Fun Times At The NYC Craft Beer Festival: Autumn Harvest

Michael Donato, November 05, 2014

Beerfests are always fun. We opted for the VIP admission to this one because the extra hour, and a less-crowded hour at that, provides a better opportunity to pace yourself, take your time, and really enjoy what you’re doing. 


They’ve run this event roughly every season for a while now, and the whole process is very streamlined. The line grew long waiting to get in, and it was raining, but once the gate opened it moved fast and we were inside. I might even describe the event as under-sold, even though it was sold out. Even when the regular admission people were there, few lines were more than a couple of minutes and many had virtually no line. It was a refreshing experience. 


First two stops were at Kuka Brewing to say hello to some friends and try the delicious Belgian Pumpkin Dubbel and then to check out fellow BeerGraphs contributor Larry Koestler’s new NY brewery Third Rail where I had the Field 2 farmhouse ale, which was extra-funky, and very tasty. 

One weird thing about the festival is that for whatever reason they put about 10 breweries downstairs in a side room, with very little signage to indicate they were down there. Within that room there was another room that had even a couple more breweries. It was an inception-level of odd. 


There was also some ice cream by Tipsy Scoops. I had a small cup of vanilla ice cream made with Founder’s Breakfast Stout, and I figured what better thing to pair it with than Founder’s Breakfast Stout? So I did. The ice cream was delicious on it’s own, but pairing it doubled down on the maltiness and was great. Beer milkshakes are an underappreciated confection.

The best part of a beer fest is discovering new beers or breweries, so with that in mind here are a couple of beers I tasted that stood out, without detailed tasting notes since drinking dozens of beers in an unwashed tasting glass at a festival is not optimal tasting conditions. 


Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout by Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.
I’d seen this around but never tried it. I expected it to be super-boozy and it wasn’t. Very drinkable.


LA 31 Biere Noire by Bayou Teche Brewing
Schwarzbier. I like the style and I liked this one. 


J.K.s Cuvée Winterruption Farmhouse Hard Cider by Almar Orchards (J.K.'s Scrumpy)
I wrote about this one in my Cider post last year as one of the best ciders around. Currently 5th on the Cider leaderboard, and well deserving of it. 


Boris The Spider by Spider Bite Beer Company 
I actually discovered this beer, local to Long Island, at a beer festival last year. It’s a very well balanced Russian Imperial Stout. 

Space Dust IPA by Elysian Brewing
Very good American IPA. Loses points for being named ‘space dust’ without using Galaxy hops. What gives?


Dark Pumpkin Sour by Almanac Beer Co.
My taste buds were probably shot by the time I found this, but it still made an impression. Dark sours ftw.


It was a enjoyable and well run festival, and I look forward to the next one. 

Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd talking about beer, baseball, and everything.