New York State Craft Beer Experience in Rhinebeck

(Photo by Jen May)

Terrapin Restaurant in Rhinebeck used to host an annual BeerFest, with unlimited admission; and although it proved popular, chef/owner Josh Kroner wasn’t satisfied with how the event played out. “At BeerFest, brewers poured their own beer at their own tasting tables, and poured what they chose to bring. There was no real direction or guidance for tasters,” notes the webpage for what is now known as the New York State Craft Beer Experience. Moreover, under the old system, the milling crowds made it difficult for patrons to get to the tables and sample the brews that they most wanted to try.

As of three years ago, all that has changed. The beers are arranged by style rather than by brewery. So if you come to the Craft Beer Experience on Saturday, September 13, you’ll be tasting flights of four two-ounce samples of wheat beers or four stouts next to each other, accompanied by tapas-sized portions of food prepared by Chef Kroner specifically to complement that beer style.

Moreover, attendance is limited to the first 100 ticket-buyers, and each is assigned a staggered arrival time. Tasters move along a defined path from lighter to darker beer styles, with the goal that no more than eight people will be tasting at any one of the ten stations at any one time. Each tasting station will have a knowledgeable craft beer professional available to answer any questions and talk beer with you.

Breweries that have been invited to participate this year include Brooklyn Brewery, Brewery Ommegang, Sixpoint Brewery, Southern Tier Brewing, Shmaltz Coney Island, Lake Placid Brewery, Southampton Publick House, Saranac, Fire Island Brewery, Captain Lawrence Brewing, He’Brew, Blue Point Brewing Company, Keegan Ales, Ithaca Beer Co., KelSo, Middle Ages Brewing, Rushing Duck, Great South Bay Brewery, Butternuts Beer & Ale and Bronx Brewery. Who knew that we had that many craft breweries in New York State alone?

For the price of $65 per person, arrivals at Terrapin’s Dining Room can be booked at ten-minute intervals between 12 noon and 3 p.m., and the full tasting journey is estimated to take an hour-and-a-half. During that time you’ll consume up to 80 ounces of beer, ale, porter and stout, and at the end you’ll receive a ticket for a free pint of tap beer in the Terrapin Red Bistro after the tasting. That’s a lot of beer, so you’re encouraged to bring along a designated driver at the price of $26 per person. Or the Terrapin folks can call you a cab if you’re in no shape to drive.

Arrivals are being booked on a first-come, first-served basis, so visit the Terrapin website at pronto to secure your preferred time – or you can phone up at (845) 876-3330, where special arrangements can also be made for parties of more than six people.

New York State Craft Beer Experience, Saturday, September 13, 12 noon-6 p.m., $65/$26, Terrapin Restaurant, 6426 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck; (845) 876-3330, Read more about local cuisine and learn about new restaurants on Ulster Publishing’s or

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