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Can't-Miss Event This Weekend: Hudson Valley Hoptember HarvestFest

Hop to it: Dutchess Hops hosts its second annual Hoptember HarvestFest on Saturday, September 13

Dutchess Hops Farm Director Justin Riccobono (left) and Dutchess Hops President Carmine Istvan

Photograph courtesy of Dutchess Hops/

The Hudson Valley is one hoppy place. Last year, Eastern View Nursery in Lagrangeville launched Dutchess Hops, the first modern commercial hops farm in the Hudson Valley, to serve the growing craft-beer community. They celebrated with Hoptember Harvest, which drew 600 people to what Yankee Brew News called one of the best craft beer festivals of the year, according to farm director Justin Riccobono.

Well, Hoptember is back, and the new harvest will be celebrated Saturday, September 13 at the farm. It’ll be even bigger, too. Says Riccobono: “Last year we had 18 tastings, and this year it’s 30,” including new breweries Last Stop, North River, and Bull and Barrel. Only one distillery attended in 2013, but this year Hillrock, Black Dirt, Widow Jane, and Hudson Valley distilleries, among others, will be on hand. “We’re really excited about working with them,” he says.

The event includes lots of food, all of it hopped up in some way. “We’ll have hops-infused cheese, the wings and ribs had hops spices in the sauce, and the brisket and pork had hops rubs and are infused with hops-spiced juices,” he reports.

There will also be live music, home brewing demos, and special events, all included in the price of admission, which is growing from 600 last year to 1,000 this year. “We limit ticket sales, so we’re not oversubscribed like some craft beer events,” Riccobono says. “‘Celebrating Everything Hoppy’ — that’s our tagline.”

If you go...

What: Hoptember HarvestFest
Where: Dutchess Hops, 1167 Noxon Rd., Lagrangeville
When: Saturday, September 13, 1-5 p.m.
Cost: $50 per person, $75 VIP (admission includes unlimited food and tastings); $25 designated drivers
Details: 845-456-1227;

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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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