NJ Craft Brewers Guild Festival
Battleship New Jersey
Well, the 11th Annual Fest came
off with the best year yet. The weather was perfect, the beer was good,
the music fine and the crowd to capacity. You couldn't have asked for a
better day to be on the Battleship NJ overlooking the City of Brotherly
Love and the Delaware River....a light breeze blowing off the water made
the difference under the tent.
For the $35 fee you got a souvenir
glass, unlimited tasting of the best beers in the state and a self-guided
tour of the Battleship. To keep the festival on the deck of the ship, they
had to limit sales of tickets to 750 and I understand that the limit was
reached by the end of the day. Elsewhere on the deck, you could buy food
from vendors to keep you drinking.....hot dogs, hamburgers, cheesesteaks
and pretzels were available for the hungry group.
The members of the Guild brought
some of their best beers to the delight of the thirsty throng. Triumph
of Princeton brought his Rauchbier, Roggenbock, Coffee and Cream Stout
and some of the prettiest pourers in attendance, Cricket Hill brewed a
Maibock for the occasion and served several of his flagship brews, Pizzeria
Uno pumped four beers: Gust n'Gale Porter, Ives IPA, a Dark Mild and, the
hit of the day, a Maibock, Tun Tavern brought their Devil Dog Pale Ale,
Honeybear Brown and Hefeweizen, Ship Inn poured their Porter and a Best
Bitter on handpump,
Basil T's brought the Wheat,
Red, and Pale, River Horse their Summer Ale & Hop Hazard, Long Valley
came with their IPA, Golden Ale and award-winning Porter, Flying Fish poured
their Hophish and Summer Ale, Harvest Moon had the hopheads choice of the
day in their Double IPA as well as a Stout and a very tasty My Garden Wit,
Gaslight sent an Oatmeal Stout and High Point sent some bottles of their
product which were consumed quickly.
All in all things went rather
smoothly with the exception of the delivery of the Harvest Moon, Gaslight
and High Point products which arrived late and gave brewer Matt McCord
quite a harried morning.
The crowd was well-behaved and each
found their favorite beers and stuck with them. We helped pour for Pizzeria
Uno and the IPA and Maibock were the favorites with the Dark Mild coming
in a close 3rd. Joe Saia, brewer at Long Valley, was also walking around
pouring his Imperial Stout and barrel-aged IS to select people at the fest.
I was lucky enough to taste it and believe it's worth the trip!! Triumph's
selections were by far the most esoteric at the festival. The Roggenbock
was rich with caraway seeds and tasted like a dark rye bread, the Rauchbier
was excellent though not a taste for everyone, and the Coffee Stout had
lots of coffee flavor and a hint of sweetness to take off the edge.
Tim Kelly, the new brewer from
Tun tavern, made his first appearance at this fest just a month after taking
over the kettles from Ted Briggs who has moved on to Lake Placid Brewing
in upstate NY. Tim has plans for some upcoming beers. Looks like it's going
to be a wheaty summer at the Tun: he has a Hefeweizen on now as well as
a filtered version (Tropical Wheat) and has a Belgian Wit in the tanks.
Held the same weekend every
year, I trust you will make plans to attend next year. Check out the Guild's
website and sign up for the newletter
that advises you of members' upcoming events.