Saturday, July 8, 2023

Green City Fest 2023, Pt. 1

As a relative Luddite when it comes to social media sites, I tend to miss out on a lot of releases and festivals. Take, for instance, Other Half's Green City Festival, which I found out about about two weeks after it took place in 2022. After looking at the guest brewery list and then kicking myself for about 20 minutes, I vowed that I would not miss it in 2023.

And I didn't. Scaled down from 2022's larger venue that boasted over 80 breweries, this year's was held at Other Half's Centre St. location and hosted 38 breweries. I was initially disappointed in that I wouldn't get the variety from the previous year and also apprehensive that the Other Half venue would be too small to host a festival. But I bought tickets anyway, to both the Friday 6-10 and the Saturday 12-4 events, since it was promised that each brewery would be pouring a different beer each day. And can I just give out kudos to Other Half from a lifelong night owl for starting a festival at 6? I'm rarely ready for a beer before 9 pm, but 6 is doable for me.

The flight into LaGuardia was surprisingly on time, and the NYC skyline never disappoints. The wait for baggage at LaGuardia always does. They should look into hiring a second person to unload baggage in the future. Once the wait for luggage was over, the wait on I-278 began, though that was to be expected with a 5:30 pm arrival time. I just can't fathom how people spend day after day in this traffic to and from work. Can the payoff be that great, especially with what you're paying for NYC rent?

If you've got enough money leftover after rent, the answer may be yes, especially if you throw craft beer into the mix. Countless options for food and drink abound, though we decided to go light the night before the big we started out at Other Half's Domino Park location, a prime waterfront in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Then rode bikes over the bridge to drink some IPAs at The Grand Delancey bar in Essex Market. They only had about, gosh, 8 or so that were worth trying, so had to do all of them. Then walked to Proletariat's new-ish location, where more IPAs called our names even though we tried to tell them we had planned on going light. They didn't listen, just kept calling. We eventually ended the night the proper way, at Joe's Pizza's Union Square location.

Fest day. After hitting a Brooklyn BBQ spot to fill up, we did some pre-gaming with lagers from Schilling and The Seed at Queue Beer. Located right around the corner from Other Half, Queue is from the same people who run Manhattan's fine Carmine Street Beers. Seemed like half the brewery reps had the same idea, as Queue was busier than I've ever seen it. Finally, it was time to head to the fest. Lined up about 15 minutes prior to doors and there were a good 40 or so people ahead. Other Half did the smart thing and had people scanning tickets and giving wristbands to those in line for faster entry, and it worked well. once in, there were three areas pouring beer: an outdoor tented alleyway, Other Half's original taproom (pictured), and their current taproom. In addition, the sidewalk connection the three areas was roped off so you could get away from the crowds and drink out there with more elbow room. First beer? Went big with Root and Branch Chainsaw TIPA. Big beers were predominant at the fest, and I'm not complaining. I was disappointed, however, to see that each brewery only had one offering. I thought they were going to each have one unique offering per day, as well as others that they'd pour both days. Lines in the alley space were only two or three deep for most pours, except for the Monkish line, where there were usually about 20 people waiting, but the line moved quickly.

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