Thursday, February 3, 2011

Around the world in 100 beers & Jersey, too

Jersey-made brews pouring in Secaucus on Saturday.

Festival promoter Starfish Junction is bringing the international beer show it staged last fall at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island and last June in Philadelphia to the Meadowlands Exposition Center, marking Starfish's first foray into Garden State beer festivals.

The International Great Beer Expo boasts 100 beers from 50 breweries hailing from 25 countries.

"This is a festival for those who enjoy imports and not so much the craft brands," says Joe Chierchie, sales and marketing manager for Starfish Junction.

Still, if you're going, you can get an array of 2-ounce pours of American craft beers in your logoed sampler glass, including Jersey-made beers from Cricket Hill, Flying Fish, High Point, and River Horse, and contract brews from Jersey-based Boaks Beverage, East Coast Beer Company and Hometown Beverages.

You'll find the Garden State brands interspersed throughout the international labels. "We like to mix in the local guys with the big guys, so you can get a real taste between certain styles," Joe says.

Starfish Junction is widely known for its beer shows in Philly and New York. The timing was right, Joe says, for Starfish to set its sights on New Jersey.

"We're based in Long Island and the business partnerships made with those festivals there led to the (2007) Philly festival," he says. "There was an outcry for a Jersey festival. Through distributors and the connections made in New Jersey we found venue that would work."

Tickets, priced at 40 bucks ($10 for designated drivers), are still available for both the afternoon (12:30-4 p.m.) and evening (5:30-10 p.m.) sessions.

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