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10th Annual Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival

(The following is a special series on Bluejeanfoodcritic.com written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

beer cup

 

For the second straight year, I had the good fortune of being able to attend the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival.  The 2015 event had three sessions spread out over two days, Friday, March 20th and Saturday the 21st.  Held once again at the massive Atlantic City Convention Center, the 10th annual such gathering lived up to the hype that has lead several beer experts and publications to list this as one of the top 10 beer festivals in the nation.

event sign

All three of the sessions were sold out, with main event promoter Jon Henderson and his team informing us that this year’s event attracted even more than last’s.  I personally was even more impressed by this year’s spread of vendors, as I thought last year’s could not be topped…

Over 100 total breweries were in attendance, some well known like Anchor Brewery, the Cape May Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, Harpoon Brewery, Magic Hat, Troegs Craft Brewery, Yards Brewing Co., Shiner Beers, Downingtown, PA’s Victory Brewing Company, and the Somerdale, NJ based Flying Fish Brewing Co. (whom I previously visited and told you about in my travels “around town”). National and world renowned favorites Samuel Adams and Guinness were present once again.  And some lesser known brewers who once again plied their craft were the 3 Beards Beer Co., 21st Amendment Brewery, Big Muddy Brewing, Horny Goat Brewing Co., Finch’s Beer Co., New Jersey Beer Co., and the Prism Brewing Company.  Some local, some national, all enthusiastic to be there and all serving a great product…

ac restaurant

There were again numerous options for food: Phillips’ Seafood House provided crab cake sandwiches; Philadelphia favorite Chickie’s and Pete’s were on hand with their “famous crab fries”.  Local AC favorite Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House was one of the most popular stops, with their homemade chili an obvious hit.  Tony Baloney’s Pizza and Subs was on hand again, with their famous “mustache mobile” driven onto the premises…

food truck

Once again, live music proved a big part of the affairs; such headliners as Taking Back Sunday, Lucero and Everclear participated in the various sessions.  Additionally, the event organizers again did a great job in their attempts to place firm emphasis on fun no matter where you were throughout the day.  A regulation size football goalpost was mounted in one wing of the hall, allowing amateur participants as well as NFL hopefuls to take a shot at a field goal.  A mini go-kart race track was set up for those who aspire to a life in racing, and a section was even cornered off with yoga mats.  The most popular recreations were a beer pong tournament, and the mechanical bull…which many seem that they feel they can conquer, with some very mixed results!

beer table
Most encouraging about this year’s event was how it seemed to rejuvenate the city itself after what has been a very difficult year economically.  Spending the whole weekend in town, I had not seen the city have such a buzz and excitement about it in a very long time, and many of the local workers and residents seem to attribute it to this festival.  Here is to hoping AC can rebound from its recent woes by staging more events such as this that drives traffic into the city.  All will benefit from such fun and interactive happenings…

Needless to say, I am already looking forward to attending next year’s event, and I again urge any beer lover who has not made their way to AC in the past to join me, as it is quite a sight to see.  I will see you at the next beer fest, and elsewhere “around town”…

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