Just got home from the Northeast Brewers and Distillers Association Harvest Festival and I pretty much have only good things to say. As someone who attends a lot, and I mean A LOT, of beer/booze fests, this was one of the best executed. Heading in, we were a bit concerned about space as Northgate is in a pretty small corner of an industrial space – but they managed to take up most of a parking lot (while getting permission for parking in neighboring lots) and have plenty of space for food, beer, cocktails, local shops, and even a couple of calm chill out spots. I give major kudos to any event planner who makes sure there are shady tables and chairs, and splits the port-a-potties into two locations. Someone here deserves a raise, it was a lovely day.
My highlight of the day was the Tattersall Gin & Tonic. I am pretty open about my love for Tattersall and the unique distilling program and cocktail room. These are cocktail people making spirits for cocktails. We’ve often pondered the idea of someone making a tonic syrup to match a specific gin so I was thrilled when that’s exactly what they had today – a tonic syrup made by the same person who makes the gin. I was distractedly babbling about how much I love Tattersall and high-fiving their bartender before we made introductions. He introduced himself as Dan and I asked “Wait, THE Dan of Tattersall??” Sure enough, I was babbling to Dan Oskey, local cocktail legend. We had gin and tonics, served to us by the guy who made the gin, and the tonic. This is why I do what I do.
The NEBDA is also boasts memberships of many of the best breweries in town so the beer trucks were serving selections from Sociable Ciderwerks, Dangerous Man, 56 Brewing, 612, Northgate, Bauhaus, Fair State, and Insight. Our beer highlights of the afternoon included a smoked beer from Insight that was pleasantly balanced from first sip to last, a major feat for a smoked beer. My favorite was the Dark Chocolate Coconut Stout from 56 Brewing which wasn’t overly chocolatey or coconutty but was an enjoyable light stout with a bit of extra creaminess from the coconut.
We were there a bit too early for the music headliners, but The Honeydogs and Rogue Valley will be playing – a pretty major score for a first time festival. The space was also lined by Northeast shops featuring some adorable vintage homewares, arts, and crafts. A variety of food trucks are ensuring that no one goes hungry. Because we went early, the event wasn’t super crowded but I would say attendance had doubled while were were there – and with Surly Fest ending around 6pm, I expect it will get packed for the bands this evening.
If you’re looking for a way to spend this beautiful evening, I highly suggest heading over to Northgate. Good food, great booze, amazing music, and all in support of local charities.