Walking into the 6th Annual International Great Beer Expo, hosted by the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, at first pass is just like walking into almost any other exposition: Countless vendors line the convention center’s floor while food vendors are stationed in the corners, as people hover around each of the tables and activities. But once you start to venture through the lanes, dodging people and skipping around diligent workers, you realize that this expo is actually unlike most others.
The International Great Beer Expo provides an ambiance much like you’d expect from a Summer barbecue at your aunt and uncle’s; everyone is happily chatting while some folks enjoy a tough game of cornhole and the rest have a great time, beer in hand. The main difference is (hopefully) that you visit the Beer Expo specifically for the beer.
The latest Great Beer Expo featured over 150 different types of beer. In addition to many New Jersey-grown breweries, like River Horse and Beach Haus, brewers from Scotland, Germany, and even Japan were in attendance. Aside from the alcoholic offerings, non-beer vendors selling anything from clothes and crafts to hot sauce and chocolate-covered bacon could be found interspersed amongst the booths. For collectors looking to dish out some extra dough, there was also a silent auction featuring a ton of signed sports and pop culture memorabilia.
The two-session event housed around 3,000 people on Saturday, February 6. It was a sociable event for both vendors and attendees, welcoming all sorts of beer aficionados, beer snobs, and lovers of beer who couldn’t tell the difference between a lager and an I.P.A. In between the abrupt “U.S.A.!” chants and random, roaring cheers, if you listened closely enough, you could also hear seasoned beer-experts discussing the rich flavors and aromatic sensations of their various crafts and stouts. For those with even a casual interest in Beer, the International Great Beer Expo is an altogether entertaining and enriching experience.
Hero (Top) Feature Image and Additional Images: © Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