fine for a group post, I felt that my trip to SingleCut Beersmiths deserved its own review.  A small brewery located in the Astoria neighborhood, my cousin and her boyfriend recommended we go there knowing that I love trying new beers.  Serving both their beers and a limited menu of food in their tap room, this is a fun little spot to hang out with a drink and a snack, though probably not a good option for a full meal.

I ordered a beer flight (5, 5oz beers) and a steak and mushroom pie, since I was a bit hungry and figured after two beers at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden I could use a bit of food.  The steak and mushroom pie was pretty good, reminiscent of the meat pies I ate constantly the summer of 2007 when I was studying in Oxford and frequented the pasty shop on Cornmarket St.  The meat was flavorful and tender, the mushrooms cooked just right, and the gravy savory, while the crust was flaky.

I asked the bartender to pick whatever she wanted for my beer flight, since I did not know their menu at all, and she did pretty well.  Virtually all of their beers are named for people, who I suspect either work there or are connected to the employees.  They also spell lager lagrrr...pirates?  I went light to dark, taking brief notes, as follows.  Descriptions from their menu are in italics.

"Ian" Olympic White Lagrrr!:  A wheat lagrrr! made with hundreds of freshly juiced and zested oranges, coriander and szechuan pepercorn.  The wittier witbier!   14IBU, 5.4% ABV.  Very little nose, with a light look and feel, a major coriander flavor, but lacking the szechuan flavor I was looking for.  All in all, refreshingly mild.

"Kim" Hibiscus Sour Lagrrr!:  Refreshingly tart and citrusy.  Made with hibiscus flowers and black currants.  5IBU, 4.1% ABV.  Wow!  What a great beer.  Huuuuuuge nose, sweet and sour smelling.  It both tasted and smelled a bit like Warheads candies, as my cousin pointed out (I could not quite place the flavor, but as soon as she said it I knew she was right), with a great tart, slightly fruity beer that was not nearly as sweet as it smelled.  The black currant came through well, as did the citrus.  The best beer I had there, and really the best beer I had other than the Troegs Hop Knife.  Despite its very low ABV, I do not think this is quite a session beer, if only because of the very intense flavor.

"Billy" Half Stack IPA:  This juggernaut of an IPA has a stone fruit, citrus and dank hop profile that is insanely drinkable.  88IBU, 6.6% ABV.  Very little nose, but what there was smelled entirely of hops.  The hops carried over into the flavor, with a good citrus note.  The aftertaste is actually very pleasant, a rarity, and despite its high IBU number, it was very drinkable.

"Dean" PNW Mahogany Ale:  A crisp, spicy and dry malt back bone featuring Pacific North West hops.  This mahogany colored ale has a notably resiny, piney and citrus hoppiness that will put hair on even a lumberjacks chest!  73IBU, 6.0% ABV.  Huge malt flavor, definitely sweet.  I honestly did not write much about this, because I just could not quite decide how I felt.  I do not recommend it unless you like super malty beers, but I would not necessarily say do not drink it either.

"John Michael" Dark Lyric Lagrrr!:  He's back, in black, and better than ever.  With it's (sic) deep dark hue, an abundant hope presence and surprisingly smooth quaffability this beer in black is what we mean when we say, "Lagrrr!" (usually followed by an echoing sinister laughter).  50IBU, 6.0% ABV.  Huge malt nose, but less malty flavor than the "Dean."  The booze is heavily present in the taste, surprising for a 6% beer.  My cousin had the coffee version, and it was much better.

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