Since we are now at the halfway point of 2017, I thought it would be timely to reflect on the first six months of the craft beer scene in the South Jersey/Philly area. As far as my favorite beers are concerned, I would have to say that Bolero Snort’s Crooked Labulls is one that I consider to be at the top of my NJ brewed list and Firestone Walker’s Leo vs Ursus being my top non-NJ brewed beer. Although I never submitted a review on Crazy Kegs of Leo vs Ursus, I feel it is one of the smoothest DIPAs available.
As it relates to beer festivals thus far in 2017, the Philly Craft Beer Fest was held on one of the coldest days ever in its history, which has led me to believe that it needs a new venue or pushed back to a different date. Honestly, it should be part of Philly Beer Week and replace Beer Under the Big Top, which many have told me was a disaster. The Atlantic City Beer Fest has been anointed the number two beer festival in the country and deservedly so based on the amount/quality of brewers in attendance. The biggest surprise of 2017 was the success of the All-Star Craft Beer & Wine Fest held at Citizens Bank Park. If some of the kinks can be worked out in 2018, that festival would be considered one of the best in the area.
Some of the things that I am looking forward to for the remainder of the year will be the opening of Death of a Fox Brewing (Clarksboro, NJ). This facility will be home to both a brewery and a coffeehouse, which should make for an interesting reception. If anyone hasn’t heard by now, the Valley Forge Beer & Cider Fest has been rescheduled from December 2 to November 4. Although this show has been held at one of the nicest spaces in the Delaware Valley (Greater Philadelphia Expo Center), it will be intriguing to see the lineup of brewers since a few of the popular brands have passed on attending in recent years. As far as beers are concerned, pumpkin beers will begin to be released before month’s end and will serve as a reminder that the summer will soon be over, which means football season is right around the corner.