TAP NY 2012 – Day One

We woke much earlier than normal for a Saturday, anxious for the long awaited journey that lie ahead.  Bleary eyed and in desperate need of coffee, we loaded “Blue” (our trusty pickup truck) with two days provisions and hit the road…  We arrived in Hunter, NY just before noon and checked into our room at the Forrester Lodge.  From there it was just a short walk (score!) to our final destination — the TAP New York Craft Beer & Fine Food Festival.

As one of our favorite breweries, I was not surprised when JD made a beeline for Southern Tier Brewing Co. as soon as we entered the gates to snag a taste of their Bourbon Barrel Aged Back Burner Barley Wine. We’re both big fans of the standard Back Burner and the aged version did not disappoint.  Oak meets smooth caramel notes and at 14.1% abv, it packs a punch without being too boozy or overpowering in any way.  A very enjoyable brew and one that I was happy to start with.

Conveniently, our friends from Custom Brewcrafters were at the next booth over with a taste of their Krysztoff Baltic Porter, named 2011 Beer of the Year by The New York Cork Report.  Another delicious beer with some serious decision making power (10% abv) this bold brew had us doing the smile-and-nod. From there, slightly nervous that the day would head south quickly otherwise, we sought out some snacks in the main lodge.

Once you’re in the festival, all of the beer samples as well as the food is free and readily available everywhere you turn.  This years featured theme was Caribbean Food, although we got our hands on everything from hot dogs & hamburgers to pierogis with sour cream.  Of course there were plenty of treats that fit the theme a little better… we enjoyed Curry Chicken, Oven-baked Sweet Plantains, and burned our tongues on Conch Fritters.

Saturday was a blur of good food, great beer, and even better people. I cannot say enough about the craft beer community… We met so many great people at TAP New York, many of whom we hope to see again soon.  At 5pm, when the festival had closed for the night, we did some hanging with Rochester’s own Three Heads Brewing and the Dupa Dupa Dupa crew (you’ll find their picture right inside the TAP NY program).  From there we headed up to Tannersville for the official Sixpoint Craft Ales after party at The Spinning Room Bar, where we rubbed elbows with none other than Jan Matysiak, brewmaster and creator of Sixpoint Resin and the newly launched Apollo, a wheat beer brewed with a traditional Bavarian yeast.  We also ate SPAM fries and spent some time chatting with Adam Lang and his lovely girlfriend Aliza.  For those of you that know how much we love Sixpoint, you can imagine how much we enjoyed meeting those guys! (like I’m pretty sure JD has a man-crush on Jan…)

Right about now is when my memory starts to fade in and out… though I do remember that the cab driver from Smiley’s Taxi was totally cool and not at all creepy like the cab driver we had in Jamestown when we visited Southern Tier in February.  Stay tuned for a recap of Sunday, when I actually remembered to take some pictures!