Staten Island’s Craft Beer Fest Features the Ferry, Kelso’s Richmond County Pale Ale, and Homebrew Sourced from Silver Lake

After all the cruddy rain we’ve had, Saturday’s supposed to be mercifully beautiful–and what better excuse for free ferry ride? Hop a boat to Staten Island for the Richmond County Craft Beer Fest at the Staten Island Yankees Ballpark right next to the ferry terminal, where from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. dozens of craft brewers will be pouring their sudsy wares, as well as teaming up with local restaurants for beer-and-food pairings fit for fall–like German-style pulled pork sandwiches from Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn with a pick from Coney Island Craft Lagers and a spicy Six Point with smoked eggplant and cumin-dusted pita chips.

The star of the show, though, may well be the homebrewers.

Staten Island has a long history of brewing, with about eight breweries running full-steam in the mid-nineteenth century, like the once prosperous Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company in Stapleton that shuttered in the ‘60s. Even the stunning Queen Anne Victorian home of bootlegger Chalky White on “Boardwalk Empire” is an bit of SI beer history, built by German-born beer baron George Bechtel in 1888. Today, super talented brewers like Mark Zappasodi – who was the co-architect with metal sculptor Scott Van Campen of the steam-punk working brew sculpture, “Beer As Art,” which will be on display Saturday–have taken up the torch, growing their own hops and meeting monthly with his ever-growing New Brighton Homebrew Society. For Saturday, Zappasodi grew two types of hops – nugget, which he grew on his in-law’s farm in Merrimac, MA; and cascade that he coaxed from the ground at his home in New Brighton – with which Kelso has made a special beer for the day: Richmond County Pale Ale.

But the real stunner may be Zapposodi’s farm-to-stein Black and Blue Spruce Ale, that he’ll be pouring that day. “It’s made with spruce tips from trees in Silver Lake and northern NY maple syrup. It’s a spicy and really refreshing pale ale — it’s one of the more interesting beers I’ve ever brewed with a fairly surprising flavor profile.”

The event is rain or shine, and tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the ballpark gate (VIP tix are $55 and get you in at noon for a special preview and a guaranteed pour of Zap’s Black and Blue). Check out for more info about other participating breweries.

Amy Zavatto

Amy Zavatto is the daughter of an old school Italian butcher who used to sell bay scallops alongside steaks, and is also the former Deputy Editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She holds her Level III Certification in Wine and Spirits from the WSET, and contributes to Imbibe, Whisky Advocate, SOMMJournal,, and others. She is the author of Forager's Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients and The Architecture of the Cocktail. She's stomped around vineyards from the Finger Lakes to the Loire Valley and toured distilleries everywhere from Kentucky to Jalisco to the Highlands of Scotland. When not doing all those other things, Amy is the Director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance.

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