Happy April! Do you need an excuse to drink? Probably not. But if you’re looking for one, we’ve got you covered. This month brings an eclectic assortment of beer-filled events, so you actually have no excuse not to drink up.
Wednesdays: New York Beer Month at Idle Hands Bar, 25 Avenue B
This Alphabet City bourbon-and-beer bar has proven itself a solid choice for good drinking since it opened a few years ago in the basement below Billy Hurricane’s (now Station B). Idle Hands has a rock ‘n’ roll mentality but is serious about its booze, featuring $10 specials every Wednesday night that provide several pours along with the occasional whiskey shot or order of tots. During the month of April, they’ll pair with Giancarlo and Sarah Annese, founders of BeerUnion.com and authors of Beer Lover’s New York, to focus on craft brews from around the state.
Drop by on April 16 to sample Southern Tier, Ommegang, Yonkers, and Empire; on April 23, you can try brews from “Near NYC:” Peekskill, Oyster Bay, Barrier, and Defiant. The last day of the month brings outer borough breweries to Avenue B, including Bronx Brewery, Rockaway, Other Half, and Finback. If none of those lineups appeal to you, drop in on the April 9 to choose your own “ale-venture” from among the New York beers on offer. Make reservations at idlehandsbar.com.
April 11: BeerProv at Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street
Fans of both improv and beer already know and appreciate their obvious chemistry — and now they can become totally immersed as this Canadian favorite invades Webster Hall. Born at Toronto’s famed Comedy Bar, BeerProv relies on audience members to drink up as they suggest sketch scenarios via written questionnaires before the show as well as directly to the performers onstage. After each round of improvisation a la Whose Line Is it Anyway?, spectators judge which comedians will advance until the final head-to-head “improv-off.” The final winner gets glory and a long drink from the Mug of Champions.
Created by comedian Jim Robinson, the show has featured both big names and up-and-comers alike on its 12-person roster. Debuting for the first time in New York, this iteration will include seasoned Canadians and “a cast of local favorites.” Buy tickets at websterhall.com.
April 25: Five Boro Craft Beer Fest, Studio Square, 35-37 36th Street, Long Island City
Head out to Astoria for a beer event that goes beyond just guzzling all-you-can-drink pours and actually does some local good. Inspired by the inclusiveness of city-wide events like the Five Boro Bike Tour, the Five Boro Craft Beer Fest celebrates the great beer made in our neighborhoods. Breweries from all five boroughs (even Staten Island will rep with the new Flagship Brewing Company) and farther afield (North Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, upstate) will pour from their core lines, and small batches brewed specially for the event will also be offered. Plus, regular Joes and Janes can get in on the action with a contest for homebrewers to showcase their concoctions.
The organizers promise to sell a limited number of tickets to ensure that lines stay short and attendees get a chance to talk with the brewers. Tickets include unlimited two-ounce pours from a growing list of NYC breweries in a special tasting glass, a cigar patio, food from local restaurants, and entertainment by the band Stolen Rhodes. With proceeds benefiting GrowNYC, the group behind local greenmarkets and lots of other eco-friendly initiatives, you can feel guilt-free about drinking your fill. Visit fiveborocraftbeerfest.com to see a list of participating breweries and to purchase tickets.