Hunter, NY: TAP New York Craft Beer and Food Festival [#TAPNY]

TAP was pretty laid back this year for me. Long gone are the days of going full retard at a beer fest. I checked out the beer list on The Foaming Head and made a plan of action before even heading to the event. I made a small list of wants and sipped sparingly on the few beers on the beer list that I haven’t had yet. There’s really no point in drinking every beer under the tent when most of them are something you’ve had before or something that doesn’t interest you. TAP NY still has plenty of new breweries and new offerings from past attendees to make the trip worth it, though, plus the drive, the views and the food make it one of my favorite beers festivals in New York (a close second to Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown). There were a lot of great beers there that day but the most memorable for me were the Southern Tier Bourbon Barrel Aged Backburner, Keegan Super Kitty and the Spider Bite Boris the Spider.

Southern Tier BA Backburner was absolutely phenom. I had at least three pours of it throughout the day (spaced pretty evenly, it clocks in at 14.1% ABV). I’m a huge Southern Tier fan, I’ve had most if not all of their beers, and have even made the 6 hour trek to their brewery in Lakewood, NY this past winter. This is by far the best beer I’ve had from them, and the best beer at TAP NY for me.

I’ve been to Keegan’s more times than I can count and it’s a regular stop when the boys make the trek to the Palisades Mall to see a movie in full IMAX glory when that retrofit bullshit at Crossgates won’t do. Still, after all of those times I’ve been I haven’t seen Super Kitty on tap at the brewpub. The last (and only) time I’ve had it was a tasting while at the Peekskill Brewery and walked away less than enthusiastic. The flavor was off. It may have been the keg or the line but whatever it was it wasn’t good by any means. When I saw it on tap at the Keegan’s booth I knew I had to try it. The (unlisted) Black Eye Black IPA was on tap which I’ve enjoyed in the past but since I’ve had it before I really wanted to give Super Kitty another shot. The second try was light years better. This is as good if not possibly better than Joe Mama’s Milk for me, and that’s saying a lot since sweet, slightly fruity beers like this aren’t really my thing. I went back for seconds later on but the line just about stretched out the door. Another time perhaps.

Lastly there was the Boris the Spider Russian Imperial Stout from a new brewery called Spider Bite Beer Co. in Holbrook. Russian Imperial Stout is one of my favorite types of beer and with it being one of (possibly the only) RIS at TAP NY I beelined there for my very first taste of the day. The beer was fantastic and if their other beers are as good as their stout they definitely deserve the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup they took home this year.

Other than hawking the kitchen for waiting when corn dogs were coming out*, the last hour of the day was spent hanging out and watching the individual craft beers being judged and the announcement of the medal winners. I’ll have a second set of pictures from that in a post later.

The rest of my pictures of the first part of the day can be found here.

*For some reason corn dogs, not beer, are the most sought after commodity at TAP NY. Go figure.