With Memorial Day behind us, the summer beer festival season can officially begin. Here are four great opportunities to kick off your hot-weather drinking, all taking place in the month of June.
June 5: Craft New York Rare Beer Festival Update: This event has been postponed. See below for more events.
Try some of the state’s most hard-to-find beer at this festival celebrating craft breweries from all over New York. Presented by the New York State Brewers Association and Taste NY, the state agency that promotes local food and drink, the Rare Beer Festival brings together 26 breweries, each presenting a unique beer or two. Check out the Maple Sap Ubu Ale from Lake Placid, Rum Barrel Aged Poor Soldier Porter from Albany’s C.H. Evans, or Devil’s Deed Black Sour Ale from Great South Bay. With 50 selections to sample, you can drink your way from the five boroughs up to Canadian border without leaving Brooklyn.
The event takes place at Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street, Brooklyn). Tickets are $100 in advance ($110 at the door), with proceeds benefiting the New York State Brewers Association’s mission of protecting, promoting, representing, and educating members and consumers about local craft beer. Purchase them, and see a full list of pours, on the event’s website.
June 7: Where the Wild Beers Are
Fans of sours and the “bacti-curious” will want to check out this BYO festival celebrating wild, sour, and farmhouse beers. Born out of a love for funky brews, the collaborative event sells no tickets. Instead, attendees bring at least one bottle of a commercially-available sour/wild/farmhouse beer (sorry, no homebrews) and engage in a massive swap session. Each bottle is good for a certain number of drink tokens, enabling guests to sample at will from the overall selection.
While any type of commercial sour is accepted, the organizers encourage (and attendees appreciate) unique or hard-to-find beers to keep things from getting boring. If you’re not sure what qualifies, they provide a handy list of commonly-available wild beers to guide you. This year’s event happens at Holamon Studio (50 Coffey Street, Red Hook) and includes a free pour of Cantillon Classic Gueuze. Space is limited; you must register in advance on the website to ensure entry.
June 20 and 21: NYC Craft Beer Festival — Summer International
The popular beer fest hosts a seasonal tasting of over 150 pours from American and international craft breweries. Held at the Lexington Avenue Armory, all attendees will enjoy unlimited pours, as well as the opportunity to attend seminars by industry professionals, including Raphael Lyon of Enlightenment Mead. Those who purchase Connoisseur and VIP tickets will get an extra hour of tasting, and Connoisseur ticket-holders will have access to a lounge with exclusive selections and food pairings.
With a Friday night and two Saturday sessions to choose from, attendees will have plenty of time to get their fill. Tickets can be purchased on the event website with discounts for buying in advance. The event has partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society to support cancer research, so you can tell yourself that your boozing is good for the health.
June 20 through 23: CiderWICK Cider Solstice
If you’re looking for something sweeter, Jimmy’s No. 43 (43 East 7th Street) hosts a four-day celebration of all things apple-based. With the crop of 2013 ciders just coming on to the market, take the opportunity to try a variety from Northeast producers, including Eden Ice, Naked Flock, and Steampunk. Cider-makers will be on hand to guide you through their products and answer questions. There will be a homebrew hard cider tasting and competition, several food pairings, and a folk music sing-along (!).
Purchasing an event pass gets you ten ciders and access to all the weekend’s programming. You can also choose to pay as you go, picking and choosing tastings and events throughout the weekend. Get full details and purchase tickets in advance on the event website. (Note that no tickets will be available at the door.)