With beer glasses in hand and pretzel necklaces in place, hundreds of beer enthusiasts confidently entered the first session of the 2017 Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival on March 31. Ready to start tasting beers and ultimately embracing the inevitable hangover, festival-goers strolled past the large sand sculpture commemorating the event and began their search for their new favorite beer.

The selection of more than 1,000 beers from about 200 different breweries made it much easier for attendees to try new samples that they might not have discovered on their own. Breweries from New Jersey, other states and even a few international locations all came together inside the Atlantic City Convention Center to display their diverse beers.

Moving from one brewery to the next, festival attendees enjoyed the sounds of notable rock bands and acoustic performances that acted as the soundtrack to their experience. Music lovers looking for a smaller setting were treated to the sounds of Matty Carlock, Ken Shiles & Cibon, Tyler Matthews and Jared Hart on the acoustic stage toward the back of the convention center. Other musical acts, including Residuals, Skinny Lister and headlining band for Day 1 of the festival, Flogging Molly, performed their songs on the much larger and more prominent main stage.

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As the most memorable and eventful performance, Flogging Molly actually stopped their set list briefly when an audience member was injured while mosh-pitting. Dave King, frontman of the Celtic punk band, put a halt to the energetic performance when he noticed something wrong in the crowd. He and the band only proceeded after the audience member had received medical attention. The band finished with an encore of songs from their new album, Life is Good, set to release this summer.

Besides the beer and music, the festival also provided delicious food courtesy of nearby restaurants. Atlantic City staples like Tony’s Baltimore Grill, Harry’s Oyster Bar and Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House served their famous pizza, seafood and burgers, respectively. Representing casino cuisine, The Continental, Coastal Craft Kitchen & Bar, Broadway Burger Bar and Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint served high quality dishes for beer lovers to enjoy. Chickie’s and Pete’s, Hi Point Pub and The Cow and The Curd provided more easily accessible meals that allowed guests to have one hand free for their beers.

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With plenty of beer and food in their stomachs, attendees also got the chance to work off those calories with a little yoga; Pints and Poses, courtesy of Grace and Glory Yoga, was one of many interactive events offered at the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival, encouraging those in attendance to sip their beer and find their balance, a feat much easier said than done. The Silent Disco, Giant Corn Hole, Hopslide and Retro Gaming Lounge were among the other activities available to anyone looking for that extra thrill. Cooking demonstrations and brewing lessons were the less physical events for those who didn’t want to exert themselves as much.

For visitors who wanted to spend their money on something that wasn’t beer or food, vendors from different locations offered a wide variety of clothing, artwork, souvenirs and other items to purchase. Vendors at the event didn’t hold back, offering everything from new drinking games to themed dog toys.

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The festival continued on April 1 with the final two sessions featuring different musical acts, but the same breweries, food and vendors. After the final session, Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino hosted the official after party. For information and announcements about the 2018 Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival, visit the event on Facebook.

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  • Hero (Top) Feature Image (& Additional Images): © Kristine Auble / Best of NJ
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