TAP Craft Beer & Fine Food festival at Hunter

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Remember when good beer was anything slightly brown or red in color, and exotic referred to anything made beyond the big brands, or in Germany? How ancient such days seem now – especially with the 15th annual TAP New York Craft Beer and Fine Food Festival coming to Hunter Mountain this April 27 and 28. Some 85 breweries from around the state will not only attract large crowds of brew aficionados, but also compete for best-of prizes, included the top Matthew Vassar Award, with more than 200 individual beers and ales.

Begun at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, TAP has grown exponentially since moving to Hunter, where it now takes up the entire base of the ski mountain (which lost its founder, Orville Slutzky, at age 96 this past week). Featuring everything from Bohemian-style lagers through British and Czech-type pilsners to Belgian ales and Irish stouts, plus plenty of German weisbiers, doppel- and trippelbocks and newer-variety lambics to make things really interesting, the festival is also more than beer. A host of local restaurants, and the brewers themselves, will be offering a wide selection of food morsels to bolster those trying quaffs and to maintain crowd balance, as well as the heightened sort of taste that accompanies the brew world these days.

Finally, in addition to its on-site tastiness, consider that this also means a great deal to local breweries in our region, which have had a tradition of bringing home kudos from the event.

TAP New York Craft Beer & Fine Food Festival, Saturday, April 27, 1-5 p.m., Sunday, April 28, 12 noon-4 p.m., $105 both days, $70 Saturday, $60 Sunday, $20 designated driver, Hunter Mountain Resort, 64 Kein Avenue, Hunter; (518) 263-4223, www.tap-ny.com/about.html.

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