Good Beer, Great Adventure

© Clay Williams / http://claywilliamsphoto.comThe ladies from Wölffer show off their cider.

All’s well that ends well, I told myself at the end of an epic beer adventure. I found myself alone at 11 p.m. at the Hicksville train station with a dead iPhone and my Mustang nowhere in sight. But let’s rewind a bit. It was July 31 and I was so excited to have the opportunity to attend Edible Manhattan’s Good Beer event at 83 Mercer in the village. To start the day, I hit the Jolly Monk, a Belgian beer bar, then Jimmy’s No. 43 before the main event.

© Clay Williams / http://claywilliamsphoto.comJimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 holds court. 

Good Beer is much different than traditional Long Island beer festivals. Instead of a couple guys in shorts and walkie-talkies, you have suited security with earpieces. No tent for Good Beer, we were in a posh New York City venue. The level of detail and production that goes into planning the event made it a truly unique and special occasion. Once you walk down the steps and check in, there’s a large illuminated watermelon carved with the Good Beer logo and a welcoming table with napkins, silverware and small plates and glasses. My eyes then focused to the expanse of the room with tables from restaurants, breweries, cider mills and more! Oh, but that was not the only room, there was another!

© Clay Williams / http://claywilliamsphoto.comSixpoint Brewery brought their Bengal Tiger, a hophead favorite.

Long Island was represented with beer from Greenport Harbor Brewing CompanyBlue Point Brewing Company and some hard cider from Wölffer Estate Vineyards. My favorites from long island had to be the #5 from Greenport, a nicely spiced Belgian dubbel, and I was quite surprised by the rosé cider by Wölffer. I had no idea that a dry cider would go so well with wine. After tasting it, I was shocked I’d never tried it before! With the popularity of hard ciders (because they’re gluten free) it is no surprise to see they are trying to enter that marketplace.

Other New York selections included Sixpoint, Heartland Brewing Company, KelSo and Good Nature Brewing. Sixpoint’s Dark Mild (only available in growler) had a great malty sweetness. They also brought out the big guns: Bengali Tiger. This is IPA is a long-time hophead favorite. Heartland Brewing had some exciting new beers to show off: an apricot wheat summer beer and an imperial saison. I‘ve never seen an imperial saison and I usually love Ithaca’s apricot wheat, so those were welcome additions to my beer repertoire. You can’t forget KelSo Beer Company’s Industrial Double IPA. Highly rated and coveted for good reason, it’s a delightfully hoppy beer without a bitter aftertaste. Also notable is their collaboration with Edible. Edible Ale is made with all New York City ingredients! Limited in release and quantity, it was a real treat to be able to try it! Good Nature is a new comer from Hamilton, N.Y. with all natural and mostly organic ingredients. I really liked their double IPA and many people seemed smitten with what they had to offer.

© Clay Williams / http://claywilliamsphoto.comBeer fans get in the spirit.

Many more breweries were in force from around the country. Lagunitas was there stepping in from the West Coast, doing what they do best: pale ales and IPAs. I sipped their Little Sumptin’ and their iconic IPA. Then to Colorado with Oskar Blues Brewery and one of the most well balanced pale ales on the market, Dale’s Pale Ale. That night I also tried their G’Knight, Imperial Red IPA. Which was also very good! Last, but not least Dogfish Head, the beer mecca of east Delaware, brought their Festina de Peche (neo berliner weisse with peaches) and Rosabi (imperial pale ale with red rice and wasabi); both were excellent! Dogfish always knocks it out of the park!

Oh and there was food too! But honestly I was so full from all that beer I didn’t eat much!

Back to my story: I get on the train safely and arrive at the Hicksville station. Walking to find my car — looking in the general area I remembered parking — I see nothing. It’s kind of hard to lose a red Mustang. So I walked in circles for about 30 minutes until I spotted a sign in the area I parked. “Paid parking ONLY”, it said. Then on the bottom in smaller print: “Violators will be towed at their own expense.” Reaching for my iPhone I soon realize all those photos and social media posts had sucked my battery dry. Spotting a payphone, I was glad they had not yet become an extinct species. Another problem, I had no change. Making a collect call was unfruitful. After some negotiating with a magazine clerk, he made me some change. Finally I made contact with my groggy husband and he arrived 40 minutes later in his beautiful chariot (a 2006 PT cruiser) with his noble side-kick (Wesley the peanut butter hound). I was safe once again! $140 towing fee, a great story to tell … priceless.