This was my third year attending both days, which is a necessity if you want to try at least one beer from every brewery. But I wasn’t even able to accomplish that goal, even with two days’ worth of exploring. I developed a strategy this year, however. I made it a priority to visit tables for breweries that are not local and/or are not distributed to the Capital District (I did make a couple exceptions, though). I also found myself drinking only about two ounces of beer per pour, this enabled me to sample a lot of brews and still be able to walk.
I think 2014 may have set a record for most new breweries in a single year with 16, as well as most total breweries with 78. I was pleasantly surprised by some of these rookie brewers, especially Galaxy Brewing of Binghamton, Paradox Brewery of Schroon Lake, and Hopshire Farm & Brewery of Freeville.
As for the beers, there were plenty of memorable offerings including (in alphabetical order):
- Andean Brewing: Kuka Banana Nut Brown Ale
- Barrier Brewing: Frau Bucher (Beechwood smoked rauchbier)
- Birdlands Brewing: Blue Bird (blueberry stout)
- Bronx Brewery: Belgian Pale Ale
- Bull & Barrel Brewpub: NY Farmhouse Saison
- Cave Mountain Brewing: Jalapeno Wheat (tasted like nachos!)
- Cortland Beer Company: Liquid Love (chocolate stout)
- Finger Lakes Beer Company: Hammonds Vanilla Porter
- Matt Brewing: Saranac Single Malt (Scotch ale aged in whiskey barrels)
- Galaxy Brewing: St. Stusan Belgian Pale Ale (won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup)
- Good Natured Brewing: American Brown Ale
- Hopshire Farm & Brewery: Beehave Blone (all NY honey ale)
- Horseheads Brewing: Christmas Ale
- KelSo Beer Company: Jameson Barrel-aged Saison (probably THE best beer of the festival!)
- Olde Saratoga Brewing: Saratoga Lager finished with Brett
- Paradox Brewery: Beaver Bite IPA (probably the best regular IPA I had)
- Shmaltz Brewing: He’Brew David’s Slingshot
- Sloop Brewing: Black Razz
- Three Head Brewing: MoHo Smoked Porter
My only complaint, as per usual, is the weather. Usually, temperatures are in the 50’s (maybe even 60's if you're lucky), but this year was closer to the low 40’s (high 30’s with the wind chill). I don’t know why this primarily outdoor event is held so early in the year. Is there any reason TAP New York can’t be moved back a month?
Otherwise, this year’s event was a lot of fun and of course I’m already looking forward to 2015. Here’s some vlogs of my tasting notes on just about every beer I had this year. Enjoy!