Last Saturday locals and out-of-towners alike flocked to the Richmond County Ballpark in St. George, Staten Island: Not for a baseball game, but for a beer festival.
Home-brewers and vendors were in the gates early to set up their stands for the limited VIP-ers who were granted early access to the park at noon. And the weather couldn’t have been nicer: Mother Nature smiled on us with a perfectly warm and sunny Autumn day.
VIP ticket-holders were able to visit a special section: A private patio overlooking the ballpark with a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline.
They were also able taste some specialty beers from Sam Adams, Blue Moon (like their Vintage Blonde Ale), and Harpoon as well as some tequila samples from Riazul that were limited to the VIP patio. Hors d’ouerves were passed around to make us VIPs feel even more fancy, and I have to admit the experience was worth the extra ticket price.
Even for the masses that were not participating in the sold-out VIP option, there were plenty of beers: Over 40 breweries offered a variety of pours to the thirsty crowd. There were also about a dozen local restaurants offering samples of their cuisine for the hungry festival attendees.
Local NYC breweries like Kelso (who offered their Kellerfest) and Brooklyn Brewery (who poured their fall seasonal Oktoberfest and Post Road Pumpkin) were present as well as some upstate New York favorites such as Ithaca, Saranac, Empire and Lake Placid. Of course, there were a lot of familiar names like Sam Adams and Goose Island pouring their beers as well.
There was also a home-brewing competition that was capped at 20 brewers—with everything from porters, to IPA’s to the winning brew: A Fig Dubbel called Figeddaboudit brewed by Sean Torres and Phil Gardner.
Several members from Staten Island’s regional home-brewing club, Pour Standards, represented their home borough well, with local members snagging a first and second place (for Paul Camarca’s tasty barrel-aged bourbon Porter).
Two Girls One Pint was conveniently located next to the home-brewers last Saturday and I was greatly impressed by the quality and creativity represented. It would be great if more beer festivals that we attended had a home-brewing component!
Periodic stein-holding competitions and two local bands (the Bandulos and Man Down) provided entertainment throughout the day and raffles for gift baskets helped raise money for the event’s charity: St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Overall last Saturday’s beer festival was a local success, and we hope to attend more like this in the near future. A special thanks goes out to the two women who helped organize and manage the event: Kerry Haley and Jillian Wright, whose efforts to showcase the local food and beer scene on Staten Island was appreciated. We raise a pint to you girls—Cheers!