To use the Untappd rating system, we would give this festival a very strong 5 out of 5. In a nutshell, we found it extremely well organized and run, spacious, yet intimate and perfectly balanced. There was, as expected, plenty of amazing beer, as well as great food, inspiring artwork (both existing art as well as art happening right in front of us — from the sides of the building, to an old-fashioned hand-produced sign maker to tattoo artists) and, of course, fantastic live music.
There are, of course, too many great beers to talk about in any detail, and, because, when I’m at a spot where I’m doing far too many quick sip tastings, I don’t pause to record them into Untappd, I can only share the full servings that I enjoyed (okay, full sample servings, if you will) that day. We sampled beers from breweries from Canada and the US as well as Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Given the high rating for both their beers, combined with the most unique flavors (and there were truly some amazingly unique flavors there that day), I’d have to toast Swedish Brewery Brewski with high honors for their DOLPH Double Dry Hopped (a hearty nose of tropical hazy deliciousness, with an upfront pineapple and grapefruit combo and a sharp bitter finish) and their Proto 4 (a milkshake Berliner Weisse – a style I had never tried before – with lemon; which was an interesting sour that had an intriguing smooth sweetness to it)
A few other notables that I enjoyed were the Money IPA from Barrier Brewing (whose other fine beers I have enjoyed at many of their bars at some great Manhattan beer spots over the years) and the Non-Trademark Infringement Alma Matter IPA from Voodoo Brewery, (which doesn’t just get points for the cheeky name, but also for the piney and “hint-of-forest” style scent that greats you, following by a brilliant upfront bitterness that slides over to a fruity and piney finish)
But with those few beers being called out, I can say that I did not taste a single beer that I didn’t enjoy. It also helps when you are surrounded by so many who appreciate the finer tastes of craft and micro breweries, which is definitely what this festival was all about.
Due to the unique nature of the brews and the fact that it was difficult to pack it all into the 12:30 to 4:00 session that we had booked for, we’d consider booking into all 3 sessions next year merely so that we can pace ourselves and enjoy the breadth of experience that we can get from it.