The 16th annual TAP New York Festival was held at Hunter Mountain last Sunday and I’m just about sober enough now to blog about it. Was I supposed to sample all 85 breweries? Absolutely!
I held off only long enough to finish working on a video of the event, then I swigged, swooshed and swallowed repeatedly.
Since it’s humble beginnings 18 years ago, TAP has morphed include largest gathering of breweries in New York State. Craft micro and nanos are now a force to be reckoned with.
Big beer labels are running scared because independent breweries like The Beer Diviner, Chatham Brewing, Empire Brewing, Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Rushing Duck, Three Heads Brewing, Upstate Brewing Co. and Schmaltz Brewery are bottling product that tastes better and helps the local economy.
“Beer is really coming into it’s own right now,” says Aaron Whittman, brewmaster general (or president) of the Albany Brew Crafters. “The so-called ‘winification’ of beer is actually a great thing for the industry.”
Just like wine, Whittman described how consumers are pairing up the different colors, textures, smells and most importantly tastes of beer with their everyday meals. Indeed, I caught dozens of sophisticated drinkers smelling their beer and swishing it from cheek to cheek, as if they were in a vineyard.
Inevitably, busloads of over-21 college revelers made attempts to turn the day into their Grandfather’s frat party but with prestigious award contests like the Governor’s, Matthew Vassar’s and F.X. Matt Memorial Cups, reverence was paid to innovators who made and make the brewing world a better place for all.