The New Jersey Beer & Food Festival took place at Crystal Springs 6/14 – 6/15. The weekend-long celebration of craft beers and food by local chefs attracted attendees from all over the tri-state area.
I attended the Friday evening “NJ Chefs & Brews” event. The walk-around reception showcased delicious food from six local chefs paired with six local craft beers. Participating chefs included Executive Chef Timothy Fischer and Pastry Chef John Sauchelli of Crystal Springs, Chef Mike Carrino of Pig & Prince Restaurant & Gastrolounge (Montclair), Chef John Halligan of Park Steakhouse (Park Ridge), Chef Carlo Carbonara of Bottagra (Hawthorne) and Chef Eric Levine of Morris Tap & Grill (Randolph).
The food and beer pairings were:
Morris Tap & Grill – Chef Eric Levine – Ahi Tuna Ceviche, Avocado Mousse with Jalapeno Foam and Serrano Ham Crisp. Paired with Sam Adams Summer Ale & Sam Adams Boston Lager – Boston, MA.
Pig & Prince Restaurant & Gastrolounge – Chef Michael Carrino – Slow Roasted BBQ Suckling Pig. Paired with Doc’s Hard Apple Cider & Doc’s Hard Pear Cider – Warwick, NY.
Park Steakhouse – Chef John Halligan – Braised Short Ribs of Beef in Stout, Horseradish Whipped Potatoes. Paired with Keegan Ales Mother’s Milk Stout & Keegan Ales Hurricane Kitty IPA – Kingston, NY.
Bottagra – Carlo Carbonara – Seared Diver Sea Scallops with Creamy Farro Risotto & Wild Mushrooms. Paired with Kuka Belgian Style Blonde & Kuka American Pale Ale – Blauvelt, NY.
Crystal Springs Resort – Chef Tim Fischer – Smoked Griggs Town Quail, Blackberry BBQ. Paired with Cricket Hill American Ale & Cricket Hill Colonel Blide’s Cask Ale – Fairfield, NJ.
Crystal Springs Resort – Pastry Chef John Sauchelli – Elderflower Lemon Cake, Blueberry Compote, Elderflower Spuma. Paired with Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale & Blue Moon Belgian White – Denver, CO.
I can’t think of any dish I didn’t absolutely love. Incredibly impressive was Chef Carrino who hand-carved his suckling pig with no help, all evening long. Also beyond ambitious was Chef Carbonara who seared his giant scallops to order with a line of guests that wouldn’t quit.
The beers paired beautifully and some of my favorites were the Doc’s Hard Pear Cider, just perfect with Chef Carrino’s pig and the Cricket Hill Colonel Blide’s Cask Ale.
The evening was hosted in a lovely space with floor to ceiling windows that provided a stunning view of the resort’s grounds and the sunset.
Saturday was the “Beer and BBQ Fest”, a tasting event where attendees had the opportunity to try 135 beers from 50 breweries including craft brews from New York and New Jersey. The beers were paired with barbeque food and held outdoors on a picture-perfect afternoon.
On Sunday, the beer festival wrapped up with a special Father’s Day Lunch in the Chef’s Garden, Crystal Springs’ outdoor restaurant set amid a lush garden full of herbs and vegetables used in the resort’s restaurants.
Veronique Deblois, Food & Wine Chickie: Veronique is a food and wine writer based in Morris County, NJ. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews. Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook page.