Hudson Hop and Harvest 2013

Last weekend I volunteered at the Hudson Hop and Harvest Festival in Peekskill, NY. I had attended the year before, so when I found out they were looking for volunteers this year, I jumped at the chance. This year’s festival was moved to a larger location, at Riverfront Green Park, located just on the cusp of downtown Peekskill with a beautiful view of the water.

I spent the evening pouring beers from Peekskill Brewery, Troeg’s, Victory, Smuttynose, as well as Doc’s Hard Cider. It was great to see beer geeks and beer n00bs (sorry, I had to) alike enjoying great brews together alongside delicious food with awesome live music all day. Seriously, I only encountered a handful of snobs, and the douche baggery was kept to a minimum. Cheers to the woman I watched eat a whole Mt. Hood Hop and wash it down with a beer. If you’re going to be ridiculous at a beer festival, at least entertain me, and this lady won for the day. Seriously though. Everyone there was out for a good time, and most people seemed to be genuinely interested in trying new beers. Kegs of Oktoberfest offerings seemed to kick the fastest, with people still celebrating the beginning of October.

My favorite beer of the day was Peekskill’s Simple Sour. I am not the biggest fan of the berliner weisse style. However, Peekskill’s was slightly sweet, and very refreshing. It was unfortunately the only beer I was able to taste from Peekskill Brewing, and I look forward to tasting more from them.

Music was provided all day with Evan Watson, Fundimensionals, Elijah and the Moon, Mary C and the Stellars, and Saints of Valory. 107.1 The Peak WHUD, one of my favorite radio stations, sponsored the event. They play an awesome mix of alternative music, their ever-changing playlist pretty much sounds like most of my record collection, except with less metal and hip hop. Lots of surprises and “deep cuts” from well-known artists.

Did I mention there was food? So much food. Trucks and booths were set up everywhere, and I unfortunately did not get to sample nearly as much as I would have liked had I not been working. I very sadly missed visiting a booth from a place called the Waffle Cabin and was very disappointed. So after getting handed a flyer for an upcoming show there, I ended up at the Birdsall House after the festival for a pint of Empire Cream Ale on a nitro line and a beet-and-grain burger with goat cheese and spinach. Awesome food, and a really cool beer-garden style patio on the side. I highly recommend it, despite how busy it was because it was a post-Hop and Harvest hotspot.

Judging from the success of the past two years, it seems like the Hudson Hop and Harvest Festival will be an annual event for years to come. I can only hope that each year continues to get better as it has so far!

Advertisements

Review: The Sheepdogs “The Sheepdogs”/Southern Tier Harvest

THE RECORD

The Sheepdogs The Sheepdogs Atlantic Records 2012

Next up- another review of a band from Canada. This week we have the Sheepdogs with their latest, self-titled record. This is a wonderful, feel-good record for the fall. Starting off with “Laid Back”, the title of this song gives you an idea of the kind of mood this album evokes. Just right for sitting around a backyard with a flannel shirt and some tasty libations, of course.

Single “The Way It Is” has an awesome video to go along with it, that features the three Bs of awesomeness: Beer, Beards, and Baseball. Check it out at the end of this. “How Late, How Long” is another one of my favorite tracks. It has a great hook with the lyric “singing your song” that keeps me singing this song in my head.

This album was produced by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. It’s evident in the sound of this record, especially on “Feeling Good”, which has a fuzzed out guitar sound that sounds very much like some of the more recent records from the Keys. Carney’s production helps to put a modern spin on the sound of a record that takes a lot of influences from the southern rock and blues of the 70s. Lots of Allman Brothers-style guitar work and vocal harmonies galore, very present on “Is Your Dream Worth Dying For?”

The Sheepdogs self-titled album has a perfect balance of pop gems presented in a totally rockin’ manner. It’s also a 14-song record you can listen to without skipping over anything, which is a rare thing.

THE BEER

Harvest- Southern Tier Brewing Company- Lakewood, NY

Southern Tier is one of my favorite brewing companies, so I will probably be reviewing their beers many times in this blog. The beer I’ve chosen today is one of their current seasonal offerings, Harvest. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons for beer because it’s much more comfortable to drink darker beers as it gets cooler out. Autumn beers have a lot more going on with them too. You can find so many different varietals of hops in these brews, along with different blends of spices and other flavors. However, on the other hand, I often find that many fall beers fall into one of two catergories: pumpkin ale, or Octoberfest. I love both of these, don’t get me wrong, but there are so many that it’s hard to tell them apart sometimes.

ST Harvest is neither, which is why I like it from the getgo. It’s an English-style Extra Special Bitter (oh hey, I like making those!). It has a deep ruby-golden color, exactly the shade of fall foliage at its peak. Harvest pours with a decently thick head and has a medium body and a clean finish. It’s not overly sweet, with more of a bready taste and a very slight caramel flavor. I would love to drink this beer with a nice stew on a cool day.

THE PAIRING

This record and beer pairing has a lot to do with the seasonal connotations evoked from each source. Harvest is a laid back beer, much like the title of the first track off the Sheepdogs’ album. The beer takes all the best things about an ESB and puts a fall spin on it, making it just right for the present time of year. In a similar way, the Sheepdogs take all the best parts of 70s rock and make it modern and fitting for now.