A Valentine’s Ale from a Borough in Search of Love


To a large segment of the population, Valentine’s Day seems like more trouble than it’s worth. From the last-minute restaurant reservations to unsustainably sourced floral arrangements, Cupid has a way of ruffling a lot of feathers with his arrow antics. And then, of course, there’s the folks who are lost in love, faced with this obnoxious annual reminder of how hopelessly alone they are in life. If they could embody their feelings as a borough, it would most certainly be Staten Island. Adrift in the harbor, perilously close to New Jersey, Richmond County is constantly searching for that perfect someone. They may have finally found their soul mate last year, with the opening of Flagship, a brewery and taproom just a short walk from the ferry terminal. The year-old establishment is already garnering high marks for its Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. It’s a suitable ode to a borough that’s often taken a little too lightly, and to everyone else deserving a little more love this Valentine’s Day.

Wee Heavy came online in December as Flagship’s winter seasonal. True to its style, the reddish brown ale offers a slightly caramelized finish, the result of the malt’s extended boil prior to fermentation. Unlike most traditional Scotch ales, however, this one holds a hint of hops in its core, producing a beverage that is ultimately as bittersweet as love itself — though, thankfully, much easier to find. Flagship has ramped up distribution and now makes regular appearances on taps throughout the more socially accepted boroughs.

Staten Island’s freshest Scotch ale also boasts an alcohol content which’ll make you entertain the notion of a long-term relationship. At 8 percent, it won’t take many before you’re foolishly drunk-dialing old flings, or, better yet, heading down to Lower Manhattan for a free boat ride to the Flagship Taproom. If you can’t be with the one you love this Valentine’s Day, love the one you’re with — or the high-ABV beer in your pint glass. Beer will never break your heart. But it will make everything awesome.

Wee Heavy is currently on draught at Banter and Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg, as well as the Beer Garden in Forest Hills. Their taproom is open Thursday through Sunday, and is located a half-mile south of the Staten Island Ferry. Enjoy it alone or with your next Tinder date.