How to Survive a Beer Fest: My Day at the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival

The North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ and Wine Festival, which was held at Peconic Bay Winery on Sunday, August 9, was my first beer festival. Matt and Mike, regular food/drink festivalgoers, had convinced me to attend, promising me pretzel necklaces and good times. I like a good beer as much as the next Long Island guy, but Mike has souvenirs from all the local breweries and can talk about beer as a craft like an industry professional. So I agreed to go along, not realizing the education I was about to get.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to attend festivals, and Matt and Mike gave me a master class in how to do it correctly. Rather than just get on the shortest line, they prioritized, starting with local breweries, like Long Ireland, Blue Point and Port Jeff, as well as newcomers such as Crooked Ladder and Moustache. Unlike some guests, who were clearly at the festival to drink like it was a college frat house, we methodically tasted beers that appealed to us. We chased the beer with pretzels, which hung around our necks. Mike advised me not to eat all the pretzels at once; I’d need them later. After sampling some great beers—my favorite was a pumpkin ale from Blue Point Brewing Company—we had some delicious pulled pork sandwiches from Maple Tree BBQ and moved on to larger booths, where I was able to try some new cider from Angry Orchard (I can’t wait for Pour the Core in October!).

A third friend, Alex, was our designated driver and was perfectly content checking out the specialty food vendors. The festival was a smashing success, and it prepared me well for future events.

What tips do you have for going to large-scale food and drink events? Let us know in the comments section.

Long Ireland Beer Company  at the North Fork Craft Beer Festival.

Long Ireland Beer Company at the North Fork Craft Beer Festival. Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Eliane Lombardo of East End Soap, established in 1999. Some of the soaps include beer in the ingredients.

Eliane Lombardo of East End Soap, established in 1999. Some of the soaps include beer in the ingredients.
Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Sean Dougherty and Veronica Bickmeyer came prepared with pretzel necklaces.

Sean Dougherty and Veronica Bickmeyer came prepared with pretzel necklaces.
Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Brewer and CMO Vaughan Cutillo and brewmaster Eric Moss of Montauk Brewing Company.

Brewer and CMO Vaughan Cutillo and brewmaster Eric Moss of Montauk Brewing Company.
Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Ed Docyk and Matt Spitz of Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead serve to Mike DeNicola.

Ed Docyk and Matt Spitz of Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead serve to Mike DeNicola.
Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Matt Connolly, Tim Kelly, Jen Kelly, Mike Albano and Cecelia Mattera of The Lark Pub & Grub.

Matt Connolly, Tim Kelly, Jen Kelly, Mike Albano and Cecelia Mattera of The Lark Pub & Grub.
Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Mark Van Bourgondien, Jaclyn Van Bourgondien and Kim Van Bourgondien of Farm to Pint in Peconic.

Mark Van Bourgondien, Jaclyn Van Bourgondien and Kim Van Bourgondien of Farm to Pint in Peconic.
Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

View more photos of the 2014 North Fork Craft Beer Festival.

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