It’s been a little over a week since Octfest descended on Governors Island, but we’re still feeling funky. Despite a truly rainy forecast, the grounds stayed firm and not too muddy during the international beer and music festival presented by Pitchfork and October. Over two days, several thousand guests enjoyed world class music all while sipping on over 250 varieties of beer from around the world.
We were expecting a muddy, mostly abandoned gathering, so imagine our surprise when we were met by the liveliest crowd on Sunday afternoon. American noise rock duo, No Age, provided our rugged entrance music – something hard and brash, which paired well with the Mother’s Milk Oatmeal Stout that helped us kick our day off. We got seconds from the Keegan Ales booth.
With our pleasant buzz came a hearty appetite, which we satiated with green tea veggie dumplings from Mission Chinese and a signature bee sting pie from Roberta’s. (It’s delicious even when wet, in case you were wondering). We found it incredibly creative that each of the food vendors were adjacent to the booth of its suggested beer pairing. We were thankful for the innovative minds over at Bon Appetit for this special touch.
In lieu of dessert we popped over to the Island Oyster, nestled near Bluepoint Brewing Company‘s booth. The perfect hint of sweetness offered by their pink-tinted, Beach Plum Ale complimented the salty brine of what may have been the best oysters we’ve ever had. Hop Along‘s upbeat riffs made the combo that much cooler. It was the ideal rainy day snack sesh, and we’re still still thinking about it.
The highlight of the night for us was most definitely the hour-long set from Nile Rodgers and CHIC. Believe us when we say they played ALL THE HITS. A flurry of ponchos kept the spirit of disco alive that afternoon as Niles and his mesmerizing chanteuses performed his impressively varied discography. The set was so bright that we determined it was time to move on to ciders. Virtue had a lovely tart cherry variety and Austin Eastside Cider’s Blood Orange flavor was pretty zesty too. CHIC got the party started with a fan favorite Everybody Dance, followed up by Dance, Dance, Dance and you better believe that later on he played David Bowie‘s, Let’s Dance (are you sensing a theme here?), but not without delivering a powerful medley of Top 40 hits including Like A Virgin, We Are Family, Gettin’ Jiggy With It and many more (yep, all Nile Rodgers).
Niles gave a heartfelt speech about his recent battle with cancer, stating that after he received his prognosis he decided he would work harder, write more songs and tour more often than he ever had before. It was only appropriate to follow that up with a soulful rendition of Get Lucky, the hit Daft Punk track for which he provided a timeless bassline.
While we would have loved to stay for The Flaming Lips, we were fully saturated. The pictures alone prove that once again, Wayne Cohen and his merry band pulled out all the stops (and by all the stops I mean a true-to-size pink robot for their titular hit, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot). Sadly for us, it was time to take the ferry home. Overall, the event faced some serious weather-imposed obstacles, but it just goes to show when you’ve got good beer and good beats, you’ve got Good Times. These are the good times.