Ride to the Ryes

On a beautiful, warm Sunday morning, the Brewminaries and friends gathered outside Bitter & Esters for a bike crawl to Queens to celebrate the release of the Ryes of the Brewminaries collaboration beer at Rockaway Brewing Company. Bitter & Esters co-owner, John LaPolla, organized the event that would take a team of beer lovers up through Brooklyn to three breweries in Long Island City: Transmitter, Big Alice, and Rockaway Brewing Company.

Approximately 20 people came for what was to be the perfect mixture of exercise and beer tasting. We strapped on our helmets and assembled into a long line of cyclists that stretched down Washington Avenue, turning heads as we pedaled north.

Our first stop was Transmitter brewing - conveniently located just underneath the Pulaski bridge as you cross over into Queens. Rob and Anthony, the founders of Transmitter, are clearly dedicated to quality. Each beer we sampled was perfectly crafted to style, while artistically incorporating a bit of a twist. For example, there was a grapefruit and black peppercorn saison bubbling away in the kettle, and a crowd favorite was the B2 rum barrel aged imperial stout. B2 combined the warmth and sweetness of rum with a dry, non-cloying, and flavorful stout. Furthermore, we learned that Transmitter only bottle conditions their beer (even the kegs), filling and corking every bottle by hand! You can really taste the care and passion that goes into these lovely bottles of beer.

Our motley crew again mounted our wheeled steeds to head to Big Alice brewing. The staff there were ready for us on arrival and we ordered sample flights of either 4 or 6 beers. The Jalapeño Rye was a standout, and really captured the aroma and flavor of the fresh peppers without the heat. The good times seemed to ramp up as we basked in the sunny ambiance of the Big Alice tap room, or perhaps it was the 7.3% Sour Multigrain Stout! Huge thanks to the Big Alice staff for all the sample pours they did that day!

Now glowing with beer camaraderie and nerdiness, we headed over to our final destination for the star of the show: Ryes of the Brewminaries at Rockaway. The bar was already bustling with customers by the time we arrived. Rockaway poured us our delicious beer, and also opened the brewery for us to check out! Those of us who were there on the day that we made the Ryes of the Brewminaries explained the system to others as we sipped the fruit of all of our labor. I venture to say that the beer was most delicious straight from the source, and I noticed some of the Brewminaries (who will go unnamed) ordering 4-glass flights of it!

All in all, we had a fantastic time exercising our legs and our livers on a gorgeous spring day! Thanks to all for participating, and especially to Bitter & Esters for organizing the event!

Sheri Jewhurst

Sheri is a native Long Islander and brewed her first batch in 2011 after volunteering at a brewery in Tasmania, Australia. Sheri co-created the Ladies-Only Brewshop 101 and Brewprenticeship courses at Bitter and Esters, but spends her days as a water quality scientist. Sheri has a soft spot for any Australian hops and likes to brew sessionable beers.