Not all beer festivals are created equal. Big Brew NY is back for 2015 and it sounds to be an awesome time.
The beer festival takes place in a single 3 and a half (or 4 and a half if you purchase a VIP ticket) hour session, which is nice because it’s not rushed, and if you are going with a few people, it’s one less thing to coordinate.
There are Designated Driver, General Admission, and VIP tickets available. The price on them goes up January 24, and again on January 31. The VIP ticket is $85, but well worth while. An extra hour of tasting before the GA crowd comes in can be a really nice thing. Food is also included with the VIP ticket, from sponsor Mambo 64, a Latin American restaurant out of Tuckahoe, NY, infused with brews from their neighbors at Broken Bow Brewery. There will be food available for purchase for non-VIP ticket holders as well. The list of food vendors hasn’t been announced yet, but I have never been disappointed at a beer festival for food yet, so I am not worried.
Another of the sponsors of Big Brew NY is Half Time. If you are unfamiliar, Half Time is New York’s beer heaven. I have only heard rumors of its awesomeness. The store in Poughkeepsie has been open since 2002, but they have recently opened a Mamaroneck location that is apparently The World’s Largest Beer Store. Half Time is partnering with Big Brew NY and will be giving plenty of stuff away. I know whether I win anything or not, I will probably want to make a stop there on my way home.
My other favorite part of the festival, and one more reason that makes a VIP ticket absolutely worthwhile is the Craftsman Ale House All Cask Lounge. Other than the Real Ale Festival at Bar in New Haven, I don’t often see cask ales being celebrated at beer festivals. At least not as much as they should be. The full beer list is here, and you can see what breweries will be offering things on cask. Connecticut’s own Black Hog will be in the cask lounge. The main list also includes fellow Nutmeggers Half Full, Thomas Hooker, and Two Roads.
From Connecticut, the drive to White Plains is not bad at all. However, driving back from a beer festival is not my idea of a good time. If you take Metro North from the New Haven line, you can transfer at 125th or Grand Central and be on your way to White Plains. Plus, the festival is over at 8:30 which is plenty of time to get back home without worrying about having to catch the last train home. Unless you choose to party in the city afterward.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s worth getting tickets now before the go up in price, or worse, sell out. Check out the price levels and all other information about the festival here.