Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 TAP-NY Preview

The annual TAP-NY festival is set to kick off on Saturday and the biggest beer festival in New York is expected to get even bigger this year. The sixteenth edition of the festival will hand out the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup and Matthew Vassar Brewers' Cup for the best brewery in New York State and the Hudson Valley as well as the John Calen Memorial Award. Calen was a founding member of the festival and passed away last year. An award was created in his name to crown the best beer in a pre-selected style. This year's award will be handed out to the best porter beer at the festival.

With the event just days away, it is time to release our annual TAP-NY preview.  Our final count has 46 breweries pouring 183 beers. TheFoamingHead has tasted and reviewed over a third of the beers that will be poured and have included the links to these reviews.  (Editor's Note: The people at TAP-NY have a count of over 200 beers being poured for the first time in the event's history this year.)

Here are the things that TheFoamingHead will be on the look out for at TAP-NY:

* There will be nine new breweries making their TAP-NY debut. Bacchus Brewing Company, Finger Lakes Beer Company, Jonas Bronck's Beer Company, Keuka Brewing Company, Newburgh Brewing Company, Port Jeff Brewing Company, Roc Brewing Company, Spider Bite Beer Company, and The Bronx Brewery.

I have not had the chance to taste many of the beers from the first time pourers.  While I look forward to all of them, The Bronx Brewery Pale Ale has been receiving all sorts of rave reviews out of beer geeks in NYC.

* It will be interesting to see what Barrier brings to defend its F.X. Matt title from last year. Ditto for Crossroads and their Vassar Cup. The bar is open in Athens with the restaurant coming very soon. With head brewer Hutch Kugeman (one of ym favorites) at the helm, the beer will always be good.

* I was able to attend the Brooklyn Brewery release party for their new Brewmaster's Reserve beer, Gold Standard. It is a great beer that fills a need for the lager style. This is a must try.

* The Brown's Whiskey Porter is one of the best beers in NY when it is brewed fresh.  It usually is for this event.

* Cave Mountain brought a 400 IBU bomb to last year's event. This years head-turner? Hemp Seed IPA.

* Custom Brewcrafters makes some incredible beer from the Rochester area, yet few from downstate know much about it. Consider TAP their coming out party.

* The IPA from Empire Brewing Company is one of the highest rated beers on TheFoamingHead.

* Mrs. FoamingHead will be upset to see that brewer Ed Samchisen decided to leave his Hot-Jala-Heim pepper beer behind. It is her favorite part of the festival every year. Regardless, there will be some great beer from the underappreciated brewery.

* It is hard to find any of the beers from Long Ireland in the Hudson Valley so this might be a rare opportunity to taste through their offerings.

* We mentioned them before but the Newburgh Brewing Company will make i's grand entrance to the NY craft beer world. (The company released their beers this weekend but with an expected 6,000 attendees this will be their big introduction.) A short ride from Hunter, we think this might be the one of the most talked about breweries of the weekend.  Also, newer breweries have taken three of the last four cups awarded so don't be surprised if Newburgh (or one of the other newbies) takes home a cup.

* This will be the first TAP festival for the Jeff O' Neill as the brewmaster of Peekskill. The "Chief", who previosuly brewed at Ithaca, is considered one of the best brewers in the state. His first brews at his new job were very impressive.  Here is my pick for a medal, a cup, or a combination of both.

* Southern Tier is considered by quite a few to be the best brewery in NY. They have put their back burner (91 points for the original) in oak and will be pouring the new version.

* Like Custom Brewcrafters, Three Heads can get overlooked because of their location.  An unknown who greatly impressed the masses last year, their new Common Man Specal Lager will be worth seeking out.

*Seriously, the rave reviews about Bronx Pale Ale have been coming in waves. This might be the first beer tasted by TheFoamingHead.


Unknown said...

"The Brown's Whiskey Porter is one of the best beers in NY when it is brewed fresh . It usually is for this event."

I'm glad you quantify this. It wins awards often, but it's not the same beer you get in their taproom. Usually it has an off-taste and/or there's the ever present issues with the cleanliness of their lines.

Chad Polenz said...

looks like it's going to be awesome! Glad I'm going both days!

Chad Polenz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Barrier Brewing is an excellent Long Island brew. No doubt why they won last TAP.