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Thankful for Beer Festivals

November 21, 2018

Not all beer festivals are created equal. Hold onto that thought for just a moment, because it’s Wednesday, and we’re talking about beer. This could probably use a little context, as we’re coming to the end of the season of thanks.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Friday, America goes shopping.
Saturday is for small business.
Sunday is for the airport or the highway.
Monday is for the internet.
Tuesday is for charity.
And then there are only three more days until December.

What I’m trying to say here is that Saturday, December 1 will be here before you know it. And over the next few days, a shocking number of people will spend money they don’t have as they confuse consumption with affection.

In the coming days, it may be easy to miss the news of a rather amazing beer festival that’s coming to Albany on Saturday, December 1. And not only am I thankful for the passionate local beer loving fellow who willed this unique event into existence, I’m also thankful that through my day job I get to be a promotional partner. That’s a fancy way of saying that Yelp has a pair of free tickets to give away.

But why should you care? Especially if beer festivals aren’t really your thing. Let me tell you.

What do you know about cask ale? Some people call it “real ale” which is also known as “naturally conditioned beer”. Or maybe you’ve heard of “cask-conditioned beer”? Well there is a group called the Campaign for Real Ales and they put together the following definition:

Real ale is a beer brewed from traditional ingredients (malted barley, hops water and yeast), matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide.

Brewers use ingredients which are fresh and natural, resulting in a drink which tastes natural and full of flavour. It is literally living as it continues to ferment in the cask in your local pub, developing its flavour as it matures ready to be poured into your glass.

This is cool stuff. Well, technically, these can be some of the warmer beers you’ll get at traditional British pubs. And it’s not common to find cask ales out and about. Some places will specialize in them. The Allen Street Pub in Albany is one such spot, and they’ll put together a cask festival periodically. If my memory serves the list they put together was probably about eight deep.

Well, Scooter over at Lupulin Events has put together almost four times that for Cask & Crossgates – Winter Beer Fest. And the list of breweries that will be bringing a special cask to this event is simply fantastic. It includes the very small local breweries while bringing in beer-geek favorites from the Northeast, as well as a few slightly larger players from further afield.

But the vast majority are from New York and a plurality are a stone’s throw from the festival.

Which, by the way is not inside Crossgates Mall. It’s outside. In December. But it will be held in heated tents, and there will be fire pits. Plus, I’ll be there with Yelp Life fingerless gloves. So find me, check-in to the event with the Yelp mobile app, and hit me up for one of my favorite pieces of winter Yelp Schwag.

One of the issues people sometimes have with cask beer is that it’s closer to cellar temperature than the icy cold beers they’ve been conditioned to enjoy. I have a funny feeling that won’t be a problem on December 1.

All told, there will be over 30 casks and 80 beers from the 30 breweries in attendance. There will be music, food trucks, the fun loving gang from Two Buttons Deep who will be doing a Squad Cast, and my friends from who will have a special Randall going in their tent.

It’s four hours of fun, from 2-6pm and tickets are $45. But a little birdie told me you can enter to win a pair over on Yelp right now. However, you have to act quickly. Or you could just buy a ticket outright, and skip the waiting. Plus, it would be a killer to miss out on this.

It would also be a killer if you spent all your money this weekend, and didn’t save a little to pick up tickets next week. I’m totally stoked about the festival and plan for sticking around for the after parties at World of Beer and Lucky Strike Social.

Have I mentioned how thankful I am that we have Uber and Lyft in the Capital Region these days? It’s true. I am.

And of course, I’m thankful for all of you who keep on reading this crazy thing. I do hope to see you at the festival. And even if you don’t want to play the Yelp check-in game, you should still come up and say hi.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and hopefully you can carve out a few minutes of your day tomorrow to pop back here for our little FLB holiday tradition. Cheers!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Createdesign permalink
    November 23, 2018 3:49 am

    I’m thankful for beer everyday 🍻 I live in Australia 🇦🇺 it’s kinda our thing. This festival sounds really interesting, hope you enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving 🍗🦃🍻

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