After a laid back ride up the NY Thruway to Hunter Mountain, we arrive a little early, anxious to check in and pickup our tasting glasses. We weren't the only ones showing up a little early, as you can see the crowd awaiting the 1:00PM start time. The weather was perfect - the mountain air still a little cool, but the sun was shining...an excellent day to sample food and brews from New York's top craft breweries.
TAP NY is quickly becoming the most popular beer & food festival in New York State. There were 41 breweries in attendance this year and representatives from each pouring and talking beer with everybody throughout the day. Above is your most essential tool for the festival - a quality TAP NY logo'd tasting glass.
First Stop, FX Matts aka Saranac Brewing. Even though they were still trying to set things up at the booth, they had no problems pouring up some Black Forest samples for us. Black Forest is a Bavarian Schwarzbier, lots of malt character - Â a real creamy, light bodied, drinkable brew.
The guys at Lake Placid had their flagship Ubu Ale flowing heavy. They describe Ubu as an English Strong Ale. They are no strangers to the TAP festival, taking home a win in 2005 and 2007. Although, it would have been nice to see a change of pace, like a seasonal or one off brew pouring alongside the Ubu.
Kingston NY's Keegan Ales was on site pouring their awesome everyday brews as well as, Joe Mama's Milk. Joe Mama's Milk is their Mother's Milk Stout aged in bourbonÂ barrels from NY's own Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardner, NY.Â From what I understand, it's only available at their taproom location in Kingston NY.
Keegan's head brewer, Geoff Wenzel, was hanging out and mentioned some awesome beers in the works for their upcoming anniversary party including some more bourbon aged brews and a chocolate stout. Â Keegan has some nice beers and is gaining popularity pretty rapidly. Sounds like a trip to Kingston is in order!
There were various "food stations" setup around the property serving all types of "comfort food" including burgers, sausages, home style mac & cheese, jambalaya, different chili/soup recipes, and various deserts. The pulled pork sandwiches were a standout item. You had a choice between Sweet Baby Rays Chipotle Orange BBQ or Cattleman's Gold BBQ pulled pork and could opt for coleslaw to top it off. We hit most of the food stations first thing - a good tactic to make sure you had a taste before things started running out, but we quickly filled up, realizing if we continued the food binge, we may not be able to walk around all day.
As usual, there were lots of vendors on hand. Many were selling either beer related items or salty snacks to pair with beers, all having a pretty good range of product to sample. Right next to the pulled pork station was the healthy seafood jerky booth. There was some interesting "jerky", including plenty of seaweed snacks and spicy, smoked calamari rings.
When your out at a beer festival you tend to see a lot of people flying the flag of their favorite breweries. This particular sweatshirt Â from Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City, Utah caught my eye and I found it to be a suitable name for a beer with roots in the state most known for polygamy.
One of our favorite East Coast breweries, Long Island'sÂ Blue Point was on hand serving up fresh Hoptical Illusion, some of their Rastafarye Ale, and their famous Toasted Lager. Was really hoping they had some leftover Toxic Sludge but beggars cant be choosers...
Some of the sweetest taps around were from Adirondack Pub and Brewery, out of Lake George. They had an amazing barrel aged imperial stout brewed with cocoa nibs. Really cool guys and some standout beers. We thought the stout was one of the best at the festival!
If you're familiar with this star, than you know Brooklyn's Sixpoint Brewery. They had a lot of good stuff with them, including their seasonal Saison, but the double IPA was their best in my opinion.
Also on hand, wasÂ Southhampton. They wereÂ offering up a nice variety - Â their flagship IPA, a tasty, balanced brew. As well as a few offerings from their "750 Series", Â Abbot 12 (Strong Ale) and their Saison Deluxe.
With an event like TAP NY having so much food and beer, we couldn't possibly cover it all in a single post. So, be sure to stay tuned for the remaining highlights from our trip in the next few days!