Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Evolution of Beer Festivals

1980-1995: Closeted beer geeks - taste pariahs in a Bud Lite nation - thrill at the chance to sample lots of great beers all in one place. Brewers bring their best suds, bonds are formed. Food: pretzels if you're lucky

1995-2010: Beer geeks have gone mainstream, and therefore are jaded by omnipresent long beer lists. So beer festivals now mostly serve newbies, and are mostly drunken affairs. Brewers steer clear, sending sales reps with kegs of their most obvious and cheapest products. Food: crass, crappy mustards, novelty beer-flavored cheeses, etc.

2010 - : Hyper-geeky alterno-fests cater only to elite devotees, charging a prohibitive price to filter out drunks and riffraff. No obvious products are served - only the purest and most esoteric beer porn, selected by geeks who know more than you do. Food is awesome and surprising.

In New York, the new crop is best exemplified by New York's Get Real guys. These ever-creative organizers are trying something new, a Get Real NY Beer Bar Fest, on Saturday, December 10 at 404 10th Ave in Manhattan. Here's some P.R. (caution: despite what I wrote above, Rattle 'N Hum's food is anything but awesome...but I'm sure there'll be good stuff, as well):

WHAT: Get Real NY returns this December with its fourth festival – the Beer Bar Fest NYC. The Beer Bar Fest, a premiere craft beer and food event, will bring eight of the city’s best beer bars to one location. Long gone are the days when craft beer bars were known just for their exceptional craft taps.  Today, beer bars are launching serous food programs and awakening to the wonders of how well artisanal foods pair with craft beer. Beer Bar Fest NYC Attendees will relish small bites from each bar artfully paired with some of the finest American craft beer available. A cask and oyster festival will also take place on the second floor and educational seminars on beer and food pairing will be given throughout the sessions. 12% Imports, a premier Brooklyn-based craft beer importer, will be serving a carefully curated selection of their finest kegs during the VIP hour.

WHEN: Saturday, December 10, 2011 over two sessions: 1-4 pm and 7-10 pm. VIPs will gain entry at noon and 6 pm, respectively.

WHERE: 404 Space, 404 10th Ave at 33rd Street, New York, NY, 10001

WHY: The National Restaurant Association Chef Survey (results) recently cited “food-beer pairings/beer dinners” as the number four alcohol and cocktails trend to watch for in 2011 (“locally-produced wine and beer” came in at number two). New York City bars are integrating the enjoyment of exceptional craft ales and lagers with artfully crafted food. The Beer Bar Fest is designed to showcase the finest food and craft beer that New York City has to offer.

SAMPLE PAIRINGS: Rattle n Hum will be pairing its first dish - house ground sea scallops, tiger shrimp and cod fish with herbs and hop salt served with garlic mayo and basil on a toasted brioche bun - with the Stillwater Stateside Saison, a Belgian-style ale brewed in Baltimore. The Bronx Ale House will be serving braised short rib chili, which will be paired with the local Bronx Brewery Pale Ale.

No comments:

Blog Archive