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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.



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SingleCut Beersmiths: 79 years overdue!

Phil Foleen

The Brewery 79 years!  That's how long it has been since Queens, New York has had its own proper brewery.  That's quite a long wait, but fear not Beer Friends Nation, we stopped by SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria Queens to give you a sneak peak before their grand opening this Saturday.

Rich Buceta, President and Head Brewer at SingleCut, was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule of prepping the brewery for the grand opening to chat with us about his new company.  Coming from an advertising background Rich graduated from the hallowed halls of homebrewing to the Greenpoint facility to learn the ins and outs of the trade.  Working his way up to finally open the Brewery that we found ourselves graciously sampling the almost complete Pilsner and Red Lagers that were in the final fermentation stages for Saturday.The Brewery

The brewery itself, while still under a bit of construction, looks and feels like what we have come to expect from a brewery that is focused on producing great beer, but doesn't want to ignore the most important part of their business, the Craft Beer Drinker.  coming up to the building you can't miss it with the giant words "SingleCut Beersmiths" painted on the sides.  on your way into the building you're greeting at the door by Rulpsen, the robotic fermenter mascot for the brewery on the door saying "enter here".

The first thing you see coming through the door makes you feel like you're right in the middle of the process.  giant shelves and bags of malts to your right, large tables for relaxing with your newly found favorite beer, the casks set up and ready for the aging process, and the bar straight and to the left.  All the surfaces are pristine and well put together, a nice natural wood finish to everything

you're welcoming view walking inside

bringing out a handicraft feeling of building something.

As you make your way around to the right hand side of the building, beckoned by the sight of the shiny stainless steel of the brewing equipment you pass the walk-in refrigerator on your left, just before the space opens up to the large rear warehouse space the houses the center of the brewing operation.

We were greeted enthusiastically by Rich, rubber boots and all, grabbing a taster glass for each of us and offering a quick sample of the two brews they were working on at the moment.  Chatting with him and sampling his beer we really got a feel for the direction this place is headed.  Rich is driven, he loves beer and he loves making it.  I though a great indicator was his push to develop a "hoppy lager" which he thinks is a severely under defined section of the Craft beer market and we are likely to agree with him, although if our tasting was any indication it IMG_2561wont be left alone for too long!

We are extremely excited about the prospects this brewery presents for the city.  Craft beer has had a growing presence in Queens for a number of years now and has been gaining traction year over year, but we were always missing that one essential  ingredient of a brewery to call our own and brag about to the other boroughs and beyond.  If our visit is any indication, this is the best thing that could happen to craft beer in Queens, so saddle up, head over for a fantastic beer, grab a t-shirt or pint glass and let's get the party started!

SingleCut Beersmiths will have their grand opening this Saturday December 8th from 12pm - 6pm.

After that they will be open every Thursday and Friday from 5p-8p and every Saturday from 12p-6p.


Picture Gallery!

Beer Friends Nation Review #1: Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation!!!  You may have noticed our fancy new logo AND you may have noticed we are up on iTunes now(so you can take us everywhere with you) BUT here's our brand new feature: Beer Friends Nation Reviews!  That's right!  Have we missed your favorite beer?  let us know by writing up a review and sending it to or and we'll get it up on the site!  Spread the love and Spread the word! For our first BFN Review we have Michael from San Diego telling us his thoughts on Stone's Ruination 10th Anniversay.  Click through for Michael's review...

Stone Ruination IPA 10 year anniversary.

This being my first review I will start off with a small introduction about myself. Im in the Navy and curently stationed in San Diego, so most of my beer reviews will be about beer created in the magical beer factories of the San Diego area.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, lets talk beer. The Ruination IPA from Stone is an Imperial IPA or 'double' IPA, given the name because this style uses double the amount of hops and double the ABV of normal IPAs. If anyone is curious this one is 10.8% ABV so be forwarned.

I first opened this beer and like any 'responsible' beer reviewer I sniffed it. Once I recovered from my mental walk through the pine forest the initial whiff gave me I took a sip, and contrary to the smell of the beer, it is actually very drinkable. It still has the trademark bite that I've come to expect from a Stone IPA but the aftertaste is much fuller than its non-imperial cousin. It even feels richer when I swish it around my mouth.

