March 31, 2023 By Gabriele Holtermann
Prost! Alewife Brewing, an expansive German beer hall-style taproom located in the heart of Sunnyside, announced the special release of five exceptionally crafted beers just in time for spring.
The small-batch brewery, located at at 41-11 39th St., focuses on brewing traditional and innovative styles of beers, using malts from Germany and hops from the Pacific Northwest, Australia and New Zealand.
Patrick Donagher, who owns the company with his wife Roz Rochard Donagher, explained that it usually takes eight to 12 weeks to brew their lagers, while IPAs take about three weeks.
“And then some beers could take three or four days depending on the yeast we use,” said Donagher, who hails from Ireland.
Donagher, a fourth-generation bar owner, said the next logical step was to start his brewery because he has always loved craft beer.
“I always wanted to be my own brewery,” Donagher told Queens/Sunnyside Post.
Donagher explained the brewing process, which begins in the mill room, where they grind the grain. The grain is then transferred to the kettle, where all the raw ingredients are boiled to a certain temperature until the brew starts producing enzymes.
From there, the future beer goes to the lauder tun, a giant sieve that separates the grain from the liquid. After a few more steps, the beer goes into the fermentation tanks, where the magic happens.
Alewife Brewing offers 18 beers on tap, including Czech style pilsner, IPAs, stouts and ales like the Alewife 7 Line Amber, which pays homage to the hometown New York Mets.
“It’s the first time doing a big batch of 7 Line Amber,” Donagher said. “It just became very popular. Anybody who is a Mets fan or from Queens seems to be buying a 7 Line beer.”
The brewery, which sells its beers throughout New York state and Pennsylvania, tried to get Citi Field to sell the 7 Line beer.
“We tried this beer to get us in,” Donagher said, “but they picked bigger breweries.”
Alewife’s newest additions are “Death to Ego Hazy IPA”, a “fantastic” orange-colored IPA with a mango tropic aroma, a hint of floral and perfectly balanced bitterness.
“Thousand Stars” is a German-style pilsner with bright floral and herbal aromas. The refreshingly crisp and well-balanced pilsner is the perfect companion for warm summer nights.
“Talus Prophecy Cold” is a strong, aromatic IPA with extra hop intensity and heavy sweet stone fruit with a light coconut finish in the aroma. It has a bit of a bite to the bitterness and a nice, crisp finish.
“Plzen,” a Czech Pale Lager, has the classic pale gold appearance with earthy and herbal aromas. The clean taste with a light spice and herbal flavor makes the brew another refreshing contender for hot summer nights around the barbecue pit.
Lastly, “NEO Hazy DIPA,” is a zesty and citrusy flavored double IPA, filled with “fun,” hoppy fruitiness and a beautiful leap of tropical fruit aroma with a pale, thick and hazy appearance.
Donagher explained that “there is always something happening” at the taproom, which is open from 5 p.m. to midnight on Monday through Thursday; 2 p.m. to midnight on Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; and noon to midnight on Sunday.
It’s all about good vibes at the beer hall, which features classic arcade games, pinball machines, darts and a pool table. The kid-friendly venue also has an array of children’s games on hand for its youngest guests.
Besides Trivia Night on Tuesdays and Drag Bingo on Thursdays, music lovers can enjoy live music throughout the weekend while sports lovers can watch their favorite teams duke it out on large screens.