Blog: NYC Craft Beer Festival Summer Jazz
At 12 noon we escaped the heat, ducking into the massive venue to slurp down countless craft beers from some of the best breweries in America. Upon arrival we were handed a commemorative tasting shot glass then quickly entered Webster Hall’s Marlin Room to wet our whistle. Our first stop was to the friendly booth held down by Victory Brewery to dive head first into their seasonal variety. Their “Summer Love” embodied everything we love about the hot months. Each bold sip yielded tart citrus paired with light, crisp hops. Needless to say this kicked the day off on a very positive foot. A few steps away, Lagunitas kept the hoppy appreciation going with their highly regarded “Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale,” an infinitely drinkable golden brew that went down smoothly. After fully exploring the first overloaded room it was time to check out the remainder of this gigantic beer castle.
When we entered Webster Hall’s main space, we instantly found the true meaning of “Summer Jazz.” For the entirety of each of the two drinking sessions, the capacity crowd of beer drinkers would be serenaded by a chilled out jazz band courtesy of legendary haunt the Blue Note of the West Village. Each drum beat, guitar lick and smooth vocal made the beer go down that much smoother. With a groove in our heads we metaphorically traveled to the Hawaiian Islands, as we gulped down Kona Brewing Company’s “Big Wave Golden Ale,” a deliciously refreshing lager perfect for any exercise in outdoor summertime imbibing. Long Trail meanwhile, one of the true originals of the craft beer game doesn’t mess around when it comes to flavor. After spotting their “Lemon Pepper Kolsch,” we knew we had to have a pour right away. After the first sip we could tell that all our eagerness was not in vain. Beautifully sour, the true lemon flavor hit the front of the tongue yielding an immediately pleasing effect. Seconds later the peppercorn kicked in subtly enough to compliment the beer’s tasty flavor profile and somehow balancing both flavors in a very memorable way.
In our travels, we soon bumped into our old friends at the expanding Bronx Brewery who were collectively all smiles and ready to rock out all day as they poured their delightful “Summer Session Ale.” If you love their trademark American style “Pale Ale,” then be prepared to have a new best friend with their summer variety. The guys at Bronx are truly making the beer game fun again with seasonal kegs catered to drinkers of all types. While the Ales were straightforward, hints of fruit do make for distinction during warm weather drinking. Hints of blueberry for example when used incorrectly can often be too sweet or taste artificial. But such was not the case when we enjoyed a sample of Atlantic Brewing Company’s “Blueberry Ale.” The Bar Harbor, Maine brewery has perfectly taken a meticulous approach to this tricky to produce beer, which came out of the NYC Craft Beer Fest as a true winner. As the jazz beats and suds filled the room, we never checked our watches once. The hours rolled by with truckloads of pleasurable imbibing. The “Summer Jazz” festival not only introduced us to some great new beers that we will be drinking in heavy rotation, but it also let us get a preview into what some of the founding fathers of craft brew are doing to stay at the top of the heap. Well worth the price of admission if you ask us.