What’s on tap to start off the weekend? Dogfish Heads, Flying Fish, Founders, Heavy Reels, Guinness, Harpoon, you name it.
There will be 600 beers at the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival on Friday and Saturday from 150 different breweries.
The festival will be on March 29 and March 30 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. About 30,000 people are expected to attend this year, according to festival organizer Jon Henderson. The event will bring in $7 million for the economy in Atlantic City, said Henderson, and it has grown throughout the years.
“The festival is an opportunity for discovery. There will be new music and good breweries and for meeting people you haven’t met as well as old friends,” Henderson said.
This week has been all about beer in Atlantic City since Beer Week started on Monday, but this weekend, it will be all about tasting different craft beers and learning about their ingredients and how they’re made.
What makes craft beer so popular?
“Craft beer is evolving. We like to taste and savor things whether it’s a juicy IPA or hops. So we’re trying to create that new sensation for your palate,” Henderson explained.
Ten local restaurants are participating, and they will be showing off their new dishes and well-known favorites. The Beer & Music Festival gives these restaurants, some of which are newer to the city, a chance to boost business.
Diana Grossman, a managing partner at Bourré, said she and her other managing partner Charlie Interante hope events like the beer festival will to bring diversity to the restaurant.
Located in the Orange Loop, Bourré serves New Orleans Cajun and barbeque cuisine and drinks and has free live entertainment and drag show brunches.
“We want people to eat well and spend little,” said Grossman. “We want them to come back more than once a week.”
On Friday for the beer festival, Bourré will have a tap takeover so nine of the taps will have Founders beers such as Backwards Bastard, Centennial IPA and Azacca IPA.
Like at Bourré, it’s been a busy week at Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House on Trenton Avenue. The restaurant is an official sponsor of the beer festival. Vagabond will be participating in the beer festival for its sixth year and will have some of their bestselling, award-winning burgers on the menu for the event.
“It goes along with what we do, which is good food and craft beer,” said Elvis Cadavid, an owner of Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House.
Vagabond will have its Spartan burger on the menu at the festival, which it won first place in the Atlantic City Burger Bash contest in 2017. The burger comes with American cheese, caramelized onions, spicy ranch aioli and pork roll on a brioche bun.
Another burger on Friday’s and Saturday’s menu will be the crabby mac burger. The burger comes with lump crab meat and crabby macaroni and cheese.
Since its inception almost 15 years ago, the festival now features beer from 156 breweries a jump from the 25 it had when the festival started. Patron attendance has jumped from 9,000 in the first three years of the festival to 27,000 with 3,000 vendors for 2019.
The festival offers live music events, beer mixology demonstrations and a spelling bee with words about beer, among other activities. Other states have even used the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival model to create their own beer festivals, Henderson said.
The beer and music festival is scheduled for Friday from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m.
Ticket prices and information can be found online at www.acbeerfest.com.
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