The festival debuted on Saturday

The trade group that represents craft breweries from all across New York State held its first annual beerfest on Long Island this past Saturday at Belmont Park Racetrack.

More than a 1,000 craft beer lovers enjoyed a beautiful late summer day watching the horses run from the final turn, while tasting delicious craft beers from around Long Island and New York State. The New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA) partnered on the event with Starfish Junction Productions, Long Island’s premier producer of beerfests and other craft beverage festivals, to organize the event.  

“We were pleased with the turnout for a first-time event,” said Andy Calimano, co-owner of Starfish Junction, “and we’re excited that this will become an annual event for Starfish and the New York craft brewers.”

NYSBA was founded in 2003 to serve as an advocate for craft breweries and brewing-affiliated businesses in the state.  The group has been a major driver in the rapid growth in craft brewing in New York, with the number of breweries more than quadrupling in the past six years to 415 statewide at the end of 2018, including more than 50 breweries and brewpubs on Long Island.  

Over 50 craft breweries from every region of New York State participated in the festival at Belmont, with many brewery founders and brewers on hand to pour samples and talk beer with festgoers. Long Island craft breweries were well represented, with brewery founders including Larry Goldstein of Spider Bite Beer Co. in Holbrook, which recently celebrated its 8th anniversary; Sarah and Tim Dougherty, co-founders of The Brewers Collective in Bay Shore; Greg Martin of Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead; Lauri and Matt Spitz of Moustache Brewing in Riverhead; Bryan Murphy of Barnshed Brewing in Hicksville; and Kevin Cain of Lithology Brewing in Farmingdale.  

Other Long Island breweries participating included Blue Point Brewing, Greenport Harbor Brewing, Saint James Brewery and Sand City Brewing.  In addition to watching and rooting for the horses, festgoers enjoyed playing lawn games and snacking on treats from several food trucks.  

For more information on the New York State Brewers Association visit newyorkcraftbeer.com.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

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