New York Brewfest – 4th Annual
Governors Island, NYC
The New York Brewfest is a yearly event that takes place on Governors Island just off the Southern tip of Manhattan. The event is presented by Heartland Brewery and is a showcase of beers from around the world with a distinct focus on NY state. All proceeds from the New York Brewfest go to the New York State Brewers Association, “a strong proponent for breweries, microbreweries, brewpubs and brewing affiliated businesses. Our mission is to protect, promote, represent and educate its members and customers.” In other words its a celebration of beer by people who make beer and want to help more beer to be made. Even shorter; hell yeah, gimme a beer!!
Tickets to the event included a free ferry ride to and fro from Pier 11 at the South Street Seaport. There, beer drinkers loaded up a boat and took a short ride out to the tiny little island. Tickets were only $55 and included a free commemorative glass, coupons and ALL THE BEER YOU COULD DRINK!! For an additional $20, one had the ability to purchase one of a limited amount of Connoisseur ticket which allowed them one hour early access to the festival.
Rob, Marc and I, the collective owners of Idle Hands Bar, thankfully each had one of the Connoisseur tickets. That allowed us a full hour of next to no lines and the ability to meet brewers and their brand managers. In that time we had more than enough beers to catch a nice buzz, allowing us to meander a bit once the the event opened up, allowing a 10,000 person sold out crowd to enter. Once joined by the masses, getting a glass of beer was a 30-40 person wait per glass. I highly recommend spending the extra $20 to get the Connoisseur pass if you can. Although, it could be argued that in the time it takes to get a beer, you could drink a beer and pace yourself appropriately.
Due to inebriation and wait times, we were only able to sample some of the beers but were treated like liquid gold by the following breweries.
Now that I’ve typed all those out, I’m realizing just how much beer we actually drank! Good gosh almighty, we’re lucky to have survived!!! There wasn’t a bad beer in the bunch, in fact picking out even a few favorites would be doing a disservice to the microbrew industry and the New York Brewfest. Instead, take a note from the above, head out to your local microbrew bar (if you’re in NYC come visit us at Idle Hands Bar when we open mid-July) and try some for yourself!
Oh yeah! I almost forgot. This site is not a beer review site or even an advertisement for Idle Hands Bar (who has time for subtlety?). It’s about BURGERS! As the Heartland Brewery was presenting the event, they of course set up a stand to server their signature HB Burger. Their beef comes from the rockstar of the beef community, Pat La Frieda guaranteeing that no matter how it’s served, the beef is of the highest quality available, at least in NYC!
Much like my last review of the HB Burger, I will once again have to take a mulligan. Sure, it was good but it was overcooked and hardly fair to judge the merits of a burger best intended to be made to order. So while I will say it was quite good, I can’t say it would make for a fair review of the burger. I will say though it soaked up some much needed beer allowing for further drinkage and better to have been offered an HB Burger over some festival oriented frozen hockey puck burger.
I will say the opportunistic move of the day goes to the hot dog vendor parked just beyond the fence at the South end of the event. While lines for food were up to 50 people deep at one time, this smart, hustling, entrepreneur pulled his hot dog cart up to the fence and served the hungry masses with the help of his 2 kids. I wish I had a picture from his perspective as those of us that found him must’ve looked like inmates as we screamed and begged for food through the wire fence.
Special thanks to Peak Organic, Manhattan and SKI for making sure we had a super-fantastic-expi-ALE-idocious experience.