Boat to Beer: Saturday’s Staten Island Craft Beer Fest is a Free Ferry Ride Away

After all the cruddy rain we’ve had, Saturday’s supposed to be mercifully beautiful–and what better excuse for free ferry ride? Hop a boat to Staten Island for the Richmond County Craft Beer Fest at the Staten Island Yankees Ballpark right next to the ferry terminal, where from 1 p.m.

to 5 p.m. dozens of craft brewers will be pouring their sudsy wares, as well as teaming up with local restaurants for beer-and-food pairings fit for fall–like German-style pulled pork sandwiches from Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn with a pick from Coney Island Craft Lagers and a spicy Six Point with smoked eggplant and cumin-dusted pita chips.

The star of the show, though, may well be the homebrewers.

Staten Island has a long history of brewing, with about eight breweries running full-steam in the mid-nineteenth century, like the once prosperous Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company in Stapleton that shuttered in the ‘60s. Even the stunning Queen Anne Victorian home of bootlegger Chalky White on “Boardwalk Empire” is an bit of SI beer history, built by German-born beer baron George Bechtel in 1888. Today, super talented brewers like Mark Zappasodi – who was the co-architect with metal sculptor Scott Van Campen of the steam-punk working brew sculpture, “Beer As Art,” which will be on display Saturday–have taken up the torch, growing their own hops and meeting monthly with his ever-growing New Brighton Homebrew Society. For Saturday, Zappasodi grew two types of hops – nugget, which he grew on his in-law’s farm in Merrimac, MA; and cascade that he coaxed from the ground at his home in New Brighton – with which Kelso has made a special beer for the day: Richmond County Pale Ale.

But the real stunner may be Zapposodi’s farm-to-stein Black and Blue Spruce Ale, that he’ll be pouring that day. “It’s made with spruce tips from trees in Silver Lake and northern NY maple syrup. It’s a spicy and really refreshing pale ale — it’s one of the more interesting beers I’ve ever brewed with a fairly surprising flavor profile.”

The event is rain or shine, and tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the ballpark gate (VIP tix are $55 and get you in at noon for a special preview and a guaranteed pour of Zap’s Black and Blue). Check out www.RCCBF.com for more info about other participating breweries.

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