One thing that stands out as a plus for me with this beer is that even as I nurse it slowly, it being a pint and quite strong, I am finding no reduction in taste or enjoyment; which is a large selling point for me since IPAs are made to be consumed while cold and any beer that stays tasty while it warms up is an beer I can enjoy.

Thanks again Michael.  We'll have another one from him for you guys next week!

"Brewing New York's History"

Beerfriend Paul

Starting today, the New York Historical Society is set to open what promises to be a spectacular exhibit this summer.  "Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History" will run from today through September 2nd and will cover the vast history of brewing in New York. The recent surge of craft brewing in New York has helped to remind us that there was once a great brewing tradtion in New York.  It is no secret that New York has brewed a lot of beer.  Prior to prohibition New York had some of the countries largest brewers.  This exhibit will finally give us beer lovers in New  York a chance to revisit the golden age of New York brewing that we have only ever heard stories about.

New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street) New York, NY 10024

Hours of Operation

  • Tues-Thurs: 10 - 6
  • Friday: 10-8
  • Saturday: 10-6
  • Sunday11-5

The exhibit will end in at a small beer hall that will feature brews from New York City and State.  It's the best gift shop ever!

The beer hall will be open:

  • Tuesday-Thursday and Saturdays: 2pm–6pm
  • Fridays: 2pm–8pm
  • Sundays: 2pm–5pm

There will also be beer tastings each Saturday throughout the summer. There will be 2 half hour tasitings each Saturday at 2pm and 4pm for a cost of $35($20 for members).  A list of the breweries and tickets can be found here.

Video Demonstration: Open a beer bottle with a piece of paper

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation! In our never ending quest to improve the overall quality of everyone's beer drinking experience we try and find little tidbits of knowledge that might help you out in a jam.  To that end we present to you a video that our colleagues over at Lifehacker found showing you how to open a beer bottle using one simple sheet of 8.5"X11" regular printer paper.  A perfect piece of know-how, in my opinion, if you find yourself in the office with a sixpack, your bottle opener on your keychain broke last night and Bob (the other guy in the office with a bottle opener keychain) already left.  Take a look, you never know when it might come in handy to either impress a cute girl or win a bar bet, to say nothing of opening your favorite brew.

Video Demonstration: Open a beer bottle with a piece of paper.


From Lifehacker found on Instructables

Empire Brewing night at Rattle 'n Hum: Hangover Edition!

Phil Foleen

We had a great time at Rattle n' Hum last night at the Empire Brewing Company event.  Being a fan of the Empire Cream Ale I was excited to try some of the brewery's other offerings.  Of course, they did not disappoint.  The "Dragons" were the standouts to me. I tried both and am interested to try these, and more like these, again.  The addition of the basil to the Belgian style was great, and it almost got Phil to call a Belgian ale delicious...

If you  missed out last night, NEVER FEAR! Empire is hitting NY Craft Beer Week hard and you should make sure you don't miss it.

They have 2 events scheduled tonight; one at Spring Lounge and at Puck Fair. If you miss those, then you can hit up Dive Bar tomorrow night.

I suggest you try to get out to one of these events, and check below for what Phil and I thought of the night as it unfolded.


Well here we are, gentle beer drinkers, for yet another NYC Craft Beer Week. We find ourselves at Rattle 'n Hum this evening for the Empire Brewing night and it looks pretty darn good! Now while I wait for Paul to get here let's have a beer!


Phil's 1st: I have chosen to go historical first with Ol' Wooden Tooth, which according to the flyer, is base on our dear founding father George Washington's personal homebrew recipe. As the words say, good molasses and oak flavors in a deep, dark color. It doesn't hide it's 8.5%ABV, but the front flavors do a good job of rounding out the alcohol in there.

Phil's 2nd: Empire Hop Harvest - very hoppy and very good. Hoppy to the pint of almost being airy in the mouthfeel. If you like hops this is a good one, it has a slightly sweet back end that might turn a couple of people off, but over all a good hop offering. Bonus points for the hops all being grown on the Empire grounds.

Paul's 1st: Starting easy, I went with the Empire India Pale Ale. It's a good IPA. It's sweet and bitter at the same time. The flavor doesn't roll over your tongue, this beer more or less slaps your mouth in the... Mouth. This beer hits your taste buds and doesn't stay very long. That is neither a good thing or a bad thing, it's just its thing.

