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Picks for Long Island Craft Beer Week

LI CBW logLong Island’s beer community celebrates itself during Long Island Craft Beer Week (LICBW) May 10-19 with a dizzying collection of festivals, special tastings, tap takeovers and more.

LICBW, which actually runs 10 days, is a collaborative venture created by brewers, bar owners and beer event promoter Starfish Junction Productions to raise awareness of the thriving local craft beer scene and promote patronage at local establishments.

This third annual event appears to be bigger than in the past. And with good cause.

The craft beer scene on Long Island has exploded with the opening of new breweries and new places to imbibe.

In the past 12 months brewers Spider Bite Beer Co., Rocky Point Artisan Brewers and Montauk Brewing swelled the industry ranks in Nassau and Suffolk Counties to 15, for now. At least four more are planning to open their doors in the months ahead.

Among new taverns specializing in craft beers include the Black Sheep Ale House in Mineola, the Tap Room in Patchogue and Croxley’s in Smithtown.

What’s more beer distributors and retailers are adding new brands to their portfolios and shelves, respectively, and on the retail level, an increasing number of growler filling stations. Moreover, many dining spots, such as Jackson’s in Commack and Roots Bistro Gourmand in West Islip have embraced craft beer, providing additional locations for beer aficionados to please their palates.

Homebrewers, too, will be participating with a competition sponsored by the Brewers East End Revival home brew club on May 18 in St. James. And, Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts is sponsoring the Golden Tap Awards.

The week’s organizers are dispensing free pint classes across Long Island on May 9 and Untappd, the mobile beer-logging app, will offer badges for those who make it to at least two of the venues participating in Long Island Craft Beer Week.

All told, there will some 80-plus events taking place over the 10 days—11 if you count the kickoff events of May 9. While many of these events will feature fine beers, not all will be Long Island focused.  Troublesome for some Long Island purists, perhaps. But for enthusiasts who want to sample interesting beers, these days ahead offer nothing but excitement.

With so many events on the calendar, what do you do?  Here are my top 10 plus 1 recommendations.

May 9, 6-11 p.m. Croxley’s, Farmingdale, hosts an Official Pre-Party Cask tasting that features a mix of local and domestic cask-conditioned crafts and food, too.  Get there early as these casks often are drained quite quickly. $24.95.

May 10, 6 p.m. TJ Finley’s Public Housewww.tjfinleys.com, Bay Shore. Long Island Craft Beer Week Kickoff Party featuring a PAYG Blue Point Brewery tap takeover as well as a special offering from the Patchogue brewery.

May 11, 1 p.m.- 5 p.m.  Bay Fest at Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore. A tented beer fest featuring 20-plus mostly local breweries. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the gate.

May 12,  7 p.m. to 4 a.m. If you can leave mom for a while—or take her with you—get over to the Black Sheep in Mineola for special tapping of Keegan Ales Super Kitty, an American strong ale with honey and plenty of hops conditioned for six months with oak chips

May 13, 6 p.m-2 a.m.  The Tap Room in Patchogue is offering a Dogfish Head tap takeover with 12 lines devoted to such rare brews as 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout. PAYG.

May 14, 6 p.m. Golden Tap Awards Gala
 89 North, Patchogue. Long Island’s beer Oscars, Emmys and People’s Choice Awards rolled into one to honor Long Island’s beer innovators and pioneers. Awards will be presented to winners in all aspects of the craft beer industry including bars and breweries, based on online polling and an official panel judging. Tickets include the awards show as well as a cocktail hour before the show with light fare. $55.

May 15, 7:15pm – Midnight. Barrier Brewingwww.barrierbrewing.com beer dinner at Press 195www.press195.comin Rockville Centre, featuring five Jewish-Latin inspired dishes paired with five electric brews from Barrier. Tickets are limited and purchase in advance at bar. $70 including tax and tip.

May 16,  8 p.m.-11 p.m. Black Sheep Ale House, Mineola, veers north with a Maine Beer Co. ‎ tap takeover and Organic Cheese Pairing. Maine Beer’s entire line up of beers paired with small batch organic cheeses from Silvery Moon Creamery in Portland, Maine. Mo, Titus, Mean Old Tom, and Peeper will be available on draught. There also will be beer flight/cheese pairings with 5-oz. pours of each draft and pours from Lunch and Zoe bottles. PAYG

May 17, 7 p.m.-4 a.m. Back to the Black Sheep in Mineola for a special cask. This time it’s Port Jeff Brewing’s Wet & Wild Wet-Hopped
Sour Ale, a wet-hopped brett-laced sour ale. PAYG.

