Finally… a beer festival that can live up to it’s price tag.
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.
|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!|
|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.
PS Check out those real glasses, not plastic shot glasses. That sums up the entire event.