by Tom Lee
Atlantic City has never really been a beer town, per se.
^^^ See that? That’s in-the-tank junketeerspeak. To be honest, Atlantic City is an abysmal place for beer. You’re lucky to find a casino that stocks Heineken, for pete’s sake. To the minimal extent that draft beer exists, its presence can be attributed to economy, not connoisseurship. Frank Sinatra did not drink beer, by god.
Given this baseline, the beer garden at the Food and Wine Festival was pretty good. About half of the folks manning the sampling stations seemed to be from distributors rather than breweries — one actually said to Emily that he didn’t really care for all this “microbrew” stuff himself (get with the times, buddy! the pretentious term of art is “craft beer”). And there were certainly some bad beers available — Michelob Ultra’s Pomegranate Raspberry beer was as bad as you’d imagine, except also somewhat worse. But there was a lot of good beer to be had, and more often than not it was being poured by people who knew their stuff (the folks manning the Chimay table were particularly pleasant to talk to).
None of the exhibitors showed up with anything too exotic — the Guiness anniversary stout was probably the most exciting thing there — but Ommegang, Dogfish Head, Troegs, Chimay and their peers all brought their greatest hits, and acquitted themselves as well as you’d expect. We took a little time to shoot some IFA reactions to the beers on hand — more iPhone video, I know, you’re thrilled — which you can watch below.
It’s not at all beer-related, but the most striking thing about the event was its location. The video is a bit misleading: most of the beer-pouring occurred inside, in a climate controlled pier at Caesar’s. It’s pretty strange. There are little sunken areas by the windows, a step down from the carpeted thoroughfare, where beach chairs overlooking the water are set up in little pockets of sand (by now the janitorial staff is surely half-insane). This must be how vampires go to the beach.