May 18, 3-7 p.m.TJ Finley’s Public House, Bay Shore, puts on 10-plus casks of local and regional beers and BBQ. $40 in advance; $55 at the door.

May 19.  2-4:30 p.m. It’s an all-grain home brew tutorial at The Lark in East Northport, NY 11731
with Alan Talman of Karp’s Hardware and Homebrew. $10 donation to benefit a local animal shelter. Reservations required.

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March 9 Nassau Coliseum Spring Craft Beer Festival to feature 50 breweries

Beer fest logoTickets still available for popular Long Island brewers fest.

Hard to believe it’s been seven years since the first Spring Craft Beer Festival at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island.

The March 9 event, put on by Starfish Junction Productions, always draws a huge crowd.

This year, more than 50 craft brewers from around the country will be pouring samples of more than 100 brews in the venue’s 60,000-square-foot exhibition hall.

A handful of breweries will be offering special kegs at select times during each session. Among them: Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Stout and Big John Imperial Stout, Great South Bay Massive IPA with hops from the Condzella farm in Calverton and Harpoon Director’s Cut.

There also will be samples of homebrews produced by members of the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts club.

Tickets remain available online for both the afternoon and evening sessions, but once sold out no tickets will be sold at the door.  The first session runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.; the second from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Advance tickets are $45 and tickets at the door, if available will be $55. Designated drivers get in for $12. The times can be found at this link.

Food will be available for purchase during each session.

Attendees must by 21 or older to attend and must show a valid photo ID at the door.

Are you going?  Look for me at the afternoon session.

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Mark your calendar for the GABF, other beer festivals in NYC, NJ, Long Island

The Great American Beer Festival, the granddaddy of American beer festivals, enters its fourth decade when the doors to Denver’s Colorado Convention Center on Oct. 11.

The three-day event, which this year is expected to draw almost 50,000 attendees, brings together brewers and enthusiasts. Hundreds of brewers will be serving up samples of some 2,400 different beers from across the country. It’s a must visit for any beer enthusiast.

The big show, presented by the Brewers Association, the industry’s trade group, also includes the nation’s top beer competition, where gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in 84 beer style categories. The awards are among the most coveted in the industry. 

Tickets go on sale for members of the Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association on July 31, while the general public can obtain tickets beginning Aug. 2. Tickets are available online.

The GABF isn’t the only beer fest on the calendar.  Various festivals are planned in the near future for New York City and Long Island.

Edible Manhattan magazine is sponsoring Good Beer, on July 31, 6-9 pm. at 82 Mercer St., an event space. Pours from 30 breweries and eats from 30 top New York City restaurants will be available. Tickets are $55 for everything.

And on Long Island, the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival returns to Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead on Aug. 11. The North Fork event, which takes place under a tent close to the vines, showcases the brews of more than 50 craft brewers, wines from Long Island wineries and barbecue and serves as a fundraiser for the Beer For Brains Foundation and the Kent Animal Shelter.

The North Fork fest, produced by Starfish Junction, which also produces a beer expo at the Nassau Coliseum, runs from 2-6 p.m. for the general public. Tickets are $55 plus tax per person in advance ($70 at the gate). VIP tickets, which include an extra hour of sampling, are sold out. Designated driver tickets are available for $15 plus tax.

Also on Long Island, is Beerfields, a beer and music festival on Sept. 8, 2-5 pm., at the Brookhaven Amphitheater in Farmingville. So far, 30 breweries have signed on and another 10 are expected to join in. Tickets, which start at $55, are available through Ticketmaster. For information call (631) 648-2500.

On the other side of the Hudson, Rock Hops, a beer and music festival celebrating grass roots Americana, music and craft beer, takes place Aug. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in  Mercer County Park in West Windsor, N.J. About 30 craft breweries are participating with brews selected by my beer-writing colleague, John Holl, and John Kleinchester, founder of Beertography.com. An all-day pass is $35, but does not include beer, which must be purchased separately. A connoisseur VIP package that includes both beer and music from 3:30-6 p.m. is available for $65. Tickets are available at Ticketfly.

Hope you can make one — or all.

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