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‘Coney Island On Tap’ Beer Festival Founder Tells Us Why He Loves Craft Beer

Coney Island On Tap - lotsa beers
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On July 12, the Coney Island On Tap craft beer festival kicks off at MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. The event will feature over 100 releases from more than 60 of America’s best craft breweries. There’ll be live music, great food and, of course, unlimited sampling of delicious microbrews.

We spoke with the event’s founder, A.J. Bodden, to get an idea of what to expect and why he’s so passionate about craft beers:

Why a craft beer festival in Coney Island?

AJ Bodden
A.J. Bodden (Photo: Kevin Demassio)

A.J. Bodden: Coney Island is an iconic location in Brooklyn, a city with a vibrant craft beer movement, where residents have been going in the summer for years. Currently, Coney Island is in the midst of a revitalization project in an effort to improve the experience for current visitors as well as attract new ones. We felt that a craft beer festival would be a great addition to the many new and exciting things happening in Coney Island.

What’s the one thing you want people to take away from the event?

Clearly my goal is for people to come away with a great all-around experience and to return next year with a friend. However, to be more specific, it is always my pledge to attendees that they will have the opportunity to try new beers. Regardless of whether you’re a beer expert or not, there will be something there that you have never had before.

Is this for the specialized craft beer set, or will this event appeal to the novice beer drinker?

Coney Island On Tap has been designed to appeal to all levels of beer drinkers, from your craft beer connoisseurs to the novice just looking for something new to try. We strive to be something for everyone.

What’s so special about craft beer?

Craft beer, aka microbrew, is handcrafted in small batches by people who are passionate about their product. There is an enormous amount of time, attention and passion given to the production of these beers, and it really shows in the quality of the product. It is definitely more about quality than quantity when it comes to enjoying craft beer.

How is the event structured? Who’s participating?

We have over 60 breweries pouring over 100 beers from America’s top breweries; live music from Wild Adriatic, an indie-rock emerging artist that all will enjoy; and delicious food for sale—all of this set in beautiful MCU Park on the iconic Coney Island Boardwalk. Upon entrance to the event, you’ll be given a souvenir sampling glass and sent on your way to enjoy the beer, food, music and vendors, in the amazing setting of a professional ballpark on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean! It will be a great day for all.

What is your favorite part of the event, if you had to pick one?

I love being able to bring the people of a community an unprecedented selection of great beer in a unique festival setting. That’s what we are doing on July 12, and I love it.

You seem to be very passionate about craft beer. What got you into the world of craft beer, and more importantly, hosting craft beer festivals?

I was working in the event space when a friend of mine who owns Peak Organic Brewing out of Portland, Maine, suggested I consider combining my passion for beer and my ability to produce great events. Out of that, my first beer festival was born. That was in 2010, and since then I have produced over 50 festivals in over a dozen states.

What is your favorite style of beer?

IPA.

Anything else you want to add about the event?

I want people to know that we design our events with the attendees’ best interest in mind. We are people passionate about craft beer, who enjoy a fun and unique festival atmosphere. That is what we are creating in Coney Island, and we invite you to join us for some amazing beer on July 12.

Below are some of the many breweries participating:

  • Abita
  • Ace Premium Hard Ciders
  • ACBC – Alphabet City Brewing Company
  • Anderson Valley Brewing Company
  • Arcadia Ale
  • Avery Brewing
  • Bad Seed
  • Bayou Teche Brewing
  • Boulder Beer
  • Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
  • Coney Island Brewing Co.
  • Crabbies
  • Cricket Hill Brewery
  • Day of the Dead Brewery
  • Doc’s Draft Hard Ciders
  • Empire Brewing Company
  • Fired Island Beer Co.
  • Founders Brewing
  • Green Flash Brewing Co.
  • Harpoon Brewery
  • Ithaca Beer Co.
  • Keegan Ales
  • Kelso of Brooklyn
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • Lake Placid Brewery
  • Mad River Brewing Company
  • Magic Hat Brewing Company
  • McKenzie’s Hard Cider
  • Narrangansett Lager
  • New Planet Gluten Free Beer
  • North Coast Brewing Co.
  • Ommegang Brewery
  • Original Sin Premium Hard Cider
  • Peak Organic Brewing Company
  • Perennial Artisan Ales
  • Queens Brewery
  • Radian Pig Draft Beers
  • River Horse
  • Saranac
  • Schlafly Beer
  • Shmaltz Brewing Company
  • Shiner Bock
  • Shipyard Brewing Co.
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Sixpoint Brewery
  • Southampton Publick House
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
  • Steadfast Beer Co.
  • Stevens Point Brewery
  • Stone Brewing Co.
  • Troegs Craft Brewery
  • Two Roads Brewing Co.
  • Uinta Brewing
  • Victory Brewing Company
  • Woodchuck Hard Cider

Follow Coney Island On Tap on Twitter and get all the latest updates on Facebook. Any additional information—including ticketing info, what bands are playing, directions and more—can be found at the event’s website

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