Hurricane Sandy couldn’t hold back the NYC Craft Beer Festival Winter Harvest this year, but it did certainly find a way to delay it. Moving the date back nearly one month to December 1st, as well as pushing the location across town, the organizers were presented with the opportunity of bolstering up beer supply and bringing in a few additional selections for sampling. Along with that, the Festival collected canned goods and other products to go towards the relief of Sandy victims.
As discussed in our preview of the event last month, the Festival was an affair jam-packed with quality food and craft beer. In attendance were some notable local breweries like Brooklyn, Bronx, Sixpoint, Shmaltz and more. But where the Festival did a great job is in summoning some notable outsiders that enthusiasts don’t usually get to try. We are talking breweries like Bear Republic from Healdsburg, California, and Speakeasy from San Francisco, California.
Held in a massive basketball complex, the venue’s aesthetic wasn’t quite as pleasing as one would hope. But if you are as much of a fan of beer as those in attendance, the selection of craft brews made you quickly forget where you were. Add in the hearty choice of foods (I went with the monster bratwurst sandwich), and what you found was a fantastic way to spend your Saturday in the city.
Let’s get down to the beer, though, shall we? With almost too many beers to name, let’s target some of the standouts, starting with Maine Beer Company’s Peeper Ale. With such a commonly performed style in an American Pale Ale, and coming in at just 5.5% ABV, this deceptively small beer packed a real punch of flavor. It was also nice to see Brooklyn Brewery bring out one of their Brewmaster’s Reserves in There Will Be Black, a dark ale that Festival goers were privileged enough to get to sample.
A personal favorite had to have been Carton Brewing Company, who brought two of their offerings, the B.D.G. (Brunch Dinner Grub) and the Boat Beer. While both of these beers aren’t my favorites from the brewery, they both serve as fantastic session ales with balanced taste. Coming out of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, this is certainly a unique brewery you are going to want to keep an eye out for in 2013 and beyond.
And with the close of such a stellar event, the Hand Crafted Tasting Company have already announced the NYC Craft Beer Festival Spring Seasonals. This event will be held on March 30th of 2013 — surely another fine addition to this group’s ever-growing offering of quality beer gatherings. Tickets are on sale now with special holiday pricing.