Friday, April 25, 2008

Top of the tap

In the April issue of Hudson Valley Connoisseur magazine, Jessica Bard wrote a comprehensive and just-darn-interesting article about craft beers produced in our region. We have her low-down on the local producers at the HVC Web site but you'll have to get the magazine to read the entire article (which includes a recipe for Spicy India Pale Ale Mussels that she worked on with Chef Ric Orlando from New World Home Cooking in Woodstock.) There's a link on the HVC magazine Web site that lists all the places where you can buy the magazine (it's growing!)

Anyway -- I am reminded of the HVC article because this weekend is TAP New York -- two days of what's been called the most prestigious beer and fine food event in New York. It takes place in the Base Lodge at Hunter Mountain in Hunter and you can get more info about buying tickets and the schedules at the TAP Web site or by calling 800-486-8376. I see at their Web site that tickets for Saturday are sold out and will not be available at the door -- but they still have plenty of tickets available for Sunday.

More than 30 breweries will be on hand and you can taste more than 100 beers! Those breweries include local favorites such as Gilded Otter in New Paltz, Keegan Ales in Kingston and Hyde Park Brewing Co. and its "sister" brewery, Skytop Steakhouse & Brewery in Kingston. I attended TAP two years ago and had a great time, and I'll be going again this year. Go -- have fun, and bring a designated driver (that's me this year but I'll still get to enjoy all the great food they serve.)

Here is more information about the day from TAP:

Many of the invited brewers produce their beer for sale only in their location.... whether it is a restaurant, a brewpub or a small brewery. Others are breweries large enough to distribute on a larger scale, but maintain an excellent quality through their commitment to craft-brewing their product. You won't find Anheuser-Busch, Coors, or Miller products here. What you will find are some truly remarkable beers that will tantalize your taste buds... beers that offer a variety of color and flavor that the big boys only dream of. You'll find everything from pale ales and pilseners, to weisbiers, porters, stouts, and scotch ales; from hearty Bohemian and Bavarian-style lagers to glorious Belgian-style ales and, dare we say, even more.

But TAP is more than just about the beer. It's about great food -- tasty morsels that carefully complement these rich brews. And plenty of it.

It's about education.... about beer, about home-brewing, about beer/food pairings.... it's about cooking demonstrations from some of the best chefs in the region (and beyond).... and it's about good friends coming together for a weekend of good beer, good food and good times.

TAP is also a competition. Beer experts and non-experts will judge in a competition for the "Best Beer" and "Best Brewery" in New York State. Two cups are awarded on Saturday, the Matthew Vassar Cup and the F. X. Matt Memorial Cup.

So there you have it. I hope you can go, and enjoy the day (responsibly.) Cheers!

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