New Yorkers know the best views of the city’s harbor can be had via the Staten Island Ferry. On Saturday, the boat takes you to some of the area’s best brews, too.
The inaugural Richmond County Craft Beer Fest will feature samples from two dozen of the region’s top craft breweries (including Sixpoint, Kelso, Brooklyn Brewery and Blue Point), as well as beer-focused bites from Staten Island eateries. Visitors will even be able to taste the goods of fellow NYC beer geeks participating in the event’s homebrew competition, which boasts a $1,000 top prize.
But Staten Island wasn’t always so beer-savvy. Island restaurateur Ken Tirado — owner of Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn, which will be serving German pulled pork roast with dark beer-caraway sauce at the festival — has witnessed the trend toward craft beer firsthand, though he admits it’s taken “a really, really long time” for New Yorkers to actively seek out specialty brews. “When I opened Adobe Blues [in New Brighton] 19 years ago, it was very easy to have the largest beer selection on Staten Island because all of the places just had Budweiser, Heineken and Molson,” he says. “Now I can put 10 different pumpkin beers on my beer list and sell them out.”
Worth the ferry ride
For those wary of a trek to Staten Island — even in the name of great beer and food! — organizers have taken care to make the festival accessible while showcasing the revitalization of the St. George neighborhood. The event will be held at the borough’s scenic Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the Staten Island Yankees, which sits on the shores of the harbor. “Just walk off the boat and the stadium’s right there,” says Tirado. “We wanted a vehicle to show tourists and non-Islanders that there are exciting things to do [in Staten Island], especially in St. George.”