Big Brew NY Returns To Westchester

Not all beer festivals are created equal. Big Brew NY is back for 2015 and it sounds to be an awesome time.

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Continue reading “Big Brew NY Returns To Westchester”

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Run To The Brews: Craft Brew Races Hit New England

Having a cold beer after doing some physical activity is pretty satisfying.

The Craft Brew Races are taking that satisfaction across New England this summer, offering a run with a beer festival that showcases local brews and other craft beers from around the area. The races will be stopping in New Haven this Saturday. I have never run a 5K before, and generally maintain the attitude that I only run if I am being chased. However, I’ve been training with the Couch to 5K app on my phone, as well as my own Outkast to 5k (where I made a playlist of Outkast songs with beats to go along with my intervals of running or walking- GENIUS). Working out makes the taste of beer that much more delicious, and it’s helping me get in shape, too. Luckily, if you are not 100% prepared to run a whole 5k, the Craft Beer Race calls itself a “relaxed” 5k, which encourages walkers as well.

The race takes place in Edgewood Park at 12 PM, and for non-runners, the beer festival drinking begins at 12:30 PM.

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The post-race beer fest is free for runners, or if you’re simply someone enjoying the beer-drinking, you can get a ticket to the festival only for $45. Registration goes offsale online this evening, so be sure to grab them while you can!

If you live outside of CT or need an excuse for an end-of-summer road trip, the Craft Brew Races will be in Waterville Valley, NH on August 23 and Cape Cod on September 28.

Beer And Music Fest: Road Jam

Summer is brimming with festivals. If you live in Connecticut, there is one next weekend that is definitely worth checking out. Two Roads Brewing Company, out of Stratford, is holding its first-ever concert at the brewery. The festival of music and beer is called Road Jam Fest, named after their new raspberry wheat ale.

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The festival music lineup includes Atlas Gray, a soulful, piano-driven band from Hartford, local funk favorites The What Up Funk Band, jam collective The Alpaca Gnomes, and the Boston reggae crew John Brown’s Body. They are all a little different, but they will all provide lots of good beats to get beer-lovers dancing.

Tickets are $25, which gets you into the show and your first beer. Although the brewery itself is large, if the happy hour crowds are any indication, the limited number of tickets are going to go fast. Luckily you can get them ahead of time, on BeerFests.com. Beer tickets will be $5 each, which is a pretty decent deal for a beer at a festival, especially when you’re buying it RIGHT WHERE IT WAS MADE.

Food trucks will be present. Despite the spacious lot, parking can be tough there when it’s busy. Two Roads encourages carpooling, and I agree because it’s a festival, and an important aspect of that is cramming a whole bunch of people in one small vehicle, right? Anyway, the party starts at noon on Saturday, June 28. See you there!

Beer On The Gwar-bie: 5th Annual Gwar-B-Q Heats Up

As many of my reviews will show, I am a big fan of metal. It goes without saying that I love beer. I also enjoy barbeque. Lucky for me, there is an event coming this August that combines that sweet trifecta, and it is called GWAR B Q.

This year’s celebration is somewhat bittersweet. Gwar’s frontman David Brockie passed away in March. I myself wondered if the Fifth Annual Gwar B-Q would take place at all without the fearless leader. However, the show will still go on, and concert-goers will have the opportunity to party even harder in Oderus’ honor.

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GWAR B-Q 2014 takes place on Saturday, August 16 at Hadad’s Lake in Richmond, VA. A public memorial will also be held for Brockie the day before.

This year’s lineup features BODY COUNT (Ice-T’s metal band!), Goatwhore, Connecticut’s own Hatebreed, the Meatmen, Revocation, and more. Check out the full lineup here. It’s recently been announced that Gwar will indeed be performing. The lead singer is up in the air right now, although rumors seem to suggest that Beefcake the Mighty will take up those reins.

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As you may already know, Gwar has their own beer. According to their commercial above, the Gwar brew will be flowing copiously on August 16.

More awesome things? Well Hadad’s Lake is a waterpark, which has everything you would expect including a BLOB. A music festival at a waterpark is pretty much a summer dream- I can’t wait to see the red/brown water after everyone getting doused with Gwar Guts dives in. You can also dry off in the skate park, or not- and participate in the annual Spew-O-Lympics. Last year’s events included something called “Sperm and Slide and Die” and winners are determined by “obviously drunk judges”.

The barbeque is also sponsored by Slave Pit, Inc. as well as Ring Dog Rescue, which suggests that there may or may not be adoptable doggies there. Either way, I think it’s great that the sponsors are the group of artists and musicians that Gwar started from, and PUPPIES.

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Tickets go onsale Friday June 6 on the Gwar B-Q website, with 3 price levels. $45 is the single ticket, which is honestly a pretty good deal for an all day concert. $65 gets you a ticket and the official Gwar B-Q 2014 T-shirt. I am always kind of surprised that the shirts are black, because you can’t see the fake blood stains. If you are feeling like a serious baller, there are also VIP tickets for $150 which get you into the show with a shirt, as well as access to the official pre-party and after (Gwafter?) party. You also get a meet and greet with Gwar, Ice T, Hatebreed, and Bam Margera. Seriously, it’s kind of worth it just in case there’s a possibility of seeing all those guys in the same room and maybe even getting photo evidence.

