Blog: Brooklyn Waterfront Beer Festival
On a Saturday that was arguably one of the more summery days thus far in 2012, the LocalBozo.com crew headed to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in celebration of beer. After weeks of waiting, the “Brooklyn Waterfront Beer Festival” had finally arrived. It would be a day of soaking up the sun with outstanding views of the Manhattan skyline, all while sampling literally dozens of delicious brews. Many of these craft ales were already staff favorites, while many were completely new to us. Join us now for a trip back to the weekend as we relive one of the season’s best run festivals that paid tribute to that sudsy beverage we all love.
At half past noon our crew arrived on the festival grounds. The entrance process was simple, as guests were not kept waiting in the seasonal early summer heat. Once inside, each ticket holder was given a commemorative sampling glass to take home with them at the end of the day. The layout of the event was unlike any fest we attended in recent days. As soon as guests had glass in hand they could instantly grab a tasting of fine craft beers like the “Watermelon Wheat Beer” by 21st Amendment Brewery and Pennsylvania’s Stoudt’s IPA from the front tented area which was literally next to the entrance. The best part about the afternoon was that patrons could sample various brews without the hassle of waiting in long lines. The flow was set up in such a way that beers were quickly poured and guests could easily move on to the next station. After attending other events with lengthy line issues, the creators of this festival weren’t fooling around.
After traversing the front tents for sampling and chatting with the brewers themselves, it was time to get something to eat. Luckily the festival was chalk full of brew friendly eats. We instantly gravitated to a delicacy that has been paired with beer for centuries- pretzels! Sigmund’s Pretzels to be exact. Our crew grabbed a regular and a ‘Garlic Parsley’ specialty variety. Both of these twisted bread creations were the perfect addition to the pours of cold beer. The brew friendly eats continued with slices from South Brooklyn Pizza, and savory meat pies from Sheep Station, amongst several of the notable food vendors on hand.
One of, if not my favorite sampling of the day came from the awesomely named, “Clown Shoes Brewery.” I had seen their beer on tap throughout the city but had yet to try it. Luckily I waited because their ‘Clementine Witbier’ was insanely good and was easily one of the easiest drinking summer brews of the afternoon. It was that much more satisfying to drink it in the heat while looking onto the Empire State Building across the river. Another warm weather beer our team loved was the summer ale from “Greenport Harbor.” This brew was crisp, yet embodied tons of character. The fact that the pour station was under one of the biggest tents at the festival also managed to give us a much deserved break from the sun. Joining some of the lesser known standouts at the Festival were some of the more famous domestic brew houses in the country. Familiar names like “Innis and Gunn,” “Pilsner Urquell,” “Magic Hat,” “Sixpoint,” “Narragansett,” and “Goose Island” were just some of the roughly 86 beermeisters on hand for the day’s first session.
The Festival’s day session provided a very relaxed flow, providing ticket holders with a day during which they did not have to worry about a thing. Live music played as background between foot traffic from beer tap to beer tap, and for a brief respite from filling up glasses, vendors were on hand offering up drinking wares from t-shirts to different boozy-themed wall hangings. When a sampling festival takes on the feeling of a party, you know the production team did several things right. I guess you could say, we have unofficially set the countdown clock for next year’s outing. And just like the kids in the backseat of the Griswald family truckster all we have to say is, “Are we there yet?”
- Jay Rubin