Saratoga Springs.. Oh The Places You'll Go

Oh Hoppy Day!

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"Who cares how time advances? I'm drinking ale today." ~ Edgar Allen Poe

It was Saturday morning and I felt like a child about to go to Disney. Let me be honest and explain to you that I am a huge beer geek. Therefore as beer geeky as I can be, I knew it was going to be a great day for beer lovers. After all, it was the 2nd Annual Saratoga Brewfest at Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa and my husband and I had VIP tickets; a small splurge for our Mother/Father's Day present to each other. We were amped to say the least. We had a babysitter until late that evening, read up on the visiting breweries, and had our pretzel necklaces ready. Yes, it was going to be a great day.

Riding with some of our neighbors deep into the country side of Ballston Spa, we arrived shortly after the doors opened for the VIP session. We were given a nice little goodie bag that included our tasting cup, a koozie (who doesn't like those), a pen, and other whatnots. From that point, time just flew by as we enjoyed ourselves with the catered lunch and all-you-can-drink VIP beers. There were only a few points throughout the day that we actually paid attention to the time: one, being when the general session opened; two, when the Belgian tent opened; three, when Adirondack Brewery opened their special cask; and finally when the event was over. For several hours we were whirled into the madness of trying any sample we had never tried before as well as talking to any brewery representative.

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One of the breweries, Wandering Star Craft Brewery, was an exciting find to see there since they had such a difficult time getting their licenses. Chris Post, owner and founder, was beyond amazing. He was generous enough to spend some time talking with us and even gave my husband a few pointers on home brewing. Another great discovery, which almost came too late in the day, was Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout; we were lucky enough to get samples from the last bottle! By the end of the event, we didn't even come close to finishing our 15 samples. Although some pointed out to us that we were participating in "alcohol abuse" by not using all our vouchers, I like to think we truly enjoyed our samples while lounging in the shade of the VIP tent listening to the band play. It was, after all, a wonderful day.

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All and all, the day lived up to what we imagine. Yes, there were some things this festival lacked in compared to other festivals, but for the 2nd year... Good job Saratoga Brewfest! I will definitely be there again next year and singing your praises to others. Festivals like these are always a great time and we always leave with a few extra friends. My biggest let down for the day, however, was from Adirondack Brewery with their cask "CocoWhat?". This beer was an amazing five-gallon, once-in-a-lifetime, brew. It's a shame this one doesn't have a permanent place on their tap list to say the least. I can't remember all the details, but it was aged in a rum barrel with vanilla and coconut. Sounds amazing right?

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If you didn't get a chance to go, no worries, there's another beer festival around the corner. On July 23rd, the 2nd Annual Capital Region Craft Brewers Festival will be taking place at the Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy. I can guarantee that I'm already planning on attending and you should check back to see how it goes (of course I hope you join me there). However, if you did attend the Saratoga Brewfest, and hopefully you did, what was your favorite moment or sample you tried that day? Love to hear your thoughts! Cheers!

8 Comments

Thank you for coming and reviewing Danielle! We are very happy with how our 2nd year went and look forward to improving it over time.
Please keep checking back with us and we hope to see you on September 17th at OktobeerfestNY 2011!! This is a German Bier and Food festival combined with a Fall Seasonal Craft beer and Food festival. A very unique and eclectic event with many more details coming soon at www.oktobeerfestny.com!

I love beer, and I love the idea of beer festivals! However, at $50 for 12 tickets of 5 oz samples, I didn't think it was a bargain at ALL. That's a little less than 4 pints of beer, so that works out to be...more than $13 a pint???? Seriously??? Sure, they had 100 varieties of beer but you could only sample 12 of them? No, not a bargain at all.

Hey Christine,
While I agree $50 "at-the-gate" ticket ($40 prior to a certain date) does seem like a lot for 15 samples (at least our card got us 15 samples and not 12), compared to other NY festivals this is pretty reasonable. For instance, Glens Falls Brewfest is $35 at the door for 10 samples, TAP New York Craft Beer & Fine Food Festival is $55-$60 for 10 samples, Capital Region Craft Brewer’s Festival is $25-$40 for 10 samples, and Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Festival is $75-$190 for who knows how many samples. When we first moved here we had been spoiled by Southern beer festivals which were all-you-can-drink, but I know some Northern states have laws which limit the amount of pours at festivals. I guess what I'm saying is to each their own on the value of a festival. Perhaps you should get a VIP ticket for next year which is $75 and includes unlimited pours of certain samples, catered lunch, and unlimited water. Sorry you found it not a bargain.
Cheers!
Danielle

I'm spoiled too by American Craft Brew Fest in Boston, where 2 oz. samples are unlimited and there's way more than you can possibly try in 4 hours.

I don't mind the limits, though it would be nice to convince the government to have more faith in craft beer drinkers. The trick is to bring friends you don't mind sharing with and each get different things.

And yes, by volume it's more expensive than drinking in your favorite pub, but you pay for the experience, not just the beer.

Sounds like a great day and the weather looks to have been superb. Did Saratoga Brewing Company make a showing? Their tasting room is one of our favorite stops when we come "home." We have a collection of all their original glasses. Secondly, did the event have a charity or cause it was supporting. Our club puts on a huge food and wine fest here in Bradenton, Fl. every November and while some might thing our ticket price is a bit high, we deliver a great product and with all (very dime) of the proceeds going to local charities no one balks and we sell out every year. Another great post Danielle.

Saratoga Brewery was there and had a great line-up. I have to say, it's nice to have a brewery right here in Saratoga! Not to mention all the other breweries here in the Capital Region! Wouldn't it be fun to have a Beer Bus Tour and see all the local places? As for this fest supporting a charity, I'm not sure. If it did, it wasn't advertised very well. Thanks for all your kind words and reading!

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Danielle Berry

Originally from the South Carolina Lowcountry, Danielle Berry is a southern girl through and through. Born into an Air Force family with three other siblings, her life included moving every four to five years up and down the East Coast. Although saying goodbye was never easy with every move, a new town always meant more friends and unfamiliar, yet exciting, things to do. Eventually her parents settled in the small town of Beaufort, South Carolina; a quaint coastal town between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. There, she found the porches were long, but the conversations were always longer.

A Converse College alumna, she met her husband, Jared, on a reluctant blind date her freshman year. Married in 2007, she followed him to Southeast Georgia where she was hired as an interior decorator and project manager for James Michael Howard. In 2009, they welcomed their first son, Michael, and she became a full time stay-at-home mom.

This past January, she followed her husband to Saratoga Springs. Although the porches aren’t as long, she has found that the conversations with the locals are. With an overwhelming amount of experiences awaiting, she is excited to be given another opportunity in a new town, with new friends, and new adventures.