Food & Drink

EVENT: NYC Craft Beer Festival [NYC]

by Casey Feehan

Spring craft beers arrived on the scene this weekend in NYC, which apparently means one thing: IPAs. The bitter brews were the strong favorite at the NYC Craft Beer Festival – Spring Seasonals, held at the Lexington Armory Friday and Saturday evening. Ahead, some photos from the event, and a few of the standout brews we tried:

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

The Grand Tasting Floor at the Lexington Armory, featuring about 75 different craft breweries on Feb. 28th and Mar. 1st, 2014. 

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

 Koko Brown Nut Brown Ale from Kona Brewing Co.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Tasting pour at the NYC Craft Beer Festival – Spring Seasonals 2014.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Upstate Brewing Company, from Elmira, NY.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

 Spicy pickles, grilled cheese, and sausage were among the food offerings.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Craft beer wasn’t the only option: for gluten-free drinkers, there were several varieties of hard cider.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Breweries weren’t limited to the East Coast – here, Ballast Point from San Diego, CA.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., from Paso Robles, CA.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Volunteers for the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, also from CA.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Salami sticks at The Jerky Hut.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

The fare at the NYC Craft Beer Festival.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co, from Ohio, offered their ultra-hoppy brews.

New York City Craft Beer Festival - thecouchsessions.com

Porkslap Pale Ale and Heinieweisse Weissebier, from Butternuts Beer & Ale in Garratsville, NY.

Notable tastes:

Now, IPAs were very prevalent at the festival – seemingly every producer was offering one – but certainly were not the only style being showcased out of the 150 different beers on the Grand Tasting floor. We were unlimited in our sampling and tried as much as we could: nutty brown ales, weissebiers, stouts and a rye saison all called to us, some with seasonal availability, some not. Below, some tasting notes from the night, with a disclaimer: I am not a fan of IPAs, so this list is a bit skewed (read: completely skewed) towards my own tastes.

Cisco Brewers Grey Lady Ale – An easy-drinking Belgian from a Nantucket brewery that hinted at some complex spice and sour notes

Kona Brewing Co. Koko Brown – One of the darker styles we tried, this Hawaiian beer is made with real toasted coconut, and brings about some deep malty and nutty flavors

Ballast Point Wahoo White – Hailing from San Diego, CA, this is a German-style lager – one I think Rudy would enjoy very much – with a light mouthfeel and great tropical flavors that linger long after the first sip

Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Spring Hornin’ IPA – Restrained hops let the floral and fruity notes shine through on this one, making this CA beer eminently easy to drink

Greenpoint Harbor Spring Turning Rye Saison – A seasonal NY beer with rye malt and saaz hops; a bitter brew for those of us who don’t like bitter brews

Left Hand Brewing Co. Fade To Black V.5 – Nice and creamy, the light hops hit you first in this black rye ale from Colorado, but then mellow out to an aftertaste that craft beer dreams are made of

Perennial Artisan Ales Saison de Lis – Brewed with chamomile, a nice, light Belgian-style saison from St. Louis, MO, that you could drink all day when the weather is warm

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. DBA – “A tribute to English pales traditionally fermented in cask,” this craft beer from California had me at “vanilla.”

The organizers did a fantastic job, bringing together a great variety of breweries and not limiting the festival offerings to the tri-state area only. New Yorkers got a chance to taste craft beers from all over the country, expanding their palates and giving us dozens more reasons to look forward to the warmer weather.