So get your meat on- make Oderus Urungus in that bloody pit of horror in the sky proud, and get your tickets to the 5th Annual Gwar-B-Q when they go onsale June 6!

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Gathering Of The Vibes Announces Lineup

The Gathering of the Vibes hits my hometown of Bridgeport every summer, and I’m always excited to see what the lineup will be. Primus and Elvis Costello have been some memorable headliners in the past few years. For 2014, Widespread Panic, John Fogerty and the Disco Biscuits (joined by the Dead’s Mickey Hart and Bill Kruetzmann) will be leading the main stage. One of the things I like best about the Vibes is that although there’s no shortage of hippies skulking around, the music is pretty eclectic. Unless you only listen to black metal, it’s likely most people can pick an act or two to enjoy from the bill.

My personal picks for this year are Umphrey’s McGee, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Rusted Root, and White Denim. Since this is only the announcement of the initial lineup, I am looking forward to seeing what local bands get on the bill as well.

Another thing I love about the Vibes is that it kind of feels like a big family party. There aren’t tons of festivals where you can comfortably hang out with friends your own age, chat with an elderly old man on the beach, hula hoop with teenage girls, or get doused in glitter by a 6 year old. You can literally sit back and just watch people and be entertained. AND it’s on the beach. Some people scoff at Seaside Park/swimming in Long Island Sound, but you really can’t ask for a better location that has plenty of room and a great view of the water. Plus I’ve been swimming in that water for over 20 years and I’m still alive and well with no communicable diseases or weird growths to speak of, so it’s fine.

I’m writing about this here because there are actually some great beer sponsors. Sierra Nevada, Saranac, and Magic Hat will all be there. Although they are definitely not obscure craft beer companies in the least, it’s still good to know you can drink a decent beer at a show. Plus if you’re camping anyway, you can bring your own delicious beer selection.

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If you’re a Bridgeport resident, or still haven’t gotten a new driver’s license like me, there are generally discount, non-camping tickets that you can pick up the day of the show. A weekend camping pass is $210 for Thursday through Sunday. Individual day tickets are available as well, and are usually offered as it gets closer to the festival. You can get camping passes and check on individual day tickets here.

Bloodstock Open Air 2013

I don’t usually post about events that I have absolutely no way of attending, but this one is too awesome not to mention.

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It’s the annual Bloodstock Open Air Festival, which takes place in Derby, UK August 8-11 at Catton Park. I found out what it was through the Wychwood Brewery website, who offered a contest for bands to get a spot onto the festival. They also have the most badass shirts for the fest. Hobgoblins are incredibly metal, after all.

Aside from having the best name ever of a metal festival, the lineup is also incredible. The headliners for the three nights are King Diamond, Lamb Of God, and Slayer, respectively. Some of my other favorites include Gojira, Anthrax, Municipal Waste, Exodus, and DevilDriver. You can check out the extensive, full lineup here.

I especially like that the biggest stages aren’t named for corporate sponsors. The main stage is appropriately titled “The Ronnie James Dio Stage”, and the other bigger stage is named after Sophie Lancaster, a girl who was attacked, basically for dressing like any other average metalhead, and murdered in 2007. There is also a “New Blood” stage for up-and-coming metal bands to perform on, which is where Skreamer, the winner of the Wychwood competition, will be performing. Another awesome part? All the bands invited to play on the New Blood stage also get a shot at playing Germany’s Wacken Open Air and Slovenia’s Metal Camp, since they are partners with Bloodstock. How cool is that if you’re a new metal band from the UK?

It’s almost like it’s a festival with a heart, as strange as that is to write. Plus, the ticket prices honestly aren’t that extravagant for what you’re getting. A weekend pass, which includes camping and runs from Thursday-Sunday, is 125 Euros, or about $164 American. If I could make it to England for a weekend, I’d absolutely be there. If you have a flexible job and money to spare, definitely hit up Bloodstock Open Air this year.

CT Beer Week Kickoff

In my opinion, every week in which you are drinking delicious craft beer should be considered beer week. But making it official just allows for additional celebrations, and now Connecticut will have their own. CT Beer Week 2013 is May 11-18, 2013.

The mission is more than just encouraging people to drink better beer though. The official CT Beer Week site states that the week’s main purpose “is to inform policy makers of the significant contribution the three-tier system makes to Connecticut’s economy. This week long, statewide event was created to celebrate the vibrant beer industry in Connecticut.” As a bartender at a craft beer bar, I am definitely an advocate of craft beer creating more jobs, so this mission statement sounds great to me!

CT Beer Week will kick off with the Rising Pint Brewfest, which takes place this Saturday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. I spoke with Bryon Turner of the CT Beer Trail, who is helping to promote the event. He says, “For many of us, The Rising Pints Beerfest marks the start of Connnecticut’s brewfest season, drawing a great crowd of local craft beer enthusiasts.  This year the event will also help kick off CT Beer Week, a week long celebration of our local beer community.”

To celebrate even more, the CT Beer Trail is giving away tickets to the event, which you can enter to win online at the CT Beer Trail site.

Check out all the events happening this great week here!