There’s Finally an LGBTQ Group for Craft Beer Lovers in NYC

LGBT Craft Beer

For many craft beer drinkers, it’s not hard to find a bar where one is immediately at ease, knowing that beer brethren and sistren are nearby to talk hops, barley or brettanomyces. Bars specializing in craft beer abound in New York City; apps like Untapped and Instagram connect craft beer lovers at astoundingly specific points of interest; festivals occur frequently across the country; and there seems to be a meetup group for every beer drinker, whether you’re a bottle sharing single dad in Brooklyn or a young woman with a penchant for artisanal ales.

But for some, the craft beer community leaves something to be desired: a designated group for LGBTQ beer fans, where non- hetero, binary or cis identifications are overtly accepted and celebrated. Here, members would feel they were among their kindred spirits as beer lovers, with the added comfort of a common bond.

In Long Island City, Queens, Alexa Blair Wilkinson is filling that void with NYC LGBT Craft Beer, a Meetup group created in partnership with well-known craft beer bar, Alewife. Wilkinson, who describes herself on the Meetup page as a “craft beer nerd with the heart of a unicorn,” is also an executive chef and certified Cicerone, a professional credential for serving beer and pairing it with food, similar to a wine sommelier.

Says Wilkinson in the NYC LGBT Craft Beer description, “Whether it’s friendship, a spark, a bottle share, or some nerdy yeast loving talk…this meetup is for anyone who likes or wants to learn more about the growing craft beer movement within a safe environment.”

LGBT Craft Beer meetups will include beer tastings, beer dinners, tasting competitions, charity events and seasonal parties. For the most part,  Wilkinson plans to hold the events on Sundays in Long Island City, but is open to different times and locations, the event description says.

Wilkinson’s Meetup is not only an opportunity for queers to get together for a beer, but an answer for a community that has been lacking solid stance in New York City’s craft beer scene. More than that, the group will be working with its partner venues to host charities and fundraisers; at the debut event in January, attendees are encouraged to bring winter coats for a New York Cares drive.

The debut NYC LGBT Craft Beer Meetup will take place at Alewife in Long Island City on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 7pm. The meetup is also sponsored by Troegs Brewery, who will be donating a keg to the event. Specials for the group include $5 pints and snacks on the house, along with “a chance to get together and talk craft beer,” Wilkinson said.

What it Means to Live Like a Local [Infographic]

After a recent bike ride to Alewife in Long Island City, Queens, I spotted a magazine on the table of promotional papers and publications that I’d never seen before: Upstater.  As a lifelong lover of Upstate New York (a history that starts with an annual trip to Lake George with my family since the age of one, and ends, as of a week ago, with a sixth trip upstate this summer alone), I snatched it up excitedly and stuffed it into my bag, along with Boro Magazine and a few postcards, to devour later that evening. (The only appropriate things to devour at that moment were my Hill Farmstead beer, fig and brie grilled cheese, and Pat’s undivided attention.)

The magazine’s mission statement struck me as soon as I turned to it later that night:

“This magazine is dedicated to living a connected life.
Connected to nature. Connected to where our food comes from. Connected to our families. Connected to our work.
Connected to our community.
We like making:  Building with our hands. Growing our own food.
Making cocktails. Making plans with friends. Making dinner. Making love. Making time to live our wildest dreams.
That’s what living local means to us.

Live like a local.

I liked the message so much, I immediately tore it from the book, folded its edges and taped it to the small bulletin board I finally have hanging on my brand new (15-year-old hand me down) desk. Yes, it’s a little cheesy. Yes, it’s easy to say these things when you live the “simple life” of an upstater, or live in the country, or live on a farm. Yet, I thought, if there’s any safe space for me to share something meaningful, it’s here. Since I have the chance, I’m passing this along in hopes of inspiring a few of my urban comrades to start thinking local, even when that means (as it often does) putting in a little extra effort—and probably a few extra cents.

How to Live Like a Local in Three Easy Steps

  1. Next time you’re out at a bar, order a local beer. It took more work than you can imagine, from the barley farms to malt houses to hop yards to the brewery, to get that beer in your glass. Savor it.
  2. At the grocery store this week, while you’re mulling over which cheese or milk to buy, try looking at the labels to learn about where they came from. See which ones are from New York. I guarantee you’ll see at least one, and if you don’t, ask the manager about it.
  3. At the very least, when you’re stocking up on produce, skip the freezer section. Skip the supermarket altogether and try the mom and pop down the street. You’ll make their day—and a much better meal.

Upstater’s mission statement is posted in the website’s “About” section as an attractive infographic identical to the page in print. Take a look and pass it along to the makers, dreamers, and—most importantly—the doubters in your life.

UpstateMagazine_MissionStatement