The weather wasn’t exactly abominable, quite mild really, but the beers were far from that. Being winter, the 25 local breweries represented for the most part loaded up on the strong and imperial side for Defiant Brewing Co.’s 4th annual Abominable Snowfest in Pearl River, NY Jan. 27.
Brewer Alex from Kuka always brings along a tasty cask and this year it was Nothingness, an 8.5% imperial stout conditioned with chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and habanero. Fifth Hammer one of NYC’s newest breweries (Queens) brought their 8.5% Secret Secret Saison along with some cute 4-oz can samples of Iron Lotus Imperial Porter (10.5%).
Captain Lawrence poured a pre-release double-dry hopped edition of their Galactic Fog, as well as a whopping 12% barrel aged Noreaster Winter Warmer. Newburgh celebrated their fifth anniversary with 12% Imperial Cream Ale while NJ’s Ramstein injected their German spin with Winter Wheat Doppelbock (9.5%).
Several of the breweries tapped a special beer for the VIP Hour, although many of them lasted into the afternoon. Queen of Shadows, imperial coffee stout for example from KCBC (Brooklyn); Ded Moroz Imperial Stout from Rushing Duck, Chester, NY) and Heady Jams, an 8.5% DIP from NJ’s Brix City.
Transmitter (Brooklyn) poured BDG3, a wonderful Blood Orange Biere de Garde, while Plan Bee Farm Brewery impressed with a pair of house-yeast brewed farmhouse ales – Beerbrush and Empyreal brewed with peaches.
The Defiant home team had several of brewer Chris Sheehan’s barrel-aged bottled creations as well as casks of Noggin Toboggan a double Wit with Huell Melon hops; Christmas Ale and their dangerous Magnus Pango barleywine.
As always, Defiant’s constantly flowing trademark smoked BBQ kept the 400 attendees well fed. Music was provided by Plan Bee’s Evan Watson and a pair of NYC bands –Schwizz with a guest vocalist who tore up Joe Cocker’s rendition of A Little Help From My Friends, and Rockaway Bitches rockin’ with Ramones covers.
The festival guide listed distance from Pearl River for all the breweries with Sloop being the furthest 95 miles, way up the Hudson in Livingston, NY and the District 96 Beer Project just 5.5 miles over at the Burger Loft in New City – now that’s local!
– Tony Forder