The calendar says Spring is here so here come the next wave of beer festivals. Once again Starfish Junction hosted at Nassau Coliseum, a change from the last one at Belmont Race track where your body temperature matched the beers’.
Before heading to the festival, you could have downloaded or printed a printable brewery map which was a good start, but they should take note from Hand Crafted Taste Co, who has started to list the brews available from each brewery for their NYC Craft Beer Festival – Spring Seasonals happening March 30th (see you there).
Tickets indicated doors opened at 5pm, but the line didn’t start moving for another 30 minutes and it was staggered entry afterward. Strike two. Next festival let’s get more than one entrance or start checking ID’s while people are waiting on line. Inciting anger in a crowd ready to drink is never the right move.
Once inside, the crowds looked overwhelming but lines moved very nicely. They always have a charity set up (no better person to give their money away than a drunk one) where 3 basketball foul shots cost $5 and for every basket you get a raffle ticket. But what, are you here for the beer?
Well for the most part, they sucked. We can blame it on the fact that it was a spring focus of beers, therefore more hoppy, or that Long Island Breweries aren’t held in high regard by this blog (still looking for a favorite from there). But of the 45 beers tried, only 2 (!) averaged a high score of 6. This brings up plenty of issues…
There were 64 breweries listed on the site which served an average of 2 beers at their table, for a total of 128 beers. And we got to 45, which is less than a third of available beers (and how about the mystery bottleshop with 5 extra beers?). With a 3.5 hour session (Session II: 5:30 pm – 9:00pm) you should be able to get to more, but as mentioned earlier, not getting in til 6:15 didn’t help. As a nice book end, many breweries ran out of beer by 8:30pm so it’s now about a 2 hour session. [An email was written to the company about this issue, and no response was received.]
While you may be thinking, “but you were writing all your stupid scribble notes down, so you missed out on precious drink time.” Don’t fret- were writing down while waiting on the next line just like our great grandfathers’ did in the factory assembly line. It’s called efficiency, sweetheart! Still, it wasn’t enough for the Dud Fest.
The nail in the coffin was the mask of “craft” beers while many major companies were hiding behind new labels, such as Coors with their Third Shift and Batch 19.
Pilsner (Czech Style,) Brouwerij Palm NV, Estaminet Premium Pils
JC- 6, CE- 5.5, Avg.-6 Notes: Clean Pils
Ale (Scottish), Olde Burnside Brewing Co, Ten Penny Ale
JC-5, CE-5.5, Avg- 5.5 Notes: tastes like dunkin donuts
Flanders Oud Bruin, Brouwerij, Van Steenberge N.V., Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale
JC- 5.5, CE-6, Avg.- 6 Notes: nice & smooth, not too sour
Duds: (where to start?)
IPA (American), Empire Brewing Co, India Pale Ale
JC-1.5, CE-1, Avg- 1.5 Notes: nausea inducing (similar spelling to Nassau may be reason why)
IPA (American), Fire Island Beer Co, Red Wagon IPA
JC- 1.5, CE-.5, Avg.-1 Notes: gross except for the front (doesn’t save it). not falling off the wagon for this one
Pale Ale (American), Steadfast Beer Co, Sorghum Pale Ale (Gluten Free)
JC-.5, CE-.5, Avg-.5 Notes: Thin, bitter shit. DUD
Witbier, The Brewers Collective, Vorlauf’s Witbier
JC-1.5, CE-0, Avg- 1 Notes: Mr. Clean garbage, asshole bartender throws tasting “glass”
Pumpkin Ale, Rex Beverage Holdings, Horny Goat Hornycopia Pumpkin Ale
JC-5.5, CE-3.5, Avg-4.5 Notes: pumpkin & chalk (why serve this at a Spring beer festival? probably dumping stock)