The Brew Hop 5K and Beer Festival was a lovely way to enjoy a sunny September afternoon in New York City. This was a unique event that started with a 5 Kilometer race and ended with a craft beer festival. You’d be surprised to find such a scenic escape in the middle of the city on an island that most of us have only driven over. Nestled between Queens and upper Manhattan, it was a quick bus ride over the RFK Bridge to Randall’s Island Park where the beer festival was in a small wooded area which provided a scenic running trail around the island. The finish line emptied into a shady spot where the runners could enjoy some craft brews from New York City, Long Island, and Westchester.
The Brew Hop tallied fifteen drink vendors and three food trucks. This was a much more intimate setting than we’re used to here in New York City, but a nice break from the larger and more congested beer festivals. This event being New York centric it had a lot of breweries I was familiar with. Though this was not a detraction as many of the breweries brought a lot of beers I had not tried before. It felt like each brewery had something that was different. Some with had new beers they were experimenting with like Third Rail Beer with their new Halcyon Nights. Others like Gun Hill Brewery and Sixpoint brought limited release hoppy lagers. The Bronx Brewery brought Bronx Banner and No Resolutions IPA, two of their fantastic beers that were new to their cans this summer. Even though it was the last weekend of the summer, some like Captain Lawrence were helping usher in the impending fall season with their Autumn Blaze Pumpkin Ale.
The Brew Hop did a good job of mixing in other activities with beer drinking. In addition to the run to kick it off there were lawn games like Cornhole, KanJam, and live musical performances. More reminiscent of a backyard cookout than a beer festival, The Brew Hop delivered a well-rounded event that gave people more to do than just wait in line to drink. I’ll be looking forward to this event next year, and given that its awhile away, I may even start training to run the 5K. I hope they build on the already great foundation of this first year --good views, great beer, and good times.