The Pier A Harbor House in New York City on May 24 was loaded with an array of beer, cider, spirits, and wine from New York state. Not all of the state’s producers made it out — there are 320 breweries in New York alone, not to mention all of the distilleries — but Pier A did have a solid representation of what the Empire State has to offer.
VinePair attended the event to find the best beer and spirits in each category. If you’re looking for something from New York, these are some brands and styles you should look out for.
Taste of New York will be open for general admission on Wednesday, May 24 at Pier A from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Best IPA: Allegheny IPA from Four Mile Brewing
A solid flagship American IPA that stood out among a long list of flagship IPAs at the event. Allegheny is West Coast style, with six different hops and strong notes of grapefruit, citrus, and mango.
Best Brown Ale: The Whale from Community Beer Works
Don’t limit brown ales to fall and winter, especially if you see The Whale from Community Beer Works. There’s coffee and chocolate on the nose, but it’s light and well balanced enough to keep on tap and on hand year-round.
Best Wheat Ale: Apricot Wheat from Ithaca Beer Co.
Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat has apricot notes without being so overbearingly fruity that it needs to be classified as a fruit beer. Apricot puree aroma and a full, easy drinking wheat beer flavor when drinking.
Best Double IPA: Dangerous Precedent from Kings County Brewers Collective
A heathy head of foam on the top with a sweet and citrusy nose. The beer is thick enough to hold it’s own, yet light enough to drink with a big meal of chicken and mashed potatoes. Very well balanced throughout.
Best Saison: Bauli Saison from Rushing Duck Brewing Company
A traditional saison in the sense that it’s light and refreshing, but also has some body to it — especially for managing to stay on the lighter side alcohol wise at 6 percent alcohol by volume.
Best Red Ale: Broken Bow Brewery
A refreshing red ale that could easily transition from fall into winter into spring into summer. The caramel holds it together while the moderate carbonation keeps it light.
Best Kölsh: Yonkers Brewing Co.
Kölsh isn’t my favorite style, but this one from Yonkers Brewing Co. is palate cleansing and so refreshing it’s nearly hydrating. Perfect as a summer slammer.
Best Cider: Bluegrass Russet from South Hill Cider
Very small bubble carbonation cider with a nice balance between acidity and sweetness.
Best Bourbon: McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey from Finger Lakes Distilling
Best Gin: Dorothy Parker from New York Distilling Company
An American style gin that’s loaded with citrus, hibiscus, and elderberry flavors. Delicious on its own for gin lovers, but would also fold itself into a fine cocktail.
Best Moonshine: Kings County Distillery
Granted, moonshine isn’t a crowded category when it comes to New York spirits. Kings County Distillery deserves a look though, and the moonshine could easily be substituted for other neutral spirits when you need something with more body and a slight flavor to it.