Blog: Coney Island On Tap
There was not a cloud to be found in the sky on Saturday afternoon and while most folks headed for the beach, Brooklyn’s biggest beer festival took over MCU Park for two blistering sessions. Coney Island On Tap brought more than 100 different craft brews to be showcased amid a breezy outdoor setting courtesy of dozens of different brewers. Equipped with a souvenir tasting glass, the hundreds upon hundreds of attendees received generous five ounce pours from each station coupled with some live music, ballpark eats and all of the pageantry of Coney Island from the beach to the rides, playing as a perfect backdrop.
Though the playing field of the Brooklyn Cyclones was technically off-limits, guests were treated to use the entire first level corridor at their disposal and many folks grabbed helpings of “Bacon on a Stick” and “Pulled Pork Sandwiches” courtesy of Pig Guy NYC, on hand to dole out salty swine delicacies. Despite the festival being incredibly well attended for a July afternoon, there was never any waiting for your desired beer of choice. We made sure to initially hit favorites like Samuel Adams’ relatively new “Rebel IPA” and Brooklyn Brewery’s tasty “Summer Ale” but with the weather in this setting, fruity beers just came calling to us.
We’ve grown quite fond of 21st Amendment Brewery’s “Hell or High Watermelon” which is poured from cans. Served ice cold, the notes of watermelon are perpetually evident in both the nose and the taste but are also subtle enough to compliment the refreshing beer rather than overpower it with sweetness. After having slurped down countless bottles of their “Purple Haze” over the years, we sampled Abita’s “Lemon Wheat” for the very first time. Though a bit on the sweet and tangy side, the citrus is there from the first golden sip and the overall flavor profile resembles more of a lemonade than a beer. The flavored seasonal might be a viable alternative for the non-beer lover in your life, that somehow wants to enjoy a bottle like the rest of us.
Pacing around the space, we paused to enjoy some of the cover tracks being performed by Wild Adriatic, a trio of wild haired rockers that perfectly set the tone for the summertime drink fest. But with just three hours at our disposal, we pressed on- chatting with many of the friendly brewery representatives and volunteers tasked with keeping the buzzed crowd moving forward. Pours of Harpoon’s “Summer Ale,” Sixpoint’s “Rad” and Coronado Brewing Company’s “Idiot IPA” each went down notably smooth as we noshed on bites of “Chocolate Covered Bacon” from Bacon Bites. Part of the fun in attending craft beer festivals is unearthing new beers and fortunately we stumbled upon a trio of nice seasonal beers that are certain to be added into our warm weather rotations.
In our world, Shiner is known mainly for their “Bock,” a darker amber beer that’s just a touch sweet. Their “White Wing” however is a nice foray into wheat beers with a nice spice and citrus fueled nose and a lemon crisp finish. Continuing in that vain, Otter Creek’s “Fresh Slice White IPA” was a bit sharper than Shiner’s but had a nice orange aftertaste that made each sip that much more refreshing. Our favorite pour of the day though came courtesy of Wolaver’s Wildflower Wheat, also of Otter Creek. The exceptional summer beer had a light, crisp taste with a really exceptional floral nose. Hints of white fruit and citrus persisted through the finish and candidly, this was the only beer that had us yearning for additional pours.
Despite the hour long trek from Manhattan, the Coney Island On Tap festival was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday in a part of Brooklyn with more history and less fanfare than the likes of Williamsburg and Park Slope for a variety of reasons. But the event was expertly run and a sunny July afternoon gave us a perfect excuse to make the journey out alongside hundreds of likeminded beer lovers with the borough’s beachfront and boardwalk acting as an ideal backdrop to host the affair. Did we drink too much? Probably. But hey, isn’t that what summer is all about?
- Dave Gendelson