Let’s start with the music, which was provided by the good folks at Blue Note. With three excellent bands spread throughout the venue, the main stage was kicked off by pianist Joe Alterman and his trio. It was the perfect way to set the mood for the event, as patrons paced the main floor checking out some fine offerings from the likes of Blue Point, Bronx Brewing, Kuka, and more. Following Alterman was the lively High & Mighty Brass Band, which had the crowd dancing and cheering throughout the set.
There was music in the Connoisseurs Lounge, too, as part of the top floor was marked off for an intimate setting filled with relaxing tunes and exclusive beer. 508’s McClain & the Alers took to this stage throughout the entire day, playing light, acoustic tunes that accompanied pours of Perennial’s Aria and Sixpoint’s Spice of Life perfectly (not to mention the sausage, meatballs, and other delicious finger foods that continued to flow in from the kitchen).
Along with the fine tunes, there were three levels of beer to explore. Starting in the basement, some of the festival’s finest gems could be found, such as Peekskill Brewing’s Hop Common, which was a finely balanced steam beer that had a lovely amber tint. Peak Organic’s Espresso Amber Ale was another star from the depths of Webster Hall, an interesting take on otherwise run-of-the-mill style.
The middle floor also served as a space for a few lectures to unfold throughout the festival. While that was going on in the background, a number of breweries wrestled out the packed floor for some much-deserved attention. Wandering Star was certainly one of those breweries worth paying attention to. Serving up two of their offerings out of Pittsfield, PA, Wandering Star hit the sweet spot with both their Rye Ale and Witbier.
Like most beer festivals, Summer Jazz’s focus was certainly on the brews, but with an added mixture of bop, soul, and New Orleans jazz to the mix, Webster Hall was transformed into much more than just that. And with several beer functions already in the bag for NYC Craft Beer Festival, it looks like they’ve just upped the ante for themselves moving forward.
Stay tuned for coverage of the next seasonal beer festival, which will hopefully be announced soon.