Hey gang, Valkor here. Quick story time: I wasn’t always a drinker and lately when I do, I drink responsibly and socially (hardly ever at home unless there’s some type of event happening). I stopped drinking back in 93 because I got so wasted that it literally turned me off any type of alcohol for the longest of times. But once TOV kicked in, I’d say around 2006/7, and I started going to events, I started to embrace drinking once more. As long as I keep it fun as well as enlightening, without seriously overdoing it, then I’m OK with it. And that brings us to the latest NYC Craft Beer Festival (Fall Edition), where it’s always a pleasure to experience different types of craft beers in an enjoyable environment.
For this round of NYC Beerfest, I was told that it took place where it all began – The Metropolitan West over on 46th St. (as opposed to the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th). The event was two floors of awesome featuring a wide range of activities, food, and drinks for all attendees to enjoy. And if you invested in the VIP Pass, you got to do a little more. Other than sampling some of the finest craft beers and hard liquors, there was also plenty of food and other fun stuff to take part. However, there were two sections I didn’t see, that I either missed them completely or they weren’t there – Cider Revolution and the Bloody Mary Bar. However, everything else was on point.
But before I dive into the main event, I’d like to give a shoutout to a couple of food spots that deserve some shine. First up is Cousins Maine Lobster for serving up a KILLER and very delicious Kentucky Roll. I should have tried the Maine Lobster Roll as well, but the buttery goodness of the Kentucky roll was just too good to pass up.
Next up is Stout NYC who provided amazing foot long Coney Island hot dogs with the works. This is the kind of staples you’d expect to find at an event centered on beer. And it really does hit the spot when it’s about that time to head out. It’s just a big, messy treat but damn was it tasty!
And now… on to the main event.
DuClaw – While they didn’t have much of a floor presence, what they brought along was way better than what I would have expected. DuClaw is famous for their chocolate/peanut butter porter that is “Sweet Baby Jesus”. But then they go ahead and take things to the next level with “Sweet Baby Java”; I’m going to be honest, this is what I thought “Sweet Baby Jesus” would taste like. You don’t get the chocolatey, peanut butter aftertaste. Rather the flavors hit you as soon as the beer touches your tongue. Definitely the best of the show and one you simply have to try!
Michter's - Other than craft beers, NYC Beer Fest also had a section for “the hard stuff”. I didn’t stick around in this area for too long, mainly because I wanted to make it to the end of the show. But I’m glad I got the chance to try Michter's Straight Rye and Bourbon; both were great and not too strong, with less of a burning feeling as it travels down your throat. But I have to say that I love the taste and the smoothness of the bourbon more than the rye. New Year’s Eve is coming up and this might be my drink of the night!
Founders - If it weren’t for Sweet Baby Java, Founder’s Backwoods Bastard would have been best of the show. The beer is a “barrel-aged scotch ale” that taste great with an explosion of flavor; you can definitely pick up some bourbon as well as maple in the mix. Backwoods Bastard is definitely the sort of drink you’d want to chill with, sip it mad slowly, and mellow.
Destihl - When it comes to sours, I have a “like it or lump it” mentality about them; I don’t exactly hate them, but if you offer me up a good one then I’m all in. And Destihl Brewing Company gets a “like it” with the couple of sours they brought along for the ride. First up, we have “Synchopathic”, which is very citrusy, yet not too sour and the taste is just amazing. Then there’s “Here Gose Nothin’”, which has more of a sour kick than the first, with a nice lemon/lime taste to it. But if I had to choose between the two, then it’s Synchopathic for the win!
Big aLICe Brewing - Even though NYC Beer Fest took up two floors, I spent much of my time on the lower level… simply because that’s where most of the food was stationed. And it was a pleasure stopping by the Big aLICe area, checking out there “Hibiscus Gose”; the drink has a nice, earthy/flowery scent, with a tender, citrusy taste that was mad refreshing. I’d rank this one, much like the Backwoods Bastard as another “chill beer” that I'd enjoy on a warm day.
Cigar City Brewing - Not everyone is a fan of IPAs, and much like the sours, I can go either way. However, I will say it’s rare that I’ve met an IPA that I didn’t like. And I don’t like Cigar City Brewing’s “Jai Alai”, I honestly enjoyed it! It’s not as strong as most IPAs, with a nice, crisp, grapefruit finish. They were low-key at the event, but if you happened upon some Jai Alai on the shelves, don't pass it up.
Fat Orange Cat Brew Co. – While I was drawn to that beautiful can art, I was more intrigued by the idea of a “white stout”. And my curiosity paid off as Fat Orange Cat’s stout was quite delicious! You can pick up hints of both chocolate and vanilla, with a nice creamy taste. And speaking of cream, I need to get my hands on their Jalapeno Jack Cream Ale. Sounds sexy!
Clown Shoes Beer - Too bad this one is only available for a limited time; but it’s available just in time for the holiday season, which is perfect for Clown Shoes “Pecan Pie Porter”. The beverage has a nice color with the sweet taste of caramel and pecan, finished with a pleasant coffee/chocolate finish. This one comes across as a decent porter that I would happily wait in anticipation for, year to year!
Against the Grain – Last but certainly not least, Against the Grain was a surprise hit with their “Watermelon, Chiquen, & Gritz”! The name alone was enough to want my attention. But I was equally impressed with its taste, which was nothing like the can describes (thankfully). This golden ale has a nice dose of watermelon with a beautiful golden color. In short: this is one bad ass brew!
It’s always a pleasure getting the chance to hang out and cover NYC Craft Beer Festival; it’s fun getting to explore and try some new beers, tasting those delicious food offerings, and chilling with a wonderful crowd of people, who know how to have fun. And that’s really what it’s all about. If you’re ever interested in attending future shows, simply give that logo to the right a click. And I hope to see you there!