The 9th Annual Great Beer Expo
I’m sure you’ve all been bombarded with the reality TV style mind fuck of an election that we just lived through so I will give us all a reprieve and steer clear of politics and focus strictly on the awe inspiring liquid known as Beer. MMMMM….Beer.
The 9th annual #GreatBeerExpo held at the historic Belmont Racetrack in Nassau County Long Island was quite simply but a beer drinker’s delight. It was a menagerie of local, national and international breweries united in their passion for the art of craft beer. And make no mistake; passion was most certainly at the forefront. Whether it came from meticulously proficient event organizers Starfish Junction Production or the proud brewery representatives themselves, it was on full display in glorious abundance. And that’s the beautiful thing about the communal nature of craft beer. A good beer is meant to be shared, to be enjoyed with others and to be analyzed and critiqued. A good beer can be many things to many different people. It can be a conversation piece, it can be a nod to fond memories of the past, or it can be a catalyst for deep introspection. Much like a successful piece of art it hopes to evoke a myriad of feelings which often take time to internalize, worthy of revisiting over and over in order to fully ascertain the deep thought provoking wonders contained within. This is craft beer my friends, this is life. The art of craft is deeply valued and respected by BTBT and events like these bring people who love making beer and people who love consuming it together under one roof. To pull a quote from an old Dave Chappelle Show skit, ‘It’s a celebration bitches’.
BTBT represented for the entire day, mixing and mingling with brewers, representatives and the crowd. We also snagged some really great interviews and pics that we can’t wait to share with you. The interviews were equal parts in-depth and insightful and were packed thoroughly with awesome beer knowledge. Our two-part podcast features interviews from:
Co-Founder and Brewer Kyle Hurst of Big Alice Brewing
James Sloan Account Manager from Coney Island Brewing
Bert Fernandez Founder and Account Manager Fire Island Beer Company
Ryan Niebuhr Northeast Sales Manager from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Greg Martin owner of Long Ireland Beer Company
Jim Richards from Blue Point Brewing Company
Scott Plfug Marketing Director Starfish Junction Productions
“Events such as this bridge the gap between consumer and brewery. In the future we'd like to see more of the smaller independents and have some of their specialties. We are also looking to showcase some bigger breweries more eclectic offerings as well as their core styles to appeal to everyone” said Scott Plfug, Marketing Director Starfish Junction Productions.
Which is precisely why events like these are so great, they cater to both the connoisseur and the novice. Furthermore, regardless whether you’re a veteran beer drinker or a newbie wondering what craft is all about, beer festivals, when done right, can expose you to the brand experience behind those wonderful flavors. That 1 to 1 face time is integral to the discovery of what the brand has to offer which means exhibitors not only need to bring some of their best beer but also present their best ‘brand self’. You want people to buy into the flavor and the vibe of what you can bring to the table. With that in mind breweries welcomed the crowd and fellow brewers alike with open arms and were more than happy to talk shop for as long as they’d listen and BTBT is grateful that they did.
There were both heavyweights and craft title contenders on display but there was no sense of animosity, rather it was quite the opposite. Just as the booths were lined up side by side, many of the brewers we spoke too had no qualms over sharing shelf space with their fellow craft beer creators. The mantra was that there was enough to go around and if you make good beer then that’s just it, you make good beer. It was enough said because it is a feat worthy of respect. No matter where you are on the craft beer totem pole, good beer will always be celebrated and lauded for being precisely what it is, good.
“The turnout for the event was great, I think as word gets out about the new breweries attending, and some of the great beer we had there it will only get better” Scott Pflug said.
Thirsty revelers packed Belmont all day long and consumed with a passionate fervor. The early afternoon session catered more to the connoisseurs while the subsequent session consisted of a mix of connoisseurs and college kids looking to drink in excess for four hours. An alcoholic all you can drink buffet pre-game before the nights intended destination. And (provided it’s done responsibly) that’s ok, because this group is most likely to be exposed to something new, or rather a few new brews that they likely had no previous inkling of their existence. Hopefully they find something they legitimately enjoy and they tell a friend who tells a friend. It’s a synergistic exchange that is win / win for everyone involved. We firmly believe that there’s a beer for almost everyone and beer festivals are a potential avenue to make that heavenly pairing.
The night ended fittingly enough back in Queens with more beer and Manny Paquiao cruising to a unanimous decision over a game but overmatched Jessie Vargas. Pacman became the first senator to win a sanctioned boxing belt, having bested a lively opponent 10 years his junior. Up next for Pacman is possibly a showdown with fellow Top Rank stable mate Terrence Crawford or maybe even a Floyd Mayweather rematch. Pushing 38, Pac isn’t as good as he once was but he’s certainly good enough, and you could argue he’s had the best year of any welterweight having collected victories over two top 10 ranked opponents – Vargas (27-2) and Timothy Bradley (33-2-1), something no other welter has done.
While we are on the topic of sports how about beautiful, beautiful Chelsea Football Club with a resounding 5-nil victory over Everton. A marvelous performance put on by the lads as the brilliant manager Conte has them firing on all cylinders; 4 weeks ago pundits had them done and dusted; now they are neck and neck at the top of the table. Come on Chelsea! Come on Chelsea!
We take a deeper dive into the 9th Annual Great Beer Expo in Part 1 of our Two-Part Podcast show piece. Both episodes are loaded with great interviews, good beer and some pretty funny moments so be sure to check it out!
Let us know in the comments if you were at the Great Beer Expo, if you’ve attended in the past or if you plan to attend in the future! And send us some feedback on the new LOGO –we’d love to hear your opinions!
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Photo Credit: Mark Villacis
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