Big Brew Festival: 8 February 2014 – White Plains, NY

Much like the Superbowl, New York gets all the glory for New Jersey's Big Brew Festival.

With the soaring popularity of craft beer, brew oriented festivals have begun to pop up around the country celebrating unique offerings. While major cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and D.C. have solidified themselves as key contributors to the movement, New York and its growing list of top-notch breweries have quickly become a force to be reckoned with. Taking note of the increasing excitement in the state, the people at Big Brew thought it was time to take their New Jersey-based event across state lines.

This year, the Big Brew festival makes its first appearance in New York. With over 300 different craft beers, enthusiasts have the opportunity to interact with some of their favorite breweries. While a number of top-notch brewers like Bell’s, Firestone-Walker, Great Divide and more coming in for the event, the excitement peaks at the prospects of several local breweries joining the ranks.

Not only has New York City played a major role, but outlying cities of upstate New York have continued to develop their own budding beer culture, too. Westchester County has become home to a number of remarkable breweries like Peekskill Brewery and Captain Lawrence. To help nurture the rising community, festivals like Big Brew NY have come about to facilitate an experience allowing beer drinkers to try some of the regions finest offerings.

One of the most exciting new additions, Peekskill Brewery, will bring along two delicious offerings, the Eastern Standard IPA and the Hop Common. The Eastern Standard is loaded up with Simcoe and Citra hops, making for a remarkably citrusy and hop-forward experience. Another locally recognized name worth getting excited about is Spider Bite Brewery from Long Island. For their inaugural year they plan on introducing four new beers. The most exciting if not best loved is the Boris Russian Imperial Stout, which cuts right to the chase with a high ABV and even higher taste profile.

For those interested in an extra special experience, the festival offers a VIP package. For the VIP lounge, 42 the Restaurant will be catering a buffet menu complete with gourmet options. The VIP section will feature a selection of unique beer offerings from breweries like Allagash, Ballast Point, Clown Shoes, Green Flash and more. And if you happen to find yourself in the VIP section, do yourself a favor by pairing up some of those fine food offerings with the exclusive beers being handed out. For the beer battered fish and ranch chips, you might want to slug Maine Beer Co’s Lunch, which packs a massive dose of citrusy and piney hops. If it’s the beer braised lamb arancini you’re after, look for something that can handle its richness like Firestone-Waler’s Velvet Merlin. The oatmeal stout is heavily packed with chocolatey roasted notes.

Big Brew NY goes down on Feb. 8 in White Plains, NY. Perfect for those who want to get a big beer experience without having to travel into the city. Tickets can be purchased here (http://bigbrewny.com/tickets-info/).