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Big Brew NY Craft Beer Festival Returns to Westchester

The Big Brew NY Festival returns to Westchester County Center for its third edition, showcasing more than 250 different types of beer

Courtesy of Big Brew NY Festival

It’s baaaack! On February 7, the third installment of the Big Brew NY Festival returns to Westchester County Center in White Plains. Budding brewmasters and patrons can sample more than 250 types of craft beers, including IPAs, pilsners, porters, and the like.

“There isn’t a type that won’t be there,” says Allison Kohler, president of JMK Events, which manages the Big Brew NY Festival.

More than 100 breweries will be represented, with plenty from New York . Kohler reports that, since Big Brew is a craft beer festival, you won’t find any big distributors. Featured locals include fest regulars like Peekskill Brewing Company and Captain Lawrence, as well as Plan Bee Farm Brewery (Fishkill), Rushing Duck (Chester), Shmaltz (Clifton Park), and Sloop Brewing (Poughkeepsie). Local cideries and wineries include Applewood Winery and Warwick Valley Winery, both in Warwick, and Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider in Staatsburg.

Find the full list of attending breweries here.

With an event every five-to-seven months (the most recent in September 2014 and the inaugural one in February 2014), Big Brew has been able to change it up and keep it interesting. Kohler says the biggest change for this edition of the festival will be in its VIP area: it’ll feature 20 casks, which Kohler says is unusual for most beer festivals (Big Brew didn’t have any last time).

“You’re lucky if your craft [festival] has one cask,” she adds.

VIP patrons can also sample an additional 20-25 special beers that won’t be available for the rest of the festival.

If you’re not a beer aficionado but want to sip on an ale and enjoy yourself, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy, including live musical acts and food. Guests can try pairing their favorite brews with the right eats — we recommend a Yonkers IPA with a char-grilled burger. Another bonus, of course, are the thousands of dollars in prizes — including a shopping spree and beer — given away by Half Time, the world’s biggest beer store.

“It’s a huge deal, what we’re doing,” Kohler says. Cheers to that.

If you go...

What: Big Brew NY Festival
When: Saturday, February 7, 2015, 5-8:30 p.m. (VIP admission 4-8:30 p.m.)
Where: Westchester County Center, 198 Central Ave., White Plains
Cost: $70 (includes souvenir tasting glass); $95 VIP (includes early admission, exclusive tastings, special VIP beer-infused dishes, and souvenir tasting glass); $15 designated driver. See Web site for discount and sale prices.
Details: 973-927-2794;

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Welcome to The First Draft — a column devoted exclusively to all things beer. Yes, that’s right, from taste-tests to profiles of brewers (and homebrewers) to expert advice (hello, Craft Beer 101), we’re going county to county, city to small town to uncover all the sudsy stuff you need to know. Heck, we’ll even let you know which brewery has the coolest looking T-shirt in town. You can expect reviews, food and beer pairings, roundups, trends, expert advice, homebrewing, profiles, big beer events, best nights out.

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