ATLANTIC CITY — One of the best beer festivals in the country lives right here in New Jersey, and it’s only days away.
Now in its 12th year, the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival offers two days of beer, music and friends, during three sessions this Friday and Saturday at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
“We want people to come and have a good time,” said Jon Henderson, of Good Time Tricycle Productions, and “have a positive beer experience.”
Two hundred and sixty vendors, which include breweries, exhibitors and restaurants, will take over the convention center floor and offer something for everyone’s taste.
Here are five reasons to check out the 2017 Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival.
Each four-hour session features more than 150 breweries touting nearly 600 beers.
“Let’s celebrate the beer and the people who make it,” said Henderson.
The New Jersey breweries — 46 of them — will have their own section.
Henderson’s advice to the first timer is to not chase the high-ABV beers, and instead try those you have never had before.
Each of the three sessions has a headliner, with Flogging Molly as the featured band Friday night.
“Flogging Molly playing a beer festival is a no-brainer,” said guitarist Dennis Casey. “I’ve heard great things about it (the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival) from family and friends in New Jersey.”
With a new record in the books, fans can expect a “high-energy kick-a** show,” according to Casey.
While Atlantic City has seen its struggles lately, the band is excited to play and help bring thousands to the city.
“I think doing creative things like the beer fest is a testament to the community’s desire to turn things around,” said Casey. “I’m glad we are able to partake in that.”
As for beer, Casey admits to having a six-pack of local beer in their dressing room wherever they go in the world.
The Front Bottoms takes the main stage during Session 2 on Saturday afternoon, while Streetlight Manifesto closes out the festival Saturday night.
It’s not just about the beer. Some of area’s best restaurants get to showcase their unique tastes as well.
Tony’s Baltimore Grill, one of 10 eateries participating in the festival, has been a staple of the city since 1927.
Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House, Harry’s Oyster Bar and Seafood, and the Continental will be on-site as well.
Thousands of your closest friends
Everything at the festival is geared towards participation with friends, said Henderson.
With 25,000 beer lovers expected, there will be plenty of opportunities to make new friends while drinking and listening to music with old friends.
Beyond the beer
Need a break from the beer? There will be plenty of other activities to participate in.
Each session will offer toilet bowl races for the brave, and for the curious, a mixology demo with beer-infused cocktails hosted by the Iron Room in Atlantic City.
Also returning to the festival this year is the Hops Trot 5K run Saturday morning, which begins and ends at the convention center.
Tickets will be available at the door or visit www.acbeerfest.com.