Queens Beer Bar to Celebrate 'Zwanze Day' with Rare Belgian Brew

By Jeanmarie Evelly on September 12, 2013 9:29am 

 Beer from the renowned Cantillon Brewery in Belgium. Alewife NYC is one of just 46 bars worldwide that will be serving a special batch of beer from the brewery Saturday.
Beer from the renowned Cantillon Brewery in Belgium. Alewife NYC is one of just 46 bars worldwide that will be serving a special batch of beer from the brewery Saturday.
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Facebook/Brasserie Cantillon

LONG ISLAND CITY — Die-hard beer lovers can head to Queens this Saturday for a chance to get their hands on an elusive brew.

Craft beer bar Alewife NYC, in Long Island City, is one of just 46 bars worldwide that will be offering tastes of Zwanze, a special batch of beer made just once a year by the renowned Cantillon Brewery in Belgium.

"It's one of the most sought-after and hard to get [beers]. It's only made once a year and it's poured on the same day across the world," said Alewife owner Patrick Donagher, who added that this year is their first time participating in Zwanze Day.

The famed Cantillon is a family-owned brewery "where nothing has changed since 1900 when it was founded," according to the company's website.

The brewery makes a limited amount of beer each year and just one batch of Zwanze — named after a word used in Brussels to reference a sarcastic sense of humor.

Each bar participating in Zwanze Day gets just one keg of the obscure brew, Donagher said, and Alewife has already sold out of its pre-ordered VIP tickets for the event, which guaranteed customers a taste.

The rest of the beer will be doled out on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturday. The keg will be tapped at 11 a.m., and Donagher expects it to empty fast.

"It should go within the hour," he said. "Once the beer is gone, it's gone."

For those who don't get to try it, Alewife will be serving up a number of other rare beers all day, Donagher said.

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