Bust out your pretzel necklace because the A.C. Beer and Music Fest is back. From 8 p.m. to midnight Friday, March 23, and noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 24, the eagerly awaited event will take over the A.C. Convention Center with plenty of brews and some of the best headliners the festival has seen. Here’s what you need to know.
1 The music. Typically music takes a back seat to beer — both in spirit and in the actual name of the event — at the Beer and Music Fest. It exists as a footnote to an event most attend for the alcohol. However, this year, the acts booked for the entertainment are so impressive, they may become the biggest draw. Legendary punk band the Descendents will perform on Friday. Saturday’s early session sees The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the biggest ska-core act of all time, and, finally, Pepper, a band all the way from Hawaii, rounds out the entertainment with a performance Saturday night.
2 The beer. The list of brews being offered at the A.C. Beer and Music Fest is so long that, were we to include every name, it would become abundantly clear why this festival is one of the largest in the country when it comes to beer. A choice few include Angry Orchard, Bronx Brewery, Blue Moon, Dogfish Head, Erie Brewing Company, Kuka, Leinenkugel and many more from near and far.
3 The food. It would be unpleasant and ill-advise to down all of those suds without a little bit of food to keep you going. Fortunately, the Beer and Music Fest has an excellent showing of local restaurants offering up eats to keep you well-fed. Enjoy bites from places like Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House, Harry’s Oyster Bar, the Continental, Chickie’s and Pete’s, The Cow and The Curd and more.
4 The Hops Trot. This annual run is described as a “5K with flavor.” It begins at the A.C. Convention Center and takes participants through some of the best beer joints in the city like Bally’s Boardwalk Saloon, Ducktown Tavern and Monkey Bar. The route passes by local landmarks and the Boardwalk, as well, so runners will not only get to know the bar scene, but also some of the city’s culture. Costumes are encouraged and a celebratory beer will be given at the end, back at the Convention Center.
5 The vendors. No festival would be complete without vendors. Take a break from the drinks, food and music with a zip through booths from places like Adventure Girl Enterprises, Bacon Bites, Art of Sin Trading Co., Boss’ Saucery and Busy Bees Honey.