Phil's 3rd: Empire Black Magic Stout - having this served on the nitro tap I thin serves this beer the best. I would describe this as the best example that I can think of for a stout with a mostly toasty flavor. The nitro smooths the feel out of the beer and the toasty part just takes over in the mildest way you could imagine.

Paul's 2nd - This time I went bigger and had the Empire Deep Purple. It is a beer made with NY Concord grapes. It is described as "tart & dry" and that would be accurate. What would also be accurate would be to describe this as adult grape juice. It tastes like a slightly carbonated, slightly sour grape juice that gets you drunk. I suggest this beer, but know what you are getting into.

Paul's 3rd- I got an Empire Golden Dragon. This round was bought by my father, you could all learn a thing or two from him in the comments section. As for the beer, it's been described as mint or licorice. There is no denying this one is different. The Thai basil really adds something to this brew. It's already sweet being a Belgian golden ale, but the basil and other spices make this something very different. It tastes more like a cocktail than a beer. Like I ordered a mojito by accident. Absolutely a fun beer and is worth ordering.

Phil's 4th: Empire IPA - pretty much your run of the mill IPA, but in a good way. Good hoppy flavors with a little sweetness that's tamed by the hops just enough to be unobtrusive.

Wait...Who owns that brewery?

Phil Foleen


After a good conversation with a friend of mine about the wonders and wiles of the MolsonCoors company vs the Belgian Juggernaut InBev, I stumbled across this neat little Infographic on a sweet little website called  It was put together by Philip H Howard  at Michigan State University and is a really great way to show the various relationships of some of the top over-arching beer conglomerates, and who they own in the craft beer world.

Granted it's not the most comprehensive guide to the craft beer world, but I would be willing to bet there's at least one ownership connection that might surprise you.  Take a look and let us know which one was a shock!

Show me the beer people!

Philip H Howard at MSU via

The Beer Friends Final 4 2011 Video Recap - Our Story So Far

Phil Foleen

Hello Beer Friends Nation!  We've had some crazy competition this year to get here, the Final Four beers that will battle it out!  Our two matches are Founders Brewing VS Nebraska Brewing and Speakeasy VS Cape Cod!  Just for you we have a video with the four of us summing up the last few rounds and making our predictions for the Championship!  If you're good, we'll show you the new "Hash Tag" dance move brought to you by The Beer Friends.  Take a look and don't forget to vote! [youtube=]

BFF4 Elite 8 - Graham and Phil's Brackets


As the East Coast v. West Coast Final Four Matchup quickly approaches we reflect on the Sweet Sixteen in amazement.  This has been by far the craziest BFF4 in the history of this storied tournament. Northeast Region - Elite Eight

There was one major upset in the Northeast - although at this point it's hard to call a Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold victory an upset as they have been dominating the Northeast side of this tournament and continued to do so against Sixpoint's Bengali Tiger IPA defeating the Brooklyn #1 seeded favorite by an 80% - 20% vote margin.

The Cape Cod Red vs. Long Trail Hibernator matchup was topsy turvy with a come from behind win.  Hibernator took an early and decisive lead that had many Beer Friends commentators and spectators alike betting the farm that Hibernator would be coasting to the Elite Eight...we couldn't have been more wrong.  Cape Cod Red staged a last minute voting campaign in the fourth quarter that devastated Hibernators once vibrant offense - winning by the same margin as Game One:  Cape Cod Red - 80%, Long Trail Hibernator - 20%.

We move into the Elite Eight with a truly monumental craft beer matchup:  #2 Cape Cod Red versus #12 Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold.  Can Cape Cod defend their high ranking with their late in the game offense?  Will Captain Lawrence continue to power through these Northeast breweries as if they were all just light beer?

This is your moment Captain Lawrence and Cape Cod!  Mobilize your troops!  Tweet the crap out of this round (Shortlink:!  Facebook everyone you know!  Let's make this a matchup to remember!  Good luck to all!

[polldaddy poll=4851027]

Western Region - Elite Eight

What a set of Matches this was!!!  Both competitions ended in the underdogs coming from behind to take out the favorites and continue on!

First up we had the #11 Stone Brewing's Arrogant Bastard take on the #7 Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout and win by 28%!  The second match was no small feat either: We had the #5 Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA overcoming the #1 seed Sierra Nevada's Torpedo by 16%!!!

