TAP-NY! is a two day beerfest devoted to the brewers of New York State. In addition to the dozens of brewers making their best beers available to the festival-goers, there is also a serious competition going on. Two prizes are awarded each year: The Matthew Vassar Cup recognizes the Best Craft Beer Brewery in the Hudson Valley, and the F.X. Matt Memorial Cup goes to the Best Craft Beer Brewery in New York State. There are also medals given to the best individual beers. Serious bragging rights are at stake!
There were, by my count, 36 brewers and over 150 beers there. I personally tried to visited as many of them as I could, but as you can imagine, it's an impossible task! Here's what I can cull from my sketchy notes of the 39 beers that I did taste, presented here in alphabetical order by brewer:
Adirondack Pub & Brewery - Lake George, NY
Winner of the 2010 Matthew Vassar Brewer's Cup for best brewery in the Hudson Valley
Seasonal Brown Ale: very hoppy, especially for a brown
Brewery Ommegang - Cooperstown, NY
Tripel Perfection: For me, this Belgian-style dark ale was one of the highlights of the brewfest! One of their Specialty Brews, it was incredibly fresh and rich-tasting! Absolutely try this if you have the opportunity!
Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn, NY
Brewmaster's Dark Matter: by Garret Oliver, was another great standout! It's a bourbon barrel-aged brown ale—Outstanding!!!
Brewmaster's Special Reserve BLAST lived up to its name with a strongly hopped flavor
Black Chocolate Stout is always a great brew with its dark roasted barley malt and strong coffee and choloate notes. (Also found in my fridge.)
Brown's Brewing Co. - Troy, NY
Having recently made a pilgramage to Troy to sample their tour of beers, I opted for the
Hefe-Weissen: It's a traditional white in the style of Weihenstaphaner. No complaints!
Whiskey Porter: is a must-try! It's aged for two months in a bourbon cask and goes down super smooth. Yum!
Captain Lawrence Brewing - Pleasantville, NY
Pleasantville Smoked Porter was good, but the mouthfeel was a little light.
Cave Mountain Brewing - Windham, NY
Peach Wheat was indeed peachy, but the flavor, though interesting, was a tad artificial.
Hemp Seed Ale: Why?
Oaked Nut Brown Ale (cask-drawn): was the best of the bunch.
Chatham Brewing Co. - Chatham, NY
Maple Porter: Complex dark ale with a sweet maple taste. Definitely try it!
Chelsea Brewing Co. - Manhattan, NY
Though they only brew the Checker Cab Blonde Ale and the Sunset Red Ale with any regularity, they brought some more interesting ales to TAP:
American Brown: Clean!
Black Hole XXX Stout: rich and dark, strong coffee flavor with a blueberry (?) note
1,000 Gyle Imperial Mild Barleywine (bourbon barrel-aged): It's a strong beer, but the smooth taste belies this. Very complex tastes and an orange-reddish color. Interesting...
C.H. Evans Brewing/Albany Pump Station - Albany, NY
Kick Ass Brown: a hoppy brown that has won gold at the Great American Beer Festival three times
Smoked Hefeweissen: This was great!!! Light and smoky!
American Stout: This was a bit watery last year, but seemed just fine this year!
Empire Brewing Co. - Syracuse, NY
Empire White Aphro: An herb-infused Belgian Wit. AWESOME!!! Another TAP-NY highlight!
Gilded Otter Brewing Co. - New Paltz, NY
Belgian Spring Wit: Nah, too light for my tastes...
Great South Bay Brewery - Bay Shore, NY
Southampton Snaggletooth Stout: okay. A promising start from a new brewer.
John Harvard's Brew House - Lake Grove, NY
Creamy McStout: A sweet milk stout
High Point Wheat Beer Co./Ramstein - Butler, NJ (interlopers!)
Ramstein Maibock: Smooth, but blah
Ramstein Dunkel Weiss: Their best.
Horseheads Brewing Inc. - Horseheads, NY
Winner of the 2010 F.X. Matt Memorial Cup for best brewery in New York State!
Chocolate Porter: YESSSS!!! a dark roasty chocolate malt combined with actual cocoa powder! Sweet Lord!!!
Hyde Park Brewing Co./Skytop Steak House - Hyde Park & Kingston, NY
Aiden Michael (Altbier): fruitier than a typical lager
Ithaca Beer Co. - Ithaca, NY
Ground Break (American-style Saison): eh. Lots of hops with a Belgian yeast
Keegan Ales - Kingston, NY
Hurricane Kitty IPA: strong and powerful and aggressively hoppy!
Mother's Milk Stout: Rich, milky stout with a dry oatmeal note. Nice!
Kelso of Brooklyn - Brooklyn, NY
Kelso Pilsener: Standard lager in the style of Pilsener Urquell
Kelso Nut Brown Lager: Spicy and malty. Best of this brewer's offerings
Kelso IPA: typical of style
Olde Saratoga Brewing Co./Mendocino - Saratoga Springs, NY
Summer Ale: An unfiltered wheat beer that was thirst-quenching and very good!
Red Tail Ale: A crisp Amber Ale that was also good!
White Hawk Select IPA: An aromatic hoppy IPA.
Rohrbach Brewing Co. - Rochester, NY
Vanilla Porter: A rich caramel/chocolate porter with a strong vanilla note. Good!!!
Sixpoint Craft Ales - Brooklyn, NY
Gorilla Warfare Coffee Porter: Jet-black beer with a strong coffee note. Very nice!
Southampton Ales & Lagers - Southampton, NY
Double White Ale: A solid white ale that's a bit stronger than your typical hefe-weissen! (Also found in my fridge.)
Southern Tier Brewing - Lakewood, NY
Hop Sun Wheat: Lemony wheat beer that is quite HOPPY!!! (Although it's a dry hop...)
Bandwagon Brew Pub - Ithaca, NY
Blue Point Brewing Co. - Patchogue, NY
Butternuts Beer & Ale Co. - Garrattsville, NY
Cooperstown Brewing Co. - Cooperstown, NY
The Defiant Brewery - Pearl River, NY
Fire Island Beer Co. - Fire Island, NY
Great Adirondack Brewing - Lake Placid, NY
Lake Placid Pub & Brewery - Lake Placid, NY
Middle Ages Brewing - Syracuse, NY
The Peekskill Brewery - Peekskill, NY
Saranac/F.X. Matt Brewing Co. - Utica, NY
Warwick Valley Winery Hard Ciders - Warwick , NY