By Mark Hallum
The Queens Beer Festival is returning to Long Island City for its third year and will be showing off craft brews from around Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx Oct. 13 and Oct. 14.
Rosalia Bobe, a spokeswoman for the event, said the 30 different beer brands showcasing their drafts represent the unique tastes of Queens residents, who are beer drinkers at heart.
“I think that the Long Island City area has seen such a boom in recent years with the influx of new residents moving in, it’s a specific demographic that is looking for local craft beer,” Bobe said. “The consumer is really that younger, beer-drinker that is curious about all the types of breweries out there. It’s amazing when they come and we have the brewery reps set up and the questions they have — they’re really interested in the process and what inspired the brewer.”
Bobe said the event sees such high turnout they have to let attendees into the event space at 5-25 46th Ave. in two-hour segments for safety reasons, since there is limited space.
“The love and dedication that consumers have to this local craft beer industry is amazing to me, people will go out of their way,” Bobe added.
Queens Beer Festival is hosted by LIC Flea & Food which hosts markets in the open space during the summer, where people buy goods from local businesses.
“The Queens Festival was started to bring exposure to the breweries based in the borough two years ago. Since then many new breweries have opened in Queens and with that, the festival has grown,” said Joshua Schneps of Schneps Community News Group. “The festival attracts thousands of people interested and passionate about craft beer. The festival acts as a way to promote small and large breweries and hopefully give them exposure to new customers. A borough with over 10 craft breweries deserves its own festival.”
Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, which will be featured during the festival, is one venture that owner Rich Castagna attributes its independence to the success of the label.
Started in 2012, Castagna founded Bridge and Tunnel as one of the first licensed nano-breweries in Queens, providing wholesale kegs to nearby drinking holes from 50-gallon batches.
Now, his Ridgewood taproom provides pints to a quickly gentrifying community at reasonable prices as the cost of rent goes up on real estate around it.
“These neighborhoods have always been communities and I can see it in the taproom that there is this flow of people who stay until their money runs out and then they have to leave New York City,” Castagna told TimesLedger. “I just feel bad about that because it’s not the city I knew or that my family grew up in. Right now at least, I’m trying not to contribute to that.”
Bridge and Tunnel was the second brewery in Queens, according to Castagna, and their taproom at 15-35 Decatur St. gets more and more popular every year with new flavors coming out in 300-gallon batches.
Other breweries offering tastings are Coney Island Brewery, Blue Point Brewery, Braven Brewery, Big Alice, Gun Hill Brewing Company, LIC Beer Project, Montauk Brewing Company, and Wartega Brewery, among others.
Tickets can be purchased at www.Queen
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall