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New Broadway Craft Beer Store to Feature Mini-Bar and Growlers

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 19, 2012 7:54am

QUEENS — Astoria is on its way to becoming a beer paradise.

Not only is it home to the oldest beer garden in the city and a new brewery scheduled to open soon, the neighborhood is set to welcome a craft beer store that will boast a small bar, cheeses from around the world and growlers to bring home extra large helpings of your favorite brew.

Owner Yang Gao, 32, who already owns the popular Astoria Wine & Spirits, is opening his new store — “Bier and Cheese” — just next door on Broadway and 34th Street, and hopes to be ready to serve a selection of more than 160 beers in time for Oktoberfest.

While Astorians can already buy some craft beers in the area’s bars and supermarkets, “Bier and Cheese” will be the first store entirely devoted to craft beers and cheeses in the neighborhood, Gao said.

Three years after he opened his wine store at 34-12 Broadway, the space next door opened and Gao decided to fulfill the other part of his dream to have a shop that sells beer and cheese as well.

“There is a need for it in this neighborhood,” said Gao, a Chinese immigrant who came to the U.S. when he was 16 to study at The Manhattan School of Music. “Every time someone buys a bottle of wine, they are asking me: ‘Where can I get some good cheeses?' and I say, 'I have no idea.'”

Scheduled to open next weekend, the store will sell about 160 kinds of bottled beers. In its first weeks it will also offer a lot of seasonal brews, including pumpkin beer.

The shop will also feature 10 beers on tap so that people can sit down and have a pint.

“If they like it, they can take it to go in a growler or in the bottle form,” Gao said.

He also plans to sell beer from the soon-to-open Singlecut brewery as well as from the Brooklyn Brewery, Unibrew from Canada, Avery from Boulder, Colorado, and Great Divide from Denver. Imports will include suds from Germany, Belgium and from a Japanese brewery, Hitachino.

But the selection will include all styles of beer.

“If you are drinking stouts, I want to give you an alternative to Guinness,” Gao said, adding that he wants to keep “Queens prices.”

"Most of the draft beers will sell for $5 a pint,” he said.

An average bottle of beer will cost about $2.50 and a six-pack about $10.99.

The store also plans to sell approximately 40 different kinds of cheeses, including goat and sheep varieties, and will include both domestic products, mainly from Vermont, as well as imports from France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

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