The holidays came and went in the blink of an eye, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty left to celebrate. Asbury Park Boardwalk and the WRAT radio station present the ninth annual Asbury Park Beerfest 2019 – “Cheers to Beers” on Saturday, Jan. 26, and Sunday, Jan. 27, at the iconic Convention Hall.
CHEERS TO BEERS
Once again, the Beerfest is broken down into three sessions over the course of the two-day event that is held annually the weekend before the Super Bowl. With eight Beerfests under the presenters’ belts, they know the importance of bringing new additions to the event each year while making sure certain aspects return again.
“This year is the fastest our Saturday sessions have sold out, and Sunday is on the way too,” said Caroline O’Toole, co-manager for the Asbury Park Beerfest. “I think our customers enjoy the new products we bring in each year, and keeping all the fan favorites over the last eight Beerfests.
“We will have gluten-free options and our popular Retro Beer Bar. We try to pay attention to what everyone likes.”
On Saturday the first session will be held from noon to 4 p.m. followed by an evening session from 6 to 10 p.m. The single session on Sunday will be held from noon to 4 p.m. As always, beer lovers 21 and over are encouraged to please drink responsibly.
BREWERIES: NEW AND RETURNING
While brews from across the country are represented at the Asbury Park Beerfest, breweries from the Garden State are always heavily represented and central to the event.
“We love to focus on our NJ breweries,” said O’Toole. “Flying Fish, Forgotten Boardwalk, Cricket Hill, Last Wave, just to name a few.
“We have some first-time participants this year like Jersey Girl Brewery out of Mt. Olive and Cape May Brewery. Of course, we still have our locals right here from Asbury Park AP Brewery and Dark City.”
Asbury Park Brewery will be offering guests a brand new beer this Beerfest and O’Toole is especially looking forward to guests getting a taste.
“I personally am pretty psyched over a new brew from Asbury Park Brewery called The Stone Pony Forty Five!,” she said, explaining that in February, The Stone Pony celebrates its 45th anniversary and to celebrate the milestone the brewery, initiated a new anniversary lager.
“A bunch of us were involved in the pre-production and I think it will be a popular tasting. It will be available until the end of next year and the best part is proceeds will benefit WhyHunger,” O’Toole said.
It comes as no surprise that beer is at the forefront of this annual event as the word itself is in the event title, but there are plenty of other noteworthy offerings during each session for those in attendance to enjoy.
While walking around Convention Hall trying out different brews guests have plenty of food options to choose from when hunger strikes. Similar to new breweries, this year’s Beerfest brings new food vendors as well.
“Food is a very big part of Beerfest and who is going to be there is usually one of our customers’ biggest questions,” she said. “We have some new food vendors like Simply Southern from Belmar, The Waffle Cabin from Long Beach and Angry Archie’s lobster rolls!
”Our good friends from The Windmill, Mogo, Bacon Me Crazy, and quite a few others will all be there.”
O’Toole also shared that those in attendance can look forward to other vendors that will be set up in Convention Hall for guests to enjoy.
“We also have some great vendors with merchandise that creates a pretty unique shopping experience,” she said. “When the event begins, everyone gets a map showing where everyone is located.”
A true beer lovers paradise, Beerfest will also feature live entertainment and contests that will provide an even more interactive aspect to the event.
“The WRAT will be broadcasting live, and we will have DJ Jersey Joe and DJ Mike Merrell,” said O’Toole. “Saturday we will have a special performance from our hometown favorites Des and the Swagmatics.”
We will have both the men’s and women’s beer muscles contest, and, of course, texting to vote for best beer.”
ASBURY PARK BEERFEST 2019
Each year Beerfest grows bigger and bigger while garnering more interest among guests who make sure to quickly purchase their tickets once registration opens.
As O’Toole previously shared, this year’s Beerfest was the fastest the Saturday sessions have sold out, with Sunday not far behind. More than just an annual event, Beerfest has become a gathering among family and friends that people look forward to each and every year.
“The Asbury Park Beerfest happens at a perfect time of year when not a lot of people are thinking about visiting the Jersey Shore,” she shared. “Over the last eight years, Beerfest has become a social event.
“A day to get together with your friends and look forward to all the new year can bring. We are humbled and honored to be able to be part of making that happen.
“After all, it is the people who come to Asbury Park who make it one of the coolest small towns in America.”
This year’s Beerfest is certainly not one to be missed. Tickets can be purchased for $40 plus applicable surcharges and fees on ticketmaster.com or at the Stone Pony box office, but those interested should act quickly.
“Get the Sunday tickets while they are still available!,” advised O’Toole.