Well done both of the you!  Now we come to the real game: Who will be crowned King of the West and take on the other 3 regions in the Final Four?  Can Speakeasy take on and overcome the Arrogant Bastard, or will Stone's remaining brew pull through to the end.

Both are worth contenders but only one can survive.  Your Votes are the key to the game!

[polldaddy poll=4852180]

BFF4 - Phil's Bracket: First Round

Phil Foleen

What's up everyone time to get the Western Bracket for the 2011 Beer Friends Final 4 up and running! This year Phil's bracket has contenders from Oregon(of course), California, Hawaii, and a surprise showing from Mexico!  Make sure your vote counts, check back often and get your friends to support your favorite beers in all four brackets all the way to the Final Round!

The first match up is our 1 vs 16 with Sierra Nevada's Torpedo going head to head with Kona Brewery's Fire Rock Pale Ale.  A good showing from both, but I'd have to side with the Torpedo, alot more flavor even with the Hops kick has enough in my opinion to unseat the standard flavored Fire Rock.  But who am I to tell you that?  Click on through to the rest of the article and get all 8 of your votes in!

[polldaddy poll=4771728]

The 8 vs 9 match has Lagunitas Hop Stoopid going up against this Beer Friend's personal fav Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter!  Hop Stoopid was a pretty delicious beer, but for my 2 cents I'm throwing in with the Black Butte, there's just something about the overall taste the eeks it out over the other one's hops.

[polldaddy poll=4771810]

For the 5 vs 12 1st rounder we have Stone Brewing Collaboration Saison vs Widmer Brother's Drop Top Amber.  My pick is the Drop Top, mostly because i have a special place for that beer(being one of my gateway brews) but mostly because I am not a fan of the Saison.  Even if it was a team effort with Victory and Dogfish Head.

[polldaddy poll=4771845]

Rounding out the first half of the Western Bracket at 4 vs 13 we have Rogue Brewery's Mocha Porter vs Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA.  Mocha Porter is the pick from the BF's here, Big Daddy is an all around well-flavored IPA, but the Porter really takes the taste of the beer to a whole new level.  But vote for the one you want!

[polldaddy poll=4771874]

Top of the bottom half of the bracket at 6 vs 11 we've got Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale vs Stone's Arrogant Bastard.  Alright, alright, I'll go with popular opinion here: Arrogant Bastard is the pick.  definitely has the intense flavor that helps the fans out, pulls ahead of a good but less arrogant(get it?) flavor from Anchor.

[polldaddy poll=4772567]

Next we have the 3 vs 14 match: Dos Equis Amber vs Sierra Nevada Estate Ale.  I choose the Estate ale from Sierra Nevada, mostly for political reasons, I think having a beer brewed completely from ingredients that are grown on your brewery's grounds is an admirable achievement.  And it tastes better.  But who am I to judge?!  Vote for your fav!

[polldaddy poll=4772661]

Coming up towards the end of our bracket we have the 7 vs 10 match with Rogue Brewing's Shakespeare Stout vs Green Flash's West Coast IPA.  I'm gonna have to go with Rogue again, the Oatmeal Stout has a much better overall flavor than the Green Flash, despite being on opposite ends of the drinking spectrum.

[polldaddy poll=4772689]

And last, but certainly not least, we have the 2 vs 15 match! Lagunitas Censored Red vs Kona Brewing's Pipeling Porter. I'm siding with the Hawaiians on this one.  Pipeline Porter delivers a much more substantial and enjoyable flavor profile than the Censored, it's much more enjoyable to have on a cold day or a hot day.

[polldaddy poll=4772737]

Thanks for voting!  But don't forget this is just the FIRST ROUND!  Come back for the next round to make sure your favorite beer makes it to NUMBER 1!

A Heineken I would buy in a hearbeat!

Phil Foleen has found it again!  Apparently the stockholders for Heineken got this snazzy little bottle and case just for being who they are!  

According to Gizmodo, who found this little gem through Iris and Freedom of Creation, the case has a UV light that triggers when you open it, giving it that futuristic glow.

I know it's too bad that it's Heineken, but hey I personally think it's a few steps ahead of putting your beer inside a dead animal.


I'd buy it in a heartbeat,  for the mantle, not to drink.

Check out the article here for a bigger Pic.