Tag Archives: food

Too Experienced: The Craft Experience

Finally… a beer festival that can live up to it’s price tag.

CraftExperience_banner

 

JC and I were blessed to attend the press session which resulted in a more relaxed atmosphere of business owners, distributors, and writers tasting beers.  Along with the brewmasters in attendance, constant hot food circulating, and a massive pile of chocolate and cheese – this was definitely the best of the fests.

The Craft Experience was marketed as an elite event open for the first time to the public.  The venue screamed this being among art galleries in Chelsea.  All fancy pants aside, we are here for the beer.

And it delivered.  In addition to having brewery tables, there were distributor tables that had a few beers from the same country.   For example, a Belgian table had plenty of different Saisons, a German with Hefeweizens and Pilsners, etc.

On top of that there were spirits – which for the sake of being able to still walk home that night, we sampled only one, the Ballast Point Old Grove Gin which fits nicely into the disappointed category for that brewery.  They make whiskey, but it’s unavailable in NY (walk back West where you came from Ballast Point).

Did we mention the food?  Us whores devoured the hors d’oeuvres. From grilled cheese, mini burgers, chicken & fig skewers, shrimp cocktail…there was plenty, but never enough when you’re drinking for hours.

Most importantly, because the brewmasters, presidents and CEO’s of the breweries were there, they wanted to talk to you about the beer.  Unlike most beer fests aka cattle farms, you weren’t waiting on lines for ages only to be pushed away by the next eager beaver pounding their two ounce sample.

Ideally all beer events would be 1 ticket for a multiple day festival (like the magical Fancy Food Show) so there is no rush and a conversation with someone serving the beer isn’t unheard of, or looked down upon.  But with the popularity of these events, most event planners are looking to milk the cows for all they got.

A festival like this gives hope to those looking for something beyond a race against the clock drinking marathon.

Highlights:

Type Company Name JC # CE # Avg # Notes
Stout (Milk) Samuel Smith Chocolate Stout 8 8 8 lots of chocolate, touch of java. Served hot could pass as hot chocolate
Pilsner (German Style) Neumarkter Lammsbräu Organic Pilser 7.5 6.5 7 best pilsner ever, crisp, drop water taste, clean
Lambic (Fruit) Brouwerij Lindemans Lindemans Framboise 8.5 9 9 perfect balance of sweet/sour, pure dessert in a bottle, drinking raspberry jelly. Pleasurable pucker!

Duds:

Pumpkin Ale The Bruery Autumn Maple 1.5 2.5 2 dry medicine, nausea inducer (stick to their sour)
Gimmick/Spiced Moa Breakfast Ale 3.5 1.5 2.5 bitter version of Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat (not an improvement) raised .5 since East Ville Des Folies
Gimmick/Spiced Pyramid Apricot Ale 3.5 2.5 3 very fake, artificial perfume, nothing positive

 

We’re looking forward to being invited back next year.

 

CraftExperience_JC_CE

 

PS Check out those real glasses, not plastic shot glasses.  That sums up the entire event.

3B’s – Babes, Bros, & Bi’s aka…

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With a lack of advertising not sure how anyone found out about this thing (heard from a friend on our side), and it showed since it was practically empty.  This is not a complaint.   In fact, this was the best beer fest attended in many considering:

1) no lines for beer

2) all taps (not anti-bottles, but nothing like a fresh pour)

3) plenty of beer reps (over volunteers) who were happy to interact and discuss the beer

4) heavy pours in a glass lacking any dotted lines

5) 3 hour session at $38 including food and a game of bowling

6) beautiful scenery/smells of a nice bowling alley vs the usual spilled beer on concrete at an expo center

The event represented what a beer festival should be since most festivals translate to shit shows these days.  In fact, this post is a petition for companies to start defining these events more specifically than festivals.  While Shit Show may not fly with the advertising or legal department, why not go with party or trade show?  Party since it’s often people just getting totally hammered and trade show since they are usually held in event halls common to said event.

It’s probably a futile effort but let it be known with the rise in popularity of beer festivals comes the party atmosphere of chugging over testing/trying the hundreds of beers listed on their website.  Thankfully events like these come along where you can sit back and relax, as if you are at a great beer bar like The Owl Farm where you can try 20-30 new beers every few weeks.

Should they call it tea parties instead?  I wouldn’t mind.  If it keeps out the crowds, all the better.

Highlights:
Speaking with the fresh flower that repped Sixpoint “Cool-Aid” Brewery who didn’t take kindly to any constructive criticism provided on the beer.

Lager (Euro Dark), Anderson Valley, El Steinber Dark Lager
JC – 5, CE- 6.5, Avg- 6    Notes: sour then dry, very unique, sweet smell/taste, butter scotch, easy to go down (rest of notes illegible- “ready die- less carb, tail end >again”

Gimmick/Spiced, Left Hand, Good Juju
JC- 5.5, CE- 5, Avg- 5.5  Notes: ginger beer/lager mix, ginger is weird, like a cider/shandy

Pilsner (Czech Style), Sierra Nevada, Summerfest Lager
JC- 5.5, CE- 4.5, Avg- 5  Notes: fruity BO, flowery, sweet pils ending, hint hops. draft just as crisp as bottle but tastes better, JC – reminded me of light version of their IPA

Duds:
Ale (American Blonde), Victory, Summer of Love
JC- 2.5, CE- 0.5, Avg- 1.5  Notes: hop hell, onion ring nose

Stout (American 2x), Green Flash, Double Stout Black Ale
JC- 1.5, CE- 1, Avg- 1.5   Notes: tastes dirty, shit on rye with a bitter finish (must be the rye seeds)

Lager (Imperial Pale), Ballast Point, Fathom IPL
JC- 1, CE- 0.5, Avg- 1  Notes: hop smell, body odor shit, you’ve heard it all before, (IPL = Imperial Pale Lager)

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