Ready or not, the barrage of winter holiday hype is beginning to wash over us, including many a reference to “holiday spirits” of the alcoholic sort. Soon it’ll be hard to find a social event to attend whose selection of libations doesn’t revolve around wassail or eggnog, until the champagne corks get popped on New Year’s Eve. Those of us who don’t think of beer as merely a refreshing summer drink are going to have to look around hard for opportunities to quaff our favored brews ere we get dragged down into the punchbowl vortex.
Luckily, there’s one more weekend left before Thanksgiving, and the 2014 Hudson Valley Craft Brew Festival will be beaming its yeasty beacon out of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center this Saturday afternoon. At last count, 43 microbreweries are lined up to lure us in, with 100 or so different choices of beers and ales to sample. That might be just enough to tide us over till the obligatory gooey eggnog all gets drunk up.
New to the Craft Brew Festival this year will be a section called Cask Alley. Not merely meaning beer on tap, as opposed to bottled, cask beer is a different animal altogether, populated with live yeast and tapped by gravity rather than under pressure through a pump. Here’s how the Festival organizers describe cask beer: “unfiltered beer (usually ale) that is racked (transferred) into casks, krausened (carbonated), sealed and then undergoes a slight final fermentation in the cask. The net result is a beer that has a much gentler level of carbonation, a rounder mouthfeel, and since it is unfiltered, usually shows a slightly more complex flavor and aromatic profile.”
If that description sounds enticing, you’re probably a true brew believer. That Bud’s not for you, but this Saturday’s festival likely is. The event runs from 2 to 6 p.m., at a general admission price of $39, but you can get in at 1 p.m. if you’re prepared to spring for the $75 VIP pass, which also includes a food voucher and access to some special limited-edition beers. Designated drivers pay only $10.
Hudson Valley Craft Brew Festival, Saturday, November 22, 2-6 p.m., $75/$39/$10, Mid-Hudson Civic Center, 14 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie; (845) 454-5800, https://hvbrewfest.blogspot.com.