Beer festivals are the greatest invention since the sampler platter, and NYC’s Craft Beer Festival – Winter Harvest is one of the finest. It’s happening the weekend before Thanksgiving, and here are five reasons you should be there. No, meeting me on Sunday is not one of the reasons to go.
5. Not your average collection of beers
Beer festivals are a quarter a case at this point. They’re so common in fact that many breweries just serve their flagship beers. That’s great if you’re looking for a new regular beer, but once you’ve been to a few fests you’ve probably tried most of them. NYC’s Craft Beer Festival – Winter Harvest sets itself apart by showcasing winter beers from 75 of the best craft breweries. Oktoberfest and pumpkin beer gets most of the seasonal hype, but there are some some incredible winter brews. In fact, Carlton Brewing’s Decoy Winter Warmer might be their best beer overall. This will be the best place to find something new to hold you over through the long cold winter or to sample a limited release that will be gone in a matter of weeks.
4. The Lexington Avenue Armory
What sets one venue apart from another? Capacity and history. Normally what other events take place in a venue is of little use to me, but when one of those events is the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show a few weeks prior, you’ve got me hooked. I’m expecting to find a spare pair of wings lying around somewhere or even an angel who had a mental breakdown and refused to leave. They should be easy to spot with the reduced capacity in the Armory this year. The decrease in people will also help you to flow freely around the room. It will be no problem to step off to the side this year to settle your stomach or
scribble some bullshit take meticulous notes on what beer you loved for your shitbag blog.
3. Perfect number of breweries
Some fests pack in as many breweries as they can just to appear more impressive. NYCCBFWH (yeah, that’s what I’m going with now) capped the number at 75. That isn’t the most or the fewest, but is right in the sweet spot. It’s enough breweries that you won’t wait in line for long at any given table, but few enough that you can actually move throughout the event hall without constantly grinding on strangers. And with every table pouring two beers, you certainly won’t run out of different things to sample unless you’re truly a degenerate alcoholic who’s there purely to consume liquid instead of taste beer and get moderately drunk.
2. A price for any pocket
Whether you’re just there for something to do on the weekend or want to sample as many beers as possible, there’s a ticket option for everyone. The early bird pricing is a meager $49 for 2.5 hours worth of drinking. $20/hour is a steal for some of the finest craft beer from around the country. Plus, instead of spending $10 on one pint at the bar only to discover you hate it, you can try 150 different beers. For those interested in more time, the VIP ticket costs $65 and gives you an extra hour to sample. It’s called dollar-cost averaging, and Giovanni Ribisi thinks you should do it. If you really want to ball, you there are 150 tickets to the Connoisseur Lounge each session. They cost $115 and get you the additional hour plus back-stage access to an additional 15 rare beers, live music, and passed apps.
1. Find love, human or beer
If the number of articles preaching “how to get women to like beer” is any indication, people are somehow still unaware that women already love great beer. They may not be shotgunning wide-mouth cans of Coors Light, but they have no problem indulging in amazing craft offerings. New York is packed with women who love beer, and this is the perfect place to meet one. Plus, you’ll have a few dozen samples under your belt so you’ll actually have the confidence to go up and talk to them. Striking up a conversation with ladies in well lit and wide open room is a hell of a lot easier than trying to convince them you don’t have ulterior motives while introducing yourself at 2am. Plus, like I mentioned, there could still be a rogue Victoria’s Secret angel still hanging around.
Poster for the sake of poster