There's plenty of fun fermenting at the fourth annual Celebration of the Suds
"Can I pour you a beer, Mr. Peterson?"
"It's a little early isn't it, Woody?"
"For a beer?" "No, for stupid questions."
An understandable yet somewhat unfortunate facet of a depressed economy is that people tend to imbibe a bit more than usual, but the fourth annual Celebration of the Suds won't even need that added incentive. What's become better known as "Beerfest" has more than doubled in size and scope from its inception to the end of its third year, and promises to keep that trend intact when the show returns to the Atlantic City Convention Center (ACCC) this weekend (March 20-22). Moreover, with a chance to sample some of the best craft and microbrew beers and ales from around the world, and enjoy a plethora of perpetual entertainment, it's economically viable at $45 a head.
The festival kicks off with a newly added beer-judging event at Harrah's on Friday at 7pm, and the actual show starts Saturday at noon at the ACCC. There are two sessions Saturday (noon-4:30pm and 6-10:30pm), and one on Sunday (1-5:30pm). Another new addition is a VIP skybox, which is an elevated section of the main floor featuring a catered buffet and certain beer samples not presented elsewhere at the show.
Entertainment includes the five-man Celtic rock band Birnam Wood and Dr. Zanzibar's Olde City Sideshow, which is fashioned around classic vaudeville and burlesque theater, and includes such zaniness as sword swallowing and other death-defying acts.
"You know me, I like my circus sideshows," says Beerfest creator Jon Henderson, who also brings Atlantic City the Drawin' the Wildcard Tattoo Expo held each June.
Beerfest will again include educational seminars like "Cooking with Beer," hosted by chefs J.D. Austin and Sheila Stepkin, and Hooters Atlantic City will host a wing-eating contest during each session. Among the show's exhibits will be Portopong, an inflatable, portable tabletop seeking to revolutionize the way beer-loving partygoers play "beer pong."
Local beer aficionado Gary Monterosso, the New Jersey editor for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, will host Friday's judging event, and on Saturday will be videotaping episodes of his show Still Crazy After All These Beers, currently available through video podcast (allthesebeers.com) and recently signed to a three-year television contact.
"Craft beer sales continue to outpace mainstream beer sales, and last year the percentage difference was in double digits," says Monterosso. "The hot segment this year, and a lot of what you'll see at the A.C. beer show, is barrel-aged beers. Basically the brewers are buying the used casks from whiskey makers, which helps give the beer a unique character or flavor while giving new life to old casks. Barrel-aged beer has become so popular it has become recognized as an official style of beer at the Great American Beerfest [held in Denver each fall], which is the largest beerfest in the world."
Monterosso says that essentially there are two major classifications of beer: ales and lagers. Yeast is the keynote difference between lagers and ales during fermentation.
"Lager, which comes from the German word 'lagern' meaning 'to store,' takes longer to produce and release than an ale," says Monterosso. "Consequently that's why most craft breweries produce ales [and most mainstream brewers like Budweiser, Coors and Miller produce mainly lagers]. Some brewers today are producing ales and barleywines that are coming close to 30 percent alcohol [where four to nine percent would be typical], are not carbonated and are served in a brandy snifter at room temperature. It doesn't look, act or even taste like a beer. You'd swear you're drinking a sherry or port, but it is in fact a beer.
"Shows like the Atlantic City beerfest are a good mechanism for people who are unfamiliar with certain flavors of beer, or who just want to visit or revisit old favorites," adds Monterosso.
More than 75 brewers and 250 flavors of beer will be available at the festival. Show producers, participants and sponsors urge show goers to exercise caution and act responsibly, and to use public transportation or designate a sober driver. Designated drivers can enter the show for $5.
Over 90 breweries, many bringing varied samplings of their libations, have made A.C.’s “Celebration of the Suds” one of the largest beer festivals in the country.
Horner created a 40-bottle craft beer menu while GM at Mia, schooling the staff on the different beers and how they might be paired with meals. Since taking on a broader role at the property, he extended that to include the entire service staff as advocates or “beer ambassadors” for all the craft brews, bottled and draft, on the entire property.
The festivities include beer tastings and pairings, live music, beer-related specials at multiple venues throughout the property, and educational elements hosted by beer experts Gary Monterosso and Tara Nurin.
Golden Nugget partners with Paulaner, an ancient European brewery and originator of Germany’s Oktoberfest, for this year’s Craft Beer Festival.
“This is an aggressive beer,” he says. “You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an American strong ale of this quality and depth.”
In celebration of this weekend's Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival — which is promoting craft beers and the brewers who create them, we’re going to hop back in our hot tub time machine and explore the start of micro brewing. From the 1920s Prohibition era to 1970s England, there’s a sudsy story that’s led up to this weekend’s Beer Festival.
The seventh annual Celebration of the Suds will have an expanded lineup of Garden State-based craft brewers and bands .
'I didn’t want to do the Ramones clones thing. The guys I play with sound like themselves. We have Michael Graves from the Misfits, who doesn’t sing like Joey. He sings like himself. We do 34 Ramones songs.'
One of southern New Jersey’s ... heck, one of the East Coast’s foremost authorities on all things beer, Gary Monterosso, was joined by a packed house of local and national brewing and culinary personalities Tuesday night, Nov. 29, at House of Blues’ Foundation Room.
"We’ll have over 40 breweries from around the United States — from Maine to Florida to Texas, California, Washington, and of course the great states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania will be represented."
“It’s steers and beers in the city this weekend,” laughs Henderson. “You know you hear so many negative things about the city, but really, look at what we have here and these attractions. This is an amazing April Fool’s weekend that’s scheduled and we’re really happy to be part of it.”
Let’s take this in simple steps. First step, pizza and beer go together. Got it. Second step, the Atlantic City Convention Center is the site of the sixth annual Atlantic City Beer Festival, better known as “The Celebration of the Suds.” More than 75 different breweries will showcase their products. But also among the exhibitors will be several food vendors including Tony Boloney’s, one of the city’s premiere pizza restaurants. So beer vendors and pizza vendors also go together. Well, at festivals anyway. Got it. So what then is the next step? Well obviously, it’s Tony Boloney’s pizza infused with beer. And we’re not talking about the infusion that happens in your mouth when you bite a slice and swig your beer. We’re talking totally infused. “Basically, we’re cooking the beer...
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