I didn’t go to college. I guess that’s a weird way to start a beer blog entry, but in attending LivingSocial’s Craft Beer and Food Truck Festival, I was reminded of my lacking in the area of college oriented brews, games and forms of entertainment. The crowd in attendance was more about drinking beer then tasting it, and that made for a decidedly “drinking brew” representation in large part from the presenters. What I mean by this is that most of the beer in the building that night was of the Pilsener and Lager variety. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I can often get down on some standard drinking fare like Red Stripe, Presidente or even, yes….Blue Moon. As much as I’ve slowly earned my beer snob wings and taken to the skies, I can still swim in these waters as well.
With that said, the event was about providing a place for young folks to have a good time and get exposed to some new craft brews in an exciting setting, and that was certainly achieved. Upon arrival, I entered what was the shell of an old bank, the Williamsburg Savings Bank, to be specific. It now goes by Skylight One Hanson and is located in Brooklyn, NY. Just being there was pretty phenomenal as my mind wandered to a time when banks were built like cathedrals with marble floors and adornments, 60 foot ceilings, hanging chandeliers and stained glass windows. It almost felt like a set from an old Twilight Zone episode from a time where money was worshipped in an overt way unique to that era. It was something to see. All the breweries set up at the former teller windows, 4 rows of drafts (one on each side of two window panes) to complete the visual. A DJ banged out the jams from the backyard, which pumped into the huge hall space. Walking toward the back you came across proof positive that the scene was aimed at the college (or just graduated college) drinker, it was a game of giant beer pong. Garbage can sized red solo cups (very cool btw) and a beach ball made for laughs for many.
Through the final doorway was the yard that hosted about 7-8 food trucks. Most of them housed empaladas or tacos like the Nuchas truck, but me being the guy I am was drawn to Shorty’s, home of Philly Cheesesteaks and other assorted meat filled heroes. I had a pork sandwich, which had provolone and onions. It was pretty dang good, it was huge, so it didn’t leave much room for beer, but it was delicious.
After that quick walk through and devouring, I made my way back to the beer stands inside. I discovered some breweries I’d never heard of before that had some nice offerings like Cisco. I also continue to shed my pretenses regarding ciders and really enjoyed the Pacific Pear Cider from Fox Barrel, which almost fooled me into thinking there was beer in it somewhere. I got to sample the brand new Sixpoint offering, Brownstone, which I enjoyed and was a good bounce back from Apollo, a brew I wasn’t crazy about personally that preceded it from the Brooklyn based beer house.
By and large though, the event was stuffed with chugging-style beers. Some rather tasteless. Some, too many in fact, were sip and dumps. Part of knowing what you like is knowing what you don’t like, but the limit to that philosophy was pushed at times for me.
The savior of the night though, was one of the last beers I tried. Night Owl from Elysian. It stopped the entire room, the body was totally different then everything else that night. It’s hints of pumpkin and yam were simply put, delicious. One thing I’ve learned about these tastings is the keg with the longest line will 9 times out of 10 be the best beer in the building, and this was certainly true at Elysian’s stand. To demonstrate this, I’d never heard of the Elysian Brewery, from Seattle. And if I hadn’t, I can almost guarantee not many others in attendance did either. Still, in a room full of folks in their young twenties from all the way in Brooklyn New York, Elysian was lighting things up. I won’t hold it from this article, that I went back to get 3 servings of Night Owl before leaving for the night. At the same time that it had a distinct taste that held you, it still fit in with the rest of the offerings in the fact that it drank smoothly. Truly did make the event for me.
The night ended for me with a great new discovery and a brewery I’ll be on the hunt for, for a long time coming. It ended for many others with an unforgettable night of friends, fun, food and yes…….beer pong.