Beerfest, Part II


from the Playboy Blog, 11/7/08

After my thorough drenching at the NY Brewfest, I was happy to see that the Brewtopia Great World Beer Festival was being held indoors at Pier 92. Of course, Mother Nature responded with a gorgeous fall day. It also wasn’t particularly fortunate that I was hitting up the festival the morning after Halloween. This meant a long subway ride with a hangover vicious enough to make me question my will to live, and miss my stop. But once I meandered over to the Hudson, it took just a few sips before I was floating once more, and ready to get down to the business of picking a favorite.

Best beer: Tröeg’s Troegenator Double Bock

The Troegenator was a pleasant surprise: rich, warm, and malty but not overly sweet, a common failing that leads me to avoid double bock in general. It was also quite smooth for its 8.2% abv. The brew was a perfect complement to a tasty (though regrettably $8) bratwurst sandwich from Helmut’s Brats & Pretzels.

Worst Beer: Schmaltz Brewing Jewbelation 12

Mix one part Hershey’s chocolate syrup and one part Dubra vodka. Shake. I imagine Schmaltz’s recipe is a bit more nuanced, but the effect is about the same. The 12% abv is a plus, though.

Best surprise: Music

I normally assume that the musical acts at these festivals will be throw-away classic rock cover bands. But the two bands I saw, Quintus and Julius C were up and coming New York groups who seemed, like Sampson, to derive musical talent from their hair, as no one between the two bands had had a haircut or a shave in a good long time. Their performances were a boon to the breweries lucky enough to have booths near the bandstand and a misfortune to those on the opposite end of the warehouse, whom I confess I neglected.

Worst surprise: Hook and Ladder Brown Ale

It pains me to knock Hook and Ladder, a model company that donates a portion of all its sales to local firefighters and burn victims. But journalistic integrity forces me to say that their brown ale falls flat. It’s rare that I come across a brown ale I don’t like, but Hook and Ladder’s lacks the full body and flavor that normally come with the genre, and the aftertaste feels no different than if you’d sipped from a water hose. But I bet their other beers are worth a shot, so check them out.

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