Mark Haynie, beer columnist for At The Shore.

Vernon Ogrodnek///

Spring is coming and the crop of beer fests is beginning to sprout every weekend. Sure, you could travel across the country, but why would you? The second largest beer fest in the US — The A.C. Beer and Music Fest — is in our own backyard. This annual event gets bigger and better every year, and this year looks to be the biggest and best so far. Jon Henderson and crew bring in the best beers and music you will find at any fest. And with the explosion of breweries peppering the Garden State, there will be even more home-grown options. Of course, to really showcase and wow the locals, these breweries will bring the best brews they’ve made this year. You may never see these beers anywhere else.

The festivities begin on Friday, March 31, with the first session running from 8 p.m. to midnight with a live performance from Irish rockers Flogging Molly. On Saturday, April 1, the afternoon session goes from noon to 4 p.m. featuring The Front Bottoms as the entertainment. Finally, the evening session runs from 6 to 10 p.m. with Streetlight Manifesto providing the music. This will certainly be no April Fools.

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Each session will feature other bands on the bill, as well as acoustic acts. When they call it a music fest, they mean it! And don’t forget the extracurricular activities going on at the fest: motorized toilet races, cooking demos, a silent disco and so much more.

Tickets may be bought online, at Joe Canal’s or at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office for $60 in advance or $65 at the door … if any are left. You can also buy a New Jersey Craft Beer ticket for an extra $10 which includes a year’s membership.(tncms-asset)ad985744-aa68-11e6-877a-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)

Once again the Hops Trot will be held prior to Saturday’s first session. This 3.1 mile jaunt will begin and end this year at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Stops in between are Wingcraft, Bungalow, Chickie’s and Pete’s, Ducktown Tavern, Monkey Bar and Harry’s Oyster Bar.

To get warmed up for the event, visit Chickie’s and Pete’s in Egg Harbor Township on Thursday, March 30. Beer Manager Alvin Cintron has gathered together 25 of the best breweries in NJ and will pour their beers as a teaser to the fest. Starting at 8 p.m. the 30 or so beers will flow until 11 p.m. or until kicked. Don’t miss it.



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