Blog: Taste The World 2015
In its second banner year, the suds-fueled “Taste The World: Botanical Brew Fest” returned to the picturesque outdoor setting of the Queens Botanical Gardens on Saturday for two fun filled sessions. Local and international breweries would be on hand pouring crisp and refreshing seasonal pours to swarms of thirsty drinkers on a seasonally warm July afternoon in Flushing. Complemented with live music (in the evening) and some food for purchase, the early bird tickets priced at just $35 were an absolute steal considering the value we would derive during the course of the entire day’s festivities.
In celebration of the World’s Fairs of 1939 and 1964 which transformed the New York City borough, the 2015 ‘Taste The World’ would leverage a multitude of inspired beverages and fare to showcase the cultural diversity that is Queens. First though, we made sure to grab some tastings from the locals and Blue Point Brewing Company became our initial stop. Despite being acquired by Anheuser-Busch last year, the brewery remains in Long Island and their newly released “White IPA” was a nicely hoppy precursor of things to come under the new regime. Neither overly dry or strong, the beer became the perfect kickoff to the afternoon as we settled in for the humid day. Keeping it in Long Island, we also grabbed pours from Great South Bay, delivering a deliciously citrusy “Blood Orange Pale Ale” and a “Bay Lager,” which became an instant favorite. Both beers had a marvelous after-taste, and we spoke to several other guests around the table, all of whom agreed.
The Lagunitas “IPA” is routinely one of our beers of choice at nearby McFadden’s, the bar attached to Citi Field where we frequent as fervent Mets’ fans. And while at first we thought we were also familiar with their other sampling, we realized it was actually “Little Sumpin’ Extra,” not the “Little Sumpin’ Sumpin” we’ve had before. The Imperial IPA packs a whopping 8.5% alcohol by volume and was nicely citrusy with a touch of sweetness to pair with its undeniably smooth finish. After grabbing some samples of “Wow Salsa” from nearby stand Empanadas & More, we resumed our imbibing by slugging down pours of Southern Tier’s “Pumpking,” loaded with spices that left us longing for the Fall season.
Next we sought out some first time tastings from breweries we’re more familiar with. Eschewing Abita’s always tasty “Purple Haze” since we’ve tasted it so frequently, we quickly slurped up their “Amber,” far lighter than we anticipated. From there, we made our way over to Smuttynose Brewing Company where pours of their “Hayseed,” “Finestkind IPA,” and “Old Brown Dog” left us salivating. While all 3 were very inviting, the slightly spicy aftertaste of their IPA put it over the top for us. Happy to take a break from beers, we stopped at Crabbie’s, the UK company that served up a lemonade as well as a “Spiced Orange Ginger Beer” along with their “Original” ginger beer. Deliciously sweet- and not all that dissimilar to a summery “Dark and Stormy,” we returned to the Crabbie’s table more times than we’d like to admit.
As the afternoon session progressed, the crowd began to swell and seemingly in concert, our eyesight continually became more and more blurry thanks to the likes of Oskar Blues Brewery’s “Dale’s Pale Ale,” North Coast’s “Pranquester” and Greenport Brewing Company’s “Harbor Pale Ale.” Though the Botanical Gardens were now filled with folks, there was never a wait for any desired beer- and the outdoor atmosphere of the entire day was enhanced by throngs of happy drinkers tasting some of the world’s best craft beers. Though “Taste The World” comes but once a year, it provided a much needed excuse for us to make a return trip to one of our favorite places in any borough.
- Jackie Benavides