Anybody who’s ever stepped foot inside a sports stadium knows this clarion call: “Beer here!”
When it comes to suds, I was the teetotaler of my frat house (AEPi Syracuse, for those into Greek culture). Notwithstanding, my given name being a homophone for the modestly alcoholic beverage (you know, Bruce…brews), in my early adulthood, beer and I were not exactly “bromantically” involved.
OK, not that I didn’t notice those Miss Rheingold posters in the subway, but I don’t recall ever casting a ballot for any of the young ladies. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, don’t blame me because you were born too late to appreciate the finer things in life, or in Miller High Life.
So, when the likes of me says that beer ain’t what it used to be, a complaint it is not. I never could stomach the beery beer of my youth very well. Just one can in and I’d need a stomach pump. A dozen little ounces made me feel as bloated as a balloon in the Macy’s parade, which didn’t put me in the mood for giving thanks.
Enter craft beer, the wine of beers. Thank goodness. Where have you been my whole life? I know where craft beer will be in September, in force: in Yorktown. Beer lovers will be able to help themselves to the hops at several events where the heady beverage will prominently be poured.
For the first time in the 93-year history of the Yorktown Grange Fair, beer will be on tap, in a carefully controlled setting, during the Sept. 8-10 celebration of farm culture. Roscoe Beer Co., which was awarded “Craft Beer of the Year” by Taste N.Y., will sell pint containers that can be consumed only within designated areas of the fairgrounds. Those who purchase beer will be required to show ID on request, proving they are at least 21 years old. For more information, visit YorktownGrangeFair.org, where you can buy fair tickets online.
Elsewhere in town on Grange Weekend, Yorktown Rotary will host its seventh annual Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Fireman’s Field on Veterans Road, behind Yorktown Engine Co. No. 1. Rotary’s cleverly branded The Best and the Wurst fundraiser, from noon to 6 p.m., features a long list of local breweries, pubs and retailers, as well as bratwurst, live music and activities for the young ones.
The Best and the Wurst is the brainchild of Somers resident David Bowers. He and wife, Helen, are tireless Rotary cheerleaders and fundraisers. Dave is a home brewer who first tried his hand at it nearly a quarter-century ago. He was frustrated by the space demands of working his craft in the kitchen and abandoned it until 2010 when he started brewing in earnest.
A 10-by-12-foot space, originally earmarked as a photography darkroom, was pressed into service by Mr. Bowers as his mini-brewery, replete with sink and other essential fixtures. The would-be darkroom still is dark, a requisite for brewers to prevent beer from changing in taste as it ferments.
Dave “The Brewer” Bowers says it takes four to six weeks to bottle his beer, and another four weeks for the bottled beer to become carbonated. Five gallons worth of the tasty beverage yields 48 bottles, he says, or two cases. He turns out brown ales, stouts and IPAs.
If you want to try your hand at “basement beer,” as it were (shades of bathtub gin during Prohibition!), Dave recommends searching “homebrewers” online. (Sure enough, when I entered that keyword in Google, I got one million-plus results.) The homebody brewmaster also endorses Brew It! In Somers and The Green Growler in Ossining.
For more information on The Best and the Wurst Craft Beer Festival, which has a reduced ticket price for children and non-imbibing designated drivers, visit yorktownrotary.org.
Hard on the heels of Grange Weekend and The Best and The Wurst is the Yorktown Feast of San Gennaro, Sept. 13-17, where the addition of a Beer Garden in Railroad Park at last year’s event was an instant crowd-pleaser. The Beer Garden will be back bigger and better than before.
For more information, visit facebook.com/yorktownfeastofsangennaro.