It’s that time of year! As we head into the dog days of summer, the sweltering season is punctuated by the premier beer event of the region: the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ and Wine Festival is upon us once again!
Featuring over 50 brewers, this is the place to go if you want to get your craft beer mojo a-risin’! Sure, there was great BBQ, a larger presence of wine (the event is held on the grounds of a winery after all so it’s only fair), a decent band and a smattering of merchandising vendors. But if you come here, you come for the beer and in this respect, you won’t be disappointed.
Though some macros managed a toe-hold, a majority of the tables were staffed by local microbreweries and home brew clubs which offered delicious, thoughtfully crafted and sometimes daring brews for the beer hound to sample. The event featured a V.I.P session which allowed folks to enter an hour earlier and the chance to sample brews available for that hour only.
Spider Bite, winner of this year’s prestigious TAP NY award for Best Brewery in NY State, was on hand pouring their popular RyePA (an IPA made with rye), a Double IPA, a raspberry beer and, for the VIP session, Rophenia- a belgian quad.
Port Jefferson Brewing, Great South Bay, Greenport Harbor and fledgling Moustache Brewing were some others that were on hand as well. Local homebrew clubs were represented and Joe and I poured our watermelon Hefeweizen under Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts’ banner.
The day threatened rain and had the potential to be a total disaster. It was humid, hot, and cloudy. But the weather cooperated and, though the humidity persisted, the clouds eventually abated and the sun broke through. The crowds came as they had in previous years. More women were in attendance and of their own accord (rather than being dragged in as designated drivers by boyfriends or husbands) providing further proof of the changing face of craft beer.
Joe and I were able to break free from the ranks and wander the grounds with friends of ours, sampling all the liquid goodness there was to offer. And though the pours were strictly regulated to 2 oz., you could still find yourself Three Sheets if you weren’t careful. Actually, this was the biggest surprise of this year’s event- I did not get hammered.
Usually, my excess is, uh… excessive and I end the day like most freshman year Fridays- incoherently babbling to the nearest female before expunging the meager contents of my stomach and assuming the CSI dead man’s tape outline pose on the living room floor. But not so this year, my friends! Judicious interspersing of bottled water, three helpings of a turkey hero and strategically avoiding the ABV Big Boys helped not only to keep me vertical but lucid. Hell, I bet I could’ve threaded a needle while walking a tight rope! My wife, upon returning home from work, was pleased (and probably surprised) to find me in this condition. But I digress.
The event is great. The event is fun. The event lets you try a bevy of new brews and allows you to broaden your horizons for one, flat fee. As with its prior incarnations, the North Fork Craft Beer Festival did not disappoint. Seek these things out and go to them. You won’t be sorry.
That is, as long as you juggle in some water and chow.
Lawn Guyland, NY