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Queens Botanical Garden hosts inaugural Brew Fest

By Alex Robinson

The borough’s plant and craft beer lovers will have a chance to combine their passions this summer.

The Queens Botanical Garden has announced its inaugural Brew Fest July 19 to celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fair.

“It’s an untouched gem in the heart of Queens, so why not come out, have a beer and enjoy it?” said Regina Forlenza, manager of visitors services and public programs for the garden.

Beer drinkers will be able to choose from more than 50 brews provided by at least 20 breweries from around the world at the event, called “Taste the World: Botanical Brew Fest.”

Organizers first got the idea for the event when they heard the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Corona Park had held an exhibit called the Lowenbrau Gardens, which was a reconstruction of a Bavarian-style beer-serving restaurant.

The Garden decided it would try to recreate it, but with more of an emphasis on craft beer and breweries, which try to be eco-friendly.

The nonprofit has partnered with Union Beer Distributors for the event.

“They are like-minded in their mission,” Forlenza said of the Brooklyn-based beer distributor. “They have solar power in their warehouses and we’re always trying to partner with companies looking to lower their own carbon footprint.”

Most of the beers are from the tri-state area, but there are also some from as far away as Thailand.

Food will also be available to soak up some of the beer. Some of the offerings will include chocolate-dipped bacon, cannoli and sweet and savory crepes.

For beer enthusiasts wishing to brew their own suds, home brew stores will also be on site to give brewing demonstrations.

Tickets can be purchased online through the Queens Botanical Garden’s website and cost $45 in advance and $50 at the door.

Organizers expect more than 1,200 beer drinkers to descend on the garden for the festival, which will have a session from noon to 3 p.m. and another from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Participants will each receive a 2-ounce sample glass to taste as much or as little beer as they want in the three-hour sessions.

Forlenza said the event will go on rain or shine as there will be tents set up to provide cover.

Organizers said they hope the event will become an annual affair.

“We really wanted to do something unique by bringing people outdoors,” she said.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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