How a Wrong Turn Lead to a Good Ale at the LIC Beer Project

Sometimes a wrong turn leads to a good ale.

Wasn’t paying attention, Kiddo. Right turn off Queens Plaza North. A block screaming Quentin Tarantino. A bevvy of auto body shops. Cars jacked on sidewalks. ‘Flat Fix Here’ signs everywhere. Roar of cordless drills tightening wheel nuts.

And then? Quick glance to the left.

Garage door half opened. People sitting at wooden tables on steel stools.

Brewey outside

“Hey, Kiddo. You feel like hanging and downing a few?”

So, as the Ramones used to shout, “Hey, ho! Let’s go.”

Sheet metal ducts run the high ceiling. Wooden casks along the brick walls. Silver silos at far end of room. An immaculate stainless steel basin in a room behind a glass window. Exotic bottles of beer on the window ledge. Not far away people, toss bean bags at wooden boards.

Brewery Bean toss 1

“Don’t know about you, but tossing Bean Bags sure beats crunching numbers…You agree, Kiddo?”

Welcome to the LIC Beer Project, Kiddo.

Brewery Sunday crowd

“Talk about finds…It’s like somehow the Seattle craft brewery scene has come to Queens.”

Open six months. A former tobacco holding factory.

Ten taps. All Belgian style ales. Maybe a poet gave each ale its name and wrote the descriptions.

Ardent Core. ($6) “…The final result is softly contoured pale golden ale…The finish is super crisp and dry.”

Wonderlic. ($6) “…generously hopped with Amarillo and Saaz brewed with Abbey yeast….bitterness as well as a soft maltiness.”

Modern Aberration. ($7) “This beautiful, golden ale with a billowing white head, explosive hop, and yeast profile…Tropical pineapple, orange rind and mango dominates…”

You like poetry Kiddo, right? So, linger, ok? There’s space.

Seven seat sleek bar. Pandora selections loud and clear through hidden speakers. List of ale’s on a vintage mirror above the taps. Customers stare at the mirror with the focus you give a menu at a four-star restaurant.

“What are you going to have?” the bartender asks. Major league tattoos, red hair, and knows her stuff.

“Your best.”

You tell her your likes. She looks at the taps. Bites her top lip. “Got just the one for you,” she says.

Draws you a taste. “Ardent Core. Our flagship beer,” she says. “Lemon. Earthy and a blend of secret spices.”

Brewery beer 1

“Who names an ale Ardent Core? Whatever, Kiddo.  One sip and you’ll be talking about the LIC Beer Project for a long, long time.”

You sip the ale slow. Kiddo, if you were here, you would raise your glass and shout, “Here’s to urban renewal.”

The ale is finished. You put money on the bar top. The bartender thanks you and says to come around again.

Outside on 23rd Street, a cordless drill goes back to work. A red sky appears above the Queensboro Bridge and a woman leans against the brick wall near the entrance to the LIC Beer Project.

She bends one knee and presses the sole of her shoe against the wall. A goblet filled with an ale in one hand. Cell phone and cigarette in the other.

“You okay?”

She shrugs.

“A guy?”

The electric drill goes silent. Wheel nuts hit the sidewalk.

Tears well in the woman’s eyes. Her lip quivers. She sips the ale and looks away.

Yeah, pure Tarantino, Kiddo.


Key Information:

LIC Beer Project

Address: 39-28 23rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11101

Phone: (917) 832-6840

Taproom Hours: Thursday:      4 pm-11 pm

Friday:           4 pm – 11 pm

Saturday:      1 pm – 11 pm

Sunday:        1 pm – 9 pm



Bathrooms: Spacious and Clean

Nearest Subway Station: Queensboro Plaza

Parking: Easy after 6 PM and on weekends




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