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Friday, June 24, 2016

Wildwood Beerfest - June 11, 2016

I attend 4-5 beerfests a year, but the Wildwood Beerfest held in Fox Park in Wildwood, NJ has quickly become my favorite.  For starters, it's in my favorite place. I have been going to Wildwood for family vacations since I was 3 years old. I try and go down the shore as often as possible to sit on their beautiful beach, enjoy the great restaurants or stroll on the boardwalk.  When I found out last year that they were going to have a beerfest, I was very excited.
The other reason that I enjoy this beerfest so much is that it is very laid-back. There is good turn out of people (at least at the Saturday afternoon session 12-4pm that I attended), but because of the amount of space, it never feels crowded. All but the food and music is located under a great tented area, so there is plenty of shade for the beer sampling areas.  There is never a long wait to get a pour and because of that the brewers are able to spend more time chatting with you about their beer.  Plus with 4 hour sessions there is plenty of time to try everything, eat some food and go back for more of your favorites. Because it's in South Jersey, there are breweries from South Jersey and Pennsylvania that I don't normally get to see back home in the northern part of the state.
In addition to the great beers there were some great food options available. Philly Pretzel Factory makes a great pretzel and at $3, its a great deal. Kath's Catering Food Truck, Mmm...Bacon makes a great bacon wrapped brat that really hit the spot too.
Music from Stellar Mojo made the day even more fun as they rocked out to some great songs from the 80's and 90's.
The beerfest also has some local vendors selling their wares. This year we grabbed two great jars of honey from Busy Bees NJ in Cape May Court House, NJ. They make a great honey with habanero and ghost peepers that goes great on wings.  My all time favorite hot sauce, Hank Sauce was there with a new Honey Habanero that is really good and really hot. I also picked up a new growler with the awesome Wildwood BeerFest Logo from Adventure Growlers, who had a great variety of beer paraphernalia.

My only complaint was that there were a few breweries not present that I was hoping to see. Also some of the volunteers pouring beer, could have been trained a little better on how to use a tap. It is always better when the people who work for the company are there to talk about their product. But again, that is just me nitpicking.
My hat goes off to everyone who puts this event together. It is well organized, a great value for your money and a ton of fun. Now onto the beers...

I tried a lot of new beers and some old favorites on this day and I posted a bunch of them on Untapped: Brew162 already but these 6 really stood out to me and were my favorites of the day.

6. Lunacy Brewing Company Beautiful Baby's Belgian Blonde - Lunacy won the People's Choice Award at the Wildwood Beerfest this year. This blonde had a lot of good flavors with some good sweetness. As a side note there C-3PA IPA is excellent too!!

5. Cape May Brewing Company Summer Catch - a new summer seasonal offering with a citrusy flavor. Easy to drink and perfect for a day at the beach. They also were pouring The Bog, their cranberry shandy which is always a delight.

4. Double Nickel Seawheat - This pale ale is delicious.  It's sweet and bitter at the end (yes, at the same time)

3. St. Benjamin Brewing Company Inca - I having been wanting to try something from this brewery, mostly because I love Ben Franklin, but this beer was top notch. An Indian Cream Ale, it was light in color with some sweetness up front and some good hoppiness in the back.

2. New Jersey Beer Company Beach Watch Ale - This beer is exactly what you look for in a summer beer. Crisp golden ale with some citrus flavor. I can't wait to pick up a growler of this. Mike from NJ Beer Co. was great to talk to and really made the tasting experience better.

1. Pinelands Brewing Company Blueberry Blonde Ale - I would never have thought that my favorite beer from a beerfest would be a blueberry ale, but this beer really impressed me. Great blueberry flavor and not overly sweet. Very refreshing and satisfying fruit beer with a good body and at 7% ABV it is not a light beer. Often times fruit beers can be a little too much, but not the Pinelands Blueberry, it really is awesome.

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