It was a blustery, cold Sunday afternoon and I was particularly excited to get warm and cozy with some delicious wines and beers at Tap+Cork’s Winter Solstice Brooklyn Beer and Wine Fest. When I entered through the tinted glass doors, how was I to know that I was actually stepping into the DeLorean and my sweet little Sunday afternoon was about to turn into a crazy Saturday night? Well, perhaps the twenty drink tickets could have been my first warning.
They fashioned me with a wristband at the front door and put twenty drink tickets in my hand. The dimly lit lounge and dance floor were outlined with tables that 13 different wine representatives stood behind. We decided to go in numeric order and began at the first station, where we tried the most expensive wine of the evening, La Fiorita Brunello 2006 from Tuscany, Italy, coming in at $64.99 a bottle.
At that point I began to peruse the order sheet, which listed every wine at the event, and was pleased to see that the vast majority of the wines were extremely affordable. Only five were over $30 and the remaining 50 fell somewhere in the comfortable range of $9.99 to $29.99. I’ve attended tastings where my only hope of taking a bottle home involved me smuggling it out in my purse, so this was a delightful surprise.
As we worked our way around the room, I tasted my first glass of sparking red wine from Spain (Marques de Gelida Vaca Gran Reserva, $16.99), an intensely strong Porto wine from Portugal (Kopke Rose Porto, $17.99), and several delicious Sauvignon Blanc options, with my favorite being the Santa Alicia Sauvignon Blanc from Maipo Valley, Chile ($9.99!!!). But my favorite wine truly shocked me, as I favor white wine pretty much every day of the week.
Presented by “True Wine Connoisseurs” Will Tell and Sadat X, I could not get enough of their TWC Wine from the Central Coast of California. This red wine held the sweetness that I often love about white wine without leaving my mouth feeling dry. Let’s just say, I used a few drink tickets at their station. Aside from their delicious wine, Sadat X and Will Tell were fun and friendly, and even have a YouTube channel and a TWC-themed album on iTunes.
As we began to venture upstairs to sip on some beer, we noticed that the venue had become substantially packed and, unsure if it was all the wine or not, the music seemed to be bumping louder than before. When we arrived at the second level, we knew it was not just the impending intoxication. Milk River was turning Sunday afternoon into Saturday night and we were along for the ride.
As tasters ventured out on the dance floor, we worked our way around the six beer stations. There were some familiar tastes, such as Lagunitas and Sixpoint, and the less familiar, like Smuttynose. Though my tasting companion had heard of Smuttynose before, I had not, and I truly fell in love with their Scotch Ale. It was my ideal winter beer with a strong flavor that makes you wonder why you ever drank light beer anyway (aside from attempting to fight off the Freshman 15…unsuccessfully). Kyle K. stood behind the station and poured generous helpings of this delicious beer, and I was more than happy to accept.
With 20 drink tickets gone, it seemed there was no better way to end the night (oh wait… afternoon?) with some dancing. And dance, we did. The event was set to end at 7 p.m. but tasters and bar-goers alike enjoyed the beats and the beverages well after that time. Considering pre-sale tickets started at only $25 a pop, I’d say it was an event that was worth every drop…and the inevitable Monday hangover.