If you like craft beer and live in New York City, the NYC Craft Beer Festival is a great way to try awesome beer from around the world. With about 150 craft beers to choose from, you’re bound to find a new favorite in the bunch. Last weekend’s “Summer International” event included a global sampling, with more imports than the previous spring festival.
Some international highlights in the main room were Canadian brewers Unibroue, Beligian brewers Brasserie D’Achouffe, Trappist brewers Westmalle, and German brewers Schneider Weisse and Weihenstephan, amongst many others. And some of our favorite domestic brewers were in attendance, including Allagash, Dogfish Head, Firestone Walker, Founders, Great Divide, Sierra Nevada, Sixpoint, Troegs, and Victory. (Here’s a full list of brewers in the general admission room.)
A new addition to the festival was the Craft Concierge Center, where brewers, cicerones, and beer experts answered questions and gave suggestions. There were also small cups of hops and malt to smell and taste for curious attendees. As always, for those who want to try some of the more rare offerings, the Connoisseurs’ Lounge did not disappoint. This year focused on sour beers, which we love.
Some highlights were Goose Island’s Lolita (a wild ale brewed with raspberries) and Madame Rose (a Flanders Red wild ale brewed with cherries). Flanders Red’s are aged in oak barrels for at least a year, and have a fruity smell and taste even if no actual fruit is added. So with these two, the fruit profile was strong, and they were more fruity than overpoweringly sour. At the other end of the Flanders Red’s (more sour, less fruity) were the world-class Cuvée de Jacobins and Duchess de Bourgogne.
For those who aren’t sour fans, there was Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout, an Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels for one year, and one of the highest-rated beers in the world. One of our favorite new beers was the Brooklyn Cuvée Noir—a Belgian-style stout aged in bourbon barrels. It’s rich in coffee, chocolate, and vanilla flavors and bottle-fermented which gives the beer a nice effervescent mouthfeel. Rare Trappist beers were also served, including Trappist Achel blonde and La Trappe Isd’or.
There was also great food for purchase in the general admission session from Rosamunde Sausage Grill and The Stand. In the connoisseurs’ lounge, passed bites and a delicious pork sausage sandwich topped with cheddar and sauerkraut from Rosamunde helped to soak up the higher-ABV brews. We especially enjoyed the various spreads on hearty bread, which always pair nicely with beer. And The Stand’s salted bread pudding paired perfectly with the Bourbon County Brand Stout.
We had a blast and can’t wait for the next one!