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!

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OktoBEERfest: Connecticut

Despite the name, Oktoberfests are historically held in mid-September as a celebration to kick off the fall, and to welcome the month of October. While the biggest one is in Bavaria, of course, Connecticut is stepping up with a few of their own. All of them are awesome celebrations of seasonal as well as local beer, and most of them have some great musicians performing too! Here are some highlights of upcoming beerfests in the area coming in the next few weeks.

Ok2berfest

Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22- Two Roads Brewery- Stratford, CT

ok2berfest

Two Roads Brewery’s Oktoberfest will span 2 days and take place at their brewery grounds. Music, food trucks, and of course, great beer. Just in time to try their rum-barrel aged pumpkin offering, Roadsmary’s Baby. One of my favorite bands, Slavic Soul Party, will be playing from 12:30-3:00 PM on 9/21, as well as local favorites, the Mclovins, afterwards. Admission on either day includes a beer stein!

Harbor Brew Fest

Saturday, September 28- Harbor Yard- Bridgeport, CT

I grew up in Bridgeport so I am happy to return for events that involve the things I love, such as Rush concerts or beer fests. Well, I already saw Rush last fall there, so this fall brings the Harbor Brew Fest which has a list of over 30 breweries that will be there. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Harbor Light Foundation, a non-profit that provides activities and programs to children in the Connecticut area. Bands that are slated to perform include John Reid, Tom Crowley & the Speakers, String Fingers, and Alpaca Gnomes. There will be a variety of food trucks, including my favorite, Super Duper Weenie! Plus for a $40 ticket, beer sampling is unlimited.

Milford Oktoberfest

Saturday, September 28- Fowler Field, Milford, CT

http://ctmonuments.net/

I recently moved to Milford so I have to throw this one up here. Plus, there is a bratwurst-eating contest. Do I need to say more?

CT Museum Quest Oktoberfest

Sunday, September 29- Old Heidelberg- Bethel, CT

http://oldheidelbergct.com/

CT Museum Quest is embarking on a Connecticut Food Tour of the World! They have already traveled to Portugal and Venezuela, and the third stop will be Germany. What better time to taste German cuisine than Oktoberfest season?

Can’t make it on Sunday? That’s okay, the Old Heidelberg will be celebrating Oktoberfest every weekend starting on September 13 and culminating on the 29th.

Luck and Levity September Brewlounge

Tuesday, September 17- Luck and Levity Brewshop- New Haven, CT

This one isn’t being referred to as an Oktoberfest, but any gathering of beer drinkers during this time frame might as well count! So get down to the Luck and Levity Brewshop on Tuesday for some beer sharing! You don’t need to be a homebrewer to participate, and for this one, you can bring either a beer or something deliciously autumnal to eat. Plus if you’ve never homebrewed before, it might just encourage you to start!