Slideshow SLIDESHOW: Brewers and Rare Beers Shine at NYC Brewer's Choice

[Photographs: Christopher Lehault and Maggie Hoffman]

Here's what makes a beer event truly great:
1. Delicious beer that you can't necessarily buy at your local store.
2. A chance to interact with the knowledgeable folks behind the beers.

The NYC Brewer's Choice event at City Winery on Thursday had both of those key elements and more.

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Jeff O'Neil of Ithaca Beer Company shared some of my favorite beers of the night. I couldn't get enough of his White Gold, and was lucky enough to get a pour of the deliciously sour Brute as well. Ithaca is a brewery to watch.

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It didn't hurt that there was plenty of good food. We nibbled Somerdale English Farmhouse Cheddar and fantastic bread from Orwasher's. A riot nearly started every time the last griddled salami sandwich from Mile End was snatched from the tray. (Luckily, another batch didn't take long.) There were fresh oysters and spicy shrimp, salted chocolate from Mast Brothers and plenty of other goodies. Not every item was really a perfect match for the beer—Kimchee and Geektoberfest, anyone?—but at least there was something delicious to line our stomachs as we plowed through one incredible beer sample after another.

Other top picks of those beer samples? A rarely-seen bottle of Southampton's amazing Hommage, Ommegang's luxurious and smoky Cup 'O Kyndness, Stillwater's Stateside Saison, and Sixpoint's impressive new Pilsner.

It's going to be hard to top these tastes, though Beer Week's not quite over yet. What's the best thing you've tried during NY Craft Beer Week?

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