Blog: NYC Craft Beer Festival 2014
It was hard to roam around the Lexington Avenue Armory space on Saturday afternoon without being impressed. Despite a preponderance of different beer events popping up seemingly every weekend, leave it to the folks at NYCCraftBeerFest.com to bring together an array of fantastic beers that we’ve never tasted previously. This past weekend, the team hosted their now annual ‘Spring Seasonals’ event of 2014 in three jam packed sessions on Friday and Saturday, serving unlimited two ounce pours to thousands of thirsty New Yorkers over two and a half fun filled hours.
Though the calendar reads March, some February dusting resumed this weekend bringing low temperatures and chilly winds to New York City. But inside the Armory, springtime was in the air in the form of refreshing warm weather beers and swarms of people just hoping to unwind. The VIP hour kicked off promptly at 1pm and candidly, you never saw so many VIPs in your life. The Armory space was loaded with guests grabbing their commemorative beer shot glasses and heading to the tap of their choosing. Meanwhile, the line of general admission attendees extended well beyond the side of the building as guests sought to gain building access at their 2pm start time on the dot.
With live beer seminars, local wares and food for purchase, there was plenty to distract guests from the sudsy happenings- but as seasoned veterans of these seasonal Beer Festivals, we were not to be deterred. With more than 150 beers from which to sample, there was no shortage of brews to keep our taste buds guessing. Aside from some of our beer fest staples- your Sixpoints, Smuttynoses and Allagashes- we made sure to taste some distinctive beers along the way to add to our vast repertoire of tastings. No beer brand’s arrival has been more anticipated in the New York area than Bell’s and the Michigan brewery certainly didn’t disappoint at ‘Spring Seasonals,’ sending along their “Kalamazoo Stout” and their superior “Two Hearted Ale,” a delicious India Pale Ale that blends just the right amount of malt and hops and yields a pleasantly crisp finish. Nearby, we also swooned over Colorado beermakers Boulder Beer, established as the state’s very first microbrewery, whose “Buffalo Gold” encapsulated all of the things we love about beer in spring. Pouring a beautiful golden color, the beer drinks unbelievably light and offers a really nice citrus-meets-nutty finish that all goes down smoothly.
Other noteworthy brews that we sampled included Otter Creek Brewing’s “Citra Mantra,” Ballast Point Brewing Company’s “Wahoo White,” Alphabet City Brewing Company’s “Easy Blonde,” and Greenpoint Harbor Brewing Company’s “Spring Saison.” Considering how many of these different microbreweries are from the Metropolitan area, it’s surprising that many of them aren’t more commonplace- but on the other hand, it’s events like ‘Spring Seasonals’ that really give you the opportunity to discern your likes from your dislikes all while experiencing new beers for the very first time. In true springtime fashion, we grabbed a few pours of “Blood Orange” from Long Island’s Great South Bay Brewery and headed toward the available food vendors where the likes of The Stand, Route 66 Smokehouse, Taproom No. 307, Waterfront Ale House and Rosamunde were each doling out comfort food suitable for beer pairing. A “Pulled Pork Sandwich” and a batch of “Pork Rinds” later, coupled with some tasty samples from The Jerky Hut and we found ourselves completely satiated with a full night ahead of us. Whether we made it out much further is a different story altogether, but at the time, our goals for Saturday night certainly seemed within reach. Make sure to check back with NYCCraftbeerfest.com and follow them on Twitter @NYCraftbeerfest to stay tuned on the next seasonally festive beer event coming through New York City in 2014.
- Jane Van Arsdale