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Event Spotlight: Craft Beer Festivals and a Chili Cook-Off Hit Mamaroneck and Bethel

Harbor Island Park hosts its first beer extravaganza, while Bethel Woods celebrates its second annual Craft Beer Festival and Chili Cook-Off



harbor island beer festival
Photograph by Hidenori Inagaki

Hopheads, rejoice: a new beer festival is upon us! at Harbor Island Park on the Long Island Sound in Mamaroneck. The First Annual Harbor Island International Beer Festival, on Saturday, October 11 showcases more than 115 domestic and international breweries, some of which are creating signature brews just for the event. More than 20 local and regional food vendors will be on hand, too, including Wafels & Dinges (rarely seen here), Craftsman Ale House, Plates, and the Cookery’s very own DoughNation pizza truck, complete with a wood-burning oven. Bands are being lined up as we type.

General admission entitles you to a glass, tastings, and admission to seminars on homebrewing, beer and dessert pairings, and more; jump to VIP level for one-hour early admission, 12 to 15 extra beers, hors d’oeuvres, a separate covered pavilion, and even private restroom facilities. An even higher level, called Brewmaster Reserve, adds a private reserve tasting and commemorative stainless steel growler. (Psst — you, with your superior beer knowledge and can-do attitude, could be selected as a volunteer and receive a VIP ticket.)

Who’s behind this, you ask? You guessed it: Half Time Beverage, the world’s largest beer stores in Poughkeepsie and Mamaroneck.

If you go...

What: 1st Annual Harbor Island International Beer Festival
When: Saturday, October 11, 12-5 p.m.
Where: Harbor Island Park, 123 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck
​Cost: $65 general admission, $100 VIP, $140 brewmaster reserve, $20 designated driver
Details: ​www.harborislandbeerfestival.com; 914-777-7784


bethel woods craft beer festival

On the other side of the Hudson, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts hosts its own little not-to-be-missed shindig. The renowned venue — which won our readers’ vote for “Best Outdoor Venue for Plays and Concerts” this year — presents its second Craft Beer Festival & Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, October 11 from 12 to 4 p.m. (VIP guests can sneak in 30 minutes early for a taste from their favorite breweries, a souvenir shirt, and admission to the Museum at Bethel Woods.)

Sip on suds from more than 20 regional breweries, then soak it all up with market-fresh fare — including fresh pasta, veggie burgers, pickles, cheeses, quiche, pot pies, cakes, chocolate-covered bacon, and more — from local vendors. The market also offers homebrewing demonstrations, and savvy shoppers can pick up leather goods, handmade bath products, and costume jewelry. Of course, a Bethel Woods party isn’t complete without live music: partygoers can enjoy rock and folk music by bands Emish and MARAH while lounging on the festival grounds.

For those looking to amp up the heat, the Event Gallery’s Chili Cook-Off — which is indoors and open to all ages — is just the ticket. A two-dollar donation to participating organizations gets you all the chili samples you desire; vote on your favorites to help name the Cook-Off’s chili champion.

If you go...

What: Bethel Woods Craft Beer Festival & Chili Cook-Off
When: Saturday, October 11, 12-4 p.m. (VIP tasting 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.)
Where: Market Sheds at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Rd., Bethel
Cost: $40 sampling pass ($45 day-of), $75 sampling pass (includes museum admission), $15 designated driver (include museum admission), $2 donation for Chili Cook-Off
Details: www.bethelwoodscenter.org/events/detail/craft-beer-festival; 866-781-2922

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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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