Sunday, April 6, 2008

Keeping it real

New Jersey’s brewpubs landed on The New York Times’ radar. We snagged our 15 minutes of celebrity in the process, but never mind that … Check out the Times’ story; it’s a nice read.

Here’s the video from the March 16th real ale festival at Triumph, the coda to Philly Beer Week.

Quick recap: Twenty area brewers (seemed like more) brought in their best – and tasty – efforts at cask-conditioned ale; but let’s put our palate where our hearts are – is there really any other way to have ale? Really now?

(A couple of tech notes … it was a real challenge shooting in Triumph’s Old City pub. Mostly because of the lighting, three different sources to account for, including a sun that poured in the windows, then ducked behind clouds, only to come back out after we had opened up a few f/stops for an interview. Maddening.)

Nonetheless, here are the moving images from It’s Alive: The Real Ale Festival. (Too bad copyright exists on the old Universal Frankstein film; otherwise we would have cribbed that line.) A word of thanks to Jay Misson, director of brewing operations at Triumph, and Tom Kehoe, owner of Yards Brewing.

It was a classy event, one distinguished from the big festivals by virtue of it being about tasting beer, not merely drinking as much of it as you could inside four hours.

Meanwhile, we’re still working on the video from the Atlantic City festival (March 8-9). We opted to table that one to get the Philly piece done. Speaking of AC, and we’re not out to throw cold water on it, but that festival this year just seemed to devolve into a fairly big drunkfest.

And we're not trying to jab a finger in the eye of the promoters, either, but a lot of people languished in line trying to get through the turnstiles, and cash and merchandise were stolen from one brewery's table. Not cool.

Beer festivals have the potential to bring out busloads of bacchanal hedonists to begin with, but AC this year … well, a few people were probably skating home in their own sick.

Enough said.

Meanwhile, the longest day of the year welcomes the Garden State’s craft brewers for their annual festival aboard the USS New Jersey: June 21st, the summer solstice. Tickets are 40 bucks, that’s another $5 jump on the bar tab for the event. But in case you haven’t noticed, everything’s been going up. Tickets are available through Ticket Web.

And 750 is the magic number. That’s what attendance is limited to. (Festival hours: noon to 4 p.m.)

Also on the calendar:

• High Point Brewing Company is hosting an open house on this coming Saturday (April 12th), and it’s your last chance to sample Ramstein maibock fresh at the brewery.
• The Tun Tavern is holding another brewmaster dinner (April 25th). The food was excellent at the anniversary dinner in January, so keep this one in mind.

Those are the weekend gigs. As usual, weekday offerings can be found on the craft brewers guild website calendar.