It seems that every year the TAP New York Festival gets a little better. Despite the damp dreary weather on April 26 and 27, the 17th annual event at Hunter Mountain Resort still drew a large crowd of visitors. The thirsty visitors consumed hundreds of kegs of craft beer brewed primarily in New York.
Seventy-five breweries were featured at TAP New York this year, which was the largest number to date for the highly prestigious event. Many of the attendees were new to the festival for 2014. Among them was a new distillery called Hudson Valley Distillers located in Clermont, NY. The new distillery had actually just opened up a week prior to TAP New York, according to one of its partners, Chris Warren. He commented, “This is our first weekend being open. Our wives are back at the farm and we’re here manning the table.” In addition to a vodka, the distillery produces an apple jack concoction that starts by creating a hard-cider and then distilling it.
There was much more to TAP New York than fermented apples, though. The food at this year’s event seemed significantly improved from past years, especially in regards to vegetarian selections. One such example was a chickpea curry. There were also plenty of popular dishes for the more carnivorous sort, including a pulled pork sandwich that attracted long lines of event visitors and traditional bar favorites like Buffalo chicken wings.
There may have been some long lines for popular food choices, but the large selection of breweries made it easy to always keep your complimentary glass filled with award winning brews. The distinguished winners of the celebrated event included C.H. Evans Brewing in Albany, which took the John Calen Memorial Award for their Kick Ass Brown Ale. The Matthew Vassar Brewers’ Cup is bestowed upon the Best Craft Beer Brewery in the Hudson Valley. Captain Lawrence Brewing Company was proud to take the Brewers’ Cup back to Westchester for 2014.
Janine Baker is disappointed that Patrick Sylvester of
Keegan Ales has run out of their new Bourbon Porter.
Two of the most prestigious and sought after awards at TAP New York are the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup given to the best New York Brewery and the Governor’s Cup given to the Best Craft Beer. Keuka Brewing Company in Hammondsport, NY won this year for best brewery. Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown took home the award for the best craft beer for their delicious concoction, The Witte.
Despite the cool damp weather, the warm smiles on attendees’ faces made the event a great success. Patrick Sylvester of Keegan Ales in Kingston summed up the camaraderie of the day: “My favorite part of TAP New York is just the overwhelming support for all of the craft beers and networking opportunities with people from all over New York.”
–photo and text by Eric Ortner