AC Beer Fest gets me excited because it means I get to try Jersey brews that I might not have been able to taste before... and Wingcraft Kitchen & Beer Bar. This marks the second visit in as many years to this restaurant. Times flies! With last year's visit came one of my first reviews for any restaurant. Some things have changed, some things have stayed the same. The things that changed, have definitely improved. Last year, Wingcraft had 20 taps dedicated to delicious craft beer. Since that visit, they have doubled the amount of taps to 40. This is ambitious, daring, and I love it. With these changes in place, have come other changes in the aesthetics of the bar. I welcome those changes.
The biggest difference in having the 40 beers versus just the 20 is the fact that they are now categorized and organized by style. I love this approach and wish more establishments would follow this. As much as I enjoy tons of styles, some times it is easier to categorize them for people who have a little less knowledge of what they might want. I've had quite a few times of trying to look up a beer on my phone because the menu only lists the name. Wingcraft simplifies this for you with the board. They also have a paper beer menu for you to look at if you are trying to take it easy down ABV Lane.
Ask your friendly bartenders if flights are available. If they are, fantastic, go ahead and order one and get some samples of the many beers you might not have been able to try either at Beer Fest or in any other of your local areas. I was able to partake in some Ship Bottom, Weyerbacher, Three 3's, and Founder's. That's quite the assortment and the excitement of having quite a few local (Jersey) options is not lost on me.
Nursing the morning after of a beer fest requires a special kind of food. Sometimes you want something closer to a tater tot with just stuff on it. Just like a contestant on the Price is Right, I told the Short Rib Tater Tots to come on down. The single serving was covered in cheese, chives, sour cream, bacon, and their 8 hour short rib. It definitely hit the spot and got the morning going and had me feeling all sorts of better. The tots are done to perfection and the toppings are just the icing on the cake.
Last year, two other burgers were tried. This year, I decided to go with the Manhattan Project, which Wingcraft boasts as their South Jersey award-winning burger. Learning lessons from last year, the double was ordered and before me was a mountain of a burger, chock full of great stuff on it. From the actual patties, to the smoked gouda, to the crispy fried onions and then onto the steak honey BBQ sauce, everything on this burger was exactly what I needed. The roll is delicious and a good complement to the rest of the burger. I needed a nap almost immediately after. Nothing was left over to take home either which is ALWAYS a great sign!
I'm not sure whether it's necessary for me to recommend Wingcraft Kitchen & Beer Bar again, because it should go without saying. It's a permanent fixture for me now whenever Atlantic City is brought up as a place to go or whenever AC Beer Fest is in town. I've not been disappointed at all with the food, and much less with the beer selection. The two bartenders helping us out on this day were absolutely helpful and attentive even if the crowd was plentiful. I love the update of the beer taps and how they are organized for simplicity's sake. Anything on those tater tots are excellent and even though I'm not really a fan of "patty" burgers, Wingcraft's have to be my absolute favorite when it comes to that style.
If you're a fan of great beer and a bar chock full of phenomenal options, Wingcraft is definitely a place to seek out and visit. Have a beer, stay for the burgers, have some tots before that. They also have Sunday brunch options for other weekends when you are in desperate need of some recovery mimosas and brunch-related food. The fact that this is a place where I can order anything from a Forgotten Boardwalk's Pocket Trick to a Demented Brewing's Scarlet Knight to a Founder's KBS is pretty damn nice for the average craft beer nerd like myself. Whether you live in the Atlantic City area or are planning to take a weekend trip at some point, definitely head over to Wingcraft Kitchen & Beer Bar and grab a pint - the options abound galore! Salud!