NYC Craft Beer Festival Highlights

When you hear live jazz music, it’s hard to resist moving your shoulders, bouncing your head and tapping your feet to the music. Such was the scene at Saturday’s NYC Craft Beer Festival: Summer Jazz edition, which took place at Webster Hall in Manhattan. It was the latest in a series of events produced by the Hand Crafted Tasting Company, a division of Mad Dog Events.

Three floors of beer were combined with jazz performances from local acts the High & Mighty Brass Band, Joe Alterman, and 508’s McClain and The Alers (pictured below) with 508 GastroBrewery brewer Chris Cuzme on the bass.

During the VIP and Conoisseur hour the High & Mighty Brass Band played while walking amidst the beer drinkers around Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom. It was pretty cool, and too bad it couldn’t have happened during General Admission, when the crowds were too thick.

Of course, we think the beer selection was pretty good (full disclosure: the team here at BeerUnion helped curate the list). Over 20 New York breweries were represented, from Spider Bite to Ommegang to Southern Tier to The Bronx Brewery.

The food was good, especially the eat-with-your-hands savory pies from the Savory Pie Guys. We were disappointed that there wasn’t a good turnout for “The Audacity of Hops” author Tom Acitelli’s seminar about New York’s role in the craft beer revolution, but it worked out pretty well for the handful of us listening to him above the din; he poured a 28 year-old New Amsterdam amber lager.

Webster Hall is an awesome venue. It just might not have been the best setting for this type of festival, often getting uncomfortably crowded – though we must point out that once we got through the crowd at each station we didn’t have to wait too long to get a beer.

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