The 2018 edition of the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival (ACBF) will be remembered as one of the most aggressive and successful beer festivals in its history. The amount of New Jersey brewers in attendance at ACBF made that area of the festival a requirement for all craft beer lovers. As the number of breweries increase within the State of New Jersey, so will the space required to host this event.
Although I made several laps around the floor, there were several breweries that stood out this year. The first of which was Tonewood Brewing (Oaklyn, NJ) with their DDH Fuego. I know that it is available at their brewery; however, this was the only time I got a chance to sample it. Next was Icarus Brewing (Lakewood, NJ) who had Kalashnikov Russian Imperial Stout. Since stouts are something I will try occasionally, this beer from Icarus was absolutely enjoyable. Spellbound Brewing (Mt. Holly, NJ) had a firkin of Living the Dream, a bourbon barrel imperial stout aged on Coffee, Vanilla, and Maple. I tried this selection on the advice of a vendor and was pleasantly surprised.
As a VIP ticket holder of the Saturday afternoon session, I was granted early access to the festival (which is a necessity given the number of brewers). Unfortunately, there was a certain degree of disappointment among the VIPs, as we were not allowed on the floor until 11:25am (was advertised as 11:15am), then directed towards the VIP lounge instead of sampling from brewers. This may have been a result of the Hops Trot run that was concluding before the afternoon session began; however, it should have started in the early morning, so it would not interfere.
The ACBF will be considered as a “can’t miss” event each year. Every brewer brings their best beers in hopes that attendees will make the trip to their respective tasting rooms. I can only imagine what 2019 will have in store for us!