Tap New York
As our good friend, Joe Meloney,
so aptly stated "The secret is out!" referring to the crowds at the Ski
Lodge at Hunter Mountain for the 10th Annual Tap NY. This would be our
fourth trip in five years and we watched the attendance grow steadily each
April. Now the Saturday session reminds me of the GABF on a Saturday night.
The young people found that they can get a good $40 drunk and have invaded
a once more than excellent festival. That point was quite well made when
we saw cases of Bud Light and Keystone Light being carried into the hotel
accompanied by comments like "It's quantity not quality that counts". That
really is contrary to the spirit of the fest and the lesson taught by the
craft beer industry. Oh well, their money is green and that keeps the festivals
The venue is quite large, but barely
enough to accommodate the crowds they now sell to. Long lines for beer
and food are now the norm. I suppose that helps in keeping some from overconsuming,
but with 5 hours, it's hard to prevent that no matter what! Brewers are
running out of beer on Saturday and blowing off the Sunday session. The
only thing that survives is the food. The price of the ticket is worth
what you can eat let alone drink. This festival has the best food I've
ever had with the exception of the newly-conceived Winterfest at General
Lafayette(see page). As much as we like this event, I don't see us returning
to another Saturday session.
One of the advantages of increased
attendance is the increased availability of lodging. The first couple of
years, there were limited local places to stay. Most close up when the
ski slopes do, but now they've found that the weekend is profitable enough
to open up for. I would still recommend that you book early as most sell
This was the first visit for many
of my friends. They made the trip and were quite impressed if not overwhelmed
by the choices and the crowds. My friend Bill LeNoir and Ted Briggs, brewmaster
at the AC Tun Tavern, made the trip together as well as Tom & Peggy
of Heavyweight fame. Patrick brought a group from the Drafting Room in
PA and a bus trip from Six Point Ales secured a large NYC contingent.
The usual suspects were there
pouring their beers also: Albany Pump Station, Olde Saratoga, Great Adirondack,
Cooperstown, Ommegang, Unibroue, FX Matt, High Point, Cooper's Cave, Lake
Placid, Brooklyn, Ithaca, Six Points, Hyde Park, Southampton, Gilded Otter,
Keegan, Brown, Black Forest, Southern Tier, Wagner Valley, John Harvard's,
Captain Lawrence, Blue Point, Chelsea, Heartland, Roosterfish and then
there were some new ones: Defiant, Kelso and Chatham.
Thank God for a beautiful day
as there was some respite from the warm tents and halls by going outside
to enjoy the spring weather.
Of course, the positives are
that you can find some great beers there and enjoy them at whatever level
you wish. It was just fun to get to catch up with some people I don't often
see. Leaving a beer fest sober is not a bad thing!
Lake Placid Brewing won both
the Matthew Vassar Cup and the FX Matt Memorial Cup for Best Brewery in
the Hudson valley and NY State, respectively. Their Twice Bitten Barleywine
was the hit of the Festival.
Cooking demonstrations took
place all day during the fest for those with a culinary bent.
Chefs Joe Messina, Ric Orlando,
Jordan Schor and Shamus Butler who accompanied Garrett Oliver demonstrated
their culinary skills to the attendees.
Vendors of all kinds attend
this happening to sell their wares: Ale Street News, The Brewing News,
Ireland on the Road, Palatable Pepper Products, A Couple of Nuts, Suprenant's
Berry Farm, The Cellar, Saint Obnoxious, etc.
Overall, if you don't
mind crowds, this festival is a great one. Bring your designated driver
and they can enjoy the foods and vendors, something very unusual at a festival.
While your in the area, be
sure to stop at Last Chance Cheese Shop and Antiques in Tannersville. The
food is homemade and they have an excellent bottled beer selection. You
may also find an interesting antique to carry home!
Check out their website
for lots of info on the fest and tickets for next year when they go on