12 of Our Favorites From This Year’s OctFest
Governor’s Island, NY – 9.8.18 – 9.9.18
Words & Photos by Jordyn Beschel
OctFest has officially come and gone, but we’re still living in the memories of how incredible the weekend-long festival was this year. Despite the unexpectedly cool (and rather wet) weather bestowed upon Governor’s Island, tickets were sold out and the grounds were packed for both days. Between all of the food we ate, musical acts we saw, and tremendous amounts of beer we sampled, it was hard to narrow down some of our favorite things, but we managed to break it down for you below!
Favorite Beer – Asia, Africa, Oceana: The Hand & Malt Brewery – Mocha Stout (South Korea)
We’ll give you a bit of a spoiler–this was our favorite beer on site that we had the chance to try. If you aren’t a devout stout sipper, finding a stout you enjoy may be a little difficult. We’re big stout fans ourselves, but we found this one to be the most pleasant for both serious stout-lovers and first-timers. The chocolatey-coffee flavor is prominent but not overpowering, giving the stout a light sweetness while still carrying over the dark beer bitter smoothness we know and love.
Favorite Beer – Western US: Kona Brewing Co. – Gold Cliff IPA (Kailua-Kona, HI)
This beer was like taking a mini vacation to the Hawaiian islands in that unexpectedly cold weather, and we’re not just saying that because they were giving out rainbow leis with their beers. It was so crisp and light compared to many of the other IPAs we tried. We think this particular beer would make it super enjoyable for those who may find they aren’t too keen on IPAs as well. It has hints of pineapple, caramel malt, and other tropical fruit hops that make it totally melt-worthy. Sadly, this beer is only available from May-August though, but we’re so happy we got a taste before it’s gone for the season.
Favorite Beer – Eastern US: Braven Brewing Co. – Vibes Summer Ale (Brooklyn, NY)
A light and smooth ale with lemon and lime reminiscent of the sunny, warm weather we were deprived of this past weekend. Despite the name, the citrusy ale is available year ‘round. Naturally, the beer was inspired by (and totally appropriate for) summer in the city–outdoor concerts, rooftop barbeques, beaches, and thensome. If you think of summer in a bottle, Vibes will appear, and trust us when we say it is totally delicious and refreshing.
Favorite Beer – Europe: La Virgen – IPA (Spain)
La Virgen’s IPA was what we would consider to be a very traditional-tasting IPA, which makes sense as IPAs are the heart and soul of the company! We would recommend this more to those who know and love IPAs and less for those trying for the first time. It was absolutely delicious, robust, and had just the right amount of hops. If you are looking for the perfect IPA, this is definitely it.
Favorite Beer – Latin America: Cervejaria Colorado – APPIA Honey Wheat Ale (Brazil)
Another refreshing ale that falls a little on the darker side. It tastes just as sweet as it sounds while still giving you that traditional ale flavor. Interestingly enough, the word “appia” means “honey” in Latin, encouraging the title for the brewery’s first beer that uses honey in its ingredients. It definitely is a unique flavor, so if you’re on the market to try something tasty and new, we recommend this ale for sure.
Most Interesting Food Item: Mission Chinese Food – Green Tea Vegetable Dumplings
Probably one of the healthiest things you could’ve gotten at the festival. Mission Chinese Food’s veggie dumplings were light and delicious, and they were made steamed rather than fried. What makes them so interesting is the matcha green tea powder sprinkled on top, giving the almost sweet insides a nice bitter counter-taste. The best part–they were served in a cute Chinese food box.
Favorite Grab-and-Go Food: Kronnerburger – Vegan Chili Cheese Fries
What is better than fries? Chili cheese fries. What’s better than chili cheese fries? Vegan chili cheese fries that you can enjoy guilt-free. Not only were the fries delicious, but we applaud OctFest for having such a dietary variety for all of their attendees. Kronnerburger had options for anyone, but their chili cheese fries were perfect for those who wanted to eat and explore.
Best Stage Presence: The Flaming Lips
We kind of knew this would be the case once we saw the line-up, but The Flaming Lips performance went so far beyond our expectations. Giant inflatable objects, huge lazer hands, tons of bright lights, and rainbow everything. The crowd was going bananas during their entire set, with all of their best fans screaming their hearts out from the front row. This was definitely the best and most exciting way to end the weekend.
Favorite ‘Feel Good’ Music: Nile Rogers & Chic
It was all smiles from the second Nile Rogers took the stage in his shiny gold suit. Nile Rogers and his original band Chic blew the roof of the stage with their upbeat disco jams. Nile Rogers is one of those artists that younger generations may not realize they know almost all of his songs, but when he starting breaking out into “Le Freak” and “Good Times”, everything started to click. Everyone was dancing their feet off, smiling their faces off, and having a genuine time.
Most Intimate Set: Julie Byrne
Julie Byrne’s stage elegance simply swept us away from the moment she sat down with her guitar. Though she played the bigger stage early on in the day, her set felt so intimate and personable. Her music is soft and pure, which brought us some calm before the festival day carried on. Roughly the third song in, she had her two bandmates step in with a synth and a harp, with all of the sounds blending harmoniously.
Favorite Overall Musical Act – Day 1: Saba
Saba was the first rapper to take the stage at OctFest, switching us from a mostly indie rock to a vibey hip hop. His crowd packed in tight and grew exponentially after the first song—even the brewery workers were distracted by his alluring performance. Saba is the perfect embodiment of swagger, and his personality flowed effortlessly throughout the stage with each song he performed. His music is a breath of fresh air against much of the party rap that’s constantly on the radio, making him an undeniably respectable artist in the game and sure fit on this year’s line-up.
Favorite Overall Musical Act – Day 2: Hop Along
Despite their humble attitudes on stage, Hop Along is a band that has been getting plenty of high praise from the biggest names for a while now. Their music is like its own sub-genre of indie rock, setting them apart from a lot of other bands on the OctFest line-up. Frances Quinlan’s vocals are mesmerizingly dynamic. She can hit high highs and low lows, and her powerful rasp when belting out lyrics makes her voice so distinguishable. The band as whole just seemed to never miss a beat, and they were a pleasure to watch and listen to live.
Another solid year in the books for OctFest, and its first time being a whole weekend long! We’re already looking forward to what the festival’s future holds, and we’re hoping to see it another year. For now, let’s reminisce. Check out the gallery below for more photos from this past weekend, and stay up to date with Pitchfork and October for what’s to come.