Blog: aPORKalypse 2013
If you’ve already managed to secure perhaps the most appropriate name for an event, you need to make sure that its execution is up to par. Although the now second annual aPORKalypse has moved from a large event space into divided sessions at Long Island City craft beer bar Alewife, conceptually and fundamentally, the sessions were run the same. A multitude of different microbrews, the slicing and dicing of deliciously prepared hogs, and the grease smeared faces and wet lipped mouths of imbibing locals, hungry to celebrate in all of the day’s swine filled goodness.
At noon sharp, the line of guests filed outside of the reclusive LIC bar began to make their way inside the venue named LocalBozo.com’s best new bar of 2011. Upon entry, attendees were handed a tasting glass filled with yellow and blue tasting tickets ten a piece for beer and food samples. We immediately hit the second floor first where we encountered Damian Brown, Master Brewer at The Bronx Brewery who was helping to dole out samples of their signature “Bronx Pale Ale with Mango.” The hearty dark brown pour offered an extremely subtle fruit-filled finish coupled with a chocolate and coffee laden nose, and acts as a nice alternate from their typically outstanding “American Pale Ale.” The cask from Blind Bat Brewery with pours of their “Sweet Potato Saison” from their ‘Farm and Garden Series,’ also seemed to resonate with the crowd upstairs looking for an alternative from the adjacent taps running out stouts and porters nearby. The most fitting cask of the entire event however, had to be Port Jeff Brewing’s “Runaway Ferry Imperial IPA.” The hoppy, smoky beer was ‘dry hopped with bacon’ leading to an undeniably filling finish, despite being surrounded by other styles of pork nearby. But there are clearly no rules at aPORKalypse and 2013’s iteration would be no different.
With succulent smells of suds and swine in the air, food plates came calling toward us and the scents wafted us to Alobar, stationed upstairs near the back door of Alewife’s open air deck space. As we approached the restaurant’s cutting table a lone pig’s head, charred and positioned on its side was there to eye us down, despite its eyes being removed. The friendly crew was slicing up and plating a traditionally cooked plate of pork atop a thick slice of sourdough bread with a dollup of mustard accompanying. The warm, salted meat helpings were exactly what we had anticipated long in advance of the event as each tender piece was both chewy, seasoned and flavorful. Alewife made sure to also get in the act, holding court at the back of the ground floor level, with a mouthwatering and festive array of different options from pork cheek, to pork belly, corn bread, potato salad, cole slaw, and more. The combination of flavors being plated here was the best we dined on all afternoon long- regardless of any home field bias. Meaty plates from Astoria’s Sunswick and choice selections from McClure’s Pickles rounded out the food pairings to go along with the distinctive craft beer helpings of the day.
Despite the absence of the folks from John Brown’s Smokehouse during the afternoon session at their assigned station, we had reached our pig-filled max and continued along the path of heavenly beer righteousness. Pours of Ommegang, Ithaca, Spiter Bite and Sixpoint somehow made the afternoon become foggier and foggier as we grabbed seats on the patio upstairs and chatted about how much we were enjoying the day’s festivities. Judging by the occupied tables that surrounded us in the cold wintry hours of early March, weren’t the only ones reflecting positively.
With one final pour of Flying Dog’s medium bodied “Classic Pale Ale,” which beautifully mixes spice and sweetness, we slugged down our glass and headed for the exit, greeting some familiar faces from hosts at Get Real Presents and the folks at Alewife, who made an otherwise quiet Saturday afternoon a collaboration of beer and pork insanity. The storm may have moved to Long Island City, but just twelve minutes away from Grand Central Station, we still managed to be mesmerized by 2013’s aPORKalypse.
- Jane Van Arsdale