Mar 10, 2012

A Super Saturday At @NYCraftBeerFest!

I could easily write a few thousand words about the day, but I'll just hit the highlights...that's all anybody wants anyway!  So, after our train ride in from New Jersey for the first ever NYC American Craft Beer Festival we hoofed it from Penn Station to the Lexington Armory. The four of us arrived 15 minutes or so before doors opened, foolishly thinking we'd be pretty close to the front of the line.  Well America, New York City loves craft beer, and even more so than I realized.  The line for VIP ticket holders and press wrapped around the corner...and down the block.  Impressive!
Once we got inside, the fun began.  One of the benefits of VIP tickets was entrance into the festival an hour before general admission.  Those 60 minutes alone made it worth the price.  We got to stop and talk to anyone and everyone without getting in the way of anybody else looking for a pour.  There were several breweries that don't distribute in my home state of NJ whose samples quickly found a home at the bottom of my belly, and not a stinker in the bunch.
One of my favorite, local breweries, Weyerbacher was on hand pouring some of their finer brews...the Beglian style tripel Merry Monks and the single hop Double Simcoe IPA.  A big shoutout to Bob Fauteux from Weyerbacher who was on hand; a great craft beer ambassador.  I love meeting brewery reps on the floor and none could be nicer than Bob!
As the VIP hour ended, the doors opened to general admission and the armory took on a real party atmosphere.  Craft beer lovers from all over the tri-state area, and likely beyond, converged on the main floor and the sea of smiles and beer talk kicked up a notch. 
At that point we decided to head downstairs to take in one of the speakers.  The session, hosted by Beer Sessions Radio, featured Clay Gordon, an expert on chocolate.  But this was no ordinary seminar.
To our (pleasant) surprise, there was hand selected chocolate from around the world and fine American craft beers expertly chosen for just this occasion.  Of course, we decided to "participate" and took part in the pairings.  Not only did we learn something, we also got an amazing dessert!
Downstairs also played home to the Connoisseur's Lounge, where for a premium priced ticket, you were treated to live music, finger foods and pours of rare and vintage beers.  An upgrade I'm most certainly considering for the next event.
After Clay's tasty talk we retreated back upstairs to sample some more fine ales.  You can check out the full list of breweries and their beers HERE.  I'll save you the click and tell you there were over 75 breweries and over 150 beers to sample on the main floor alone.  There were four other speakers, whose talks we only got to see for a few minutes.  There's only so much time you can keep us from beer!
As our session ended we agreed we'd be back next year.  In fact, we want to be back sooner!  It was a great day when a few thousand craft beer enthusiasts got together to try some of this country's finest brews.  A day dedicated solely to domestic craftsman, craftswomen and the fruits of their labor.
I know, I know.  Every day can be a craft beer festival in the city, and it already plays host to many other beer events and festivals like those presented by Get Real NY, but why can't this area be the next San Diego? Or Portland?  Or Denver?  I'm hoping the success of this event, and others like it, continue to show the country that NYC-metro can be serious player in the craft beer game.
With all of that said, I have to congratulate Robert, Jasmine and the whole gang at Mad Dog Presents & Hand Crafted Tasting Co. for putting on what will become a tradition of mine...attending the greatest American Craft Beer Festival in the greatest city in the world.
- Zach

No comments:

Post a Comment