North Jersey's Best Fall Wine, Beer, and Spirits Festivals

Harvest season is upon us! While this time typically calls to mind images of apples, cider, and pumpkin-spiced-everything, early fall is also one of the best seasons for spirits (and not just the Halloween kind). Are you not quite ready to take your last sips of summer? New Jersey's fun-filled wine and beer festivals offer the flavor of local elixirs to numb the pain. Oh, and no need to travel all the way to Germany for Oktoberfest—your home state's got you covered.

  • 01 of 11

    Jersey Fresh Grand Harvest Festival

    Wine bottles
    Ken Redding / Getty Images

    While the summer's farmers' markets will soon be packing up their tents for the year, Jersey Fresh, purveyor of many local organic crops, is serving up one last big hurrah at the Jersey Fresh Grand Harvest Festival. Craft and food vendors, live music, and special kids' events will be ready to help you ring in Fall. The real highlight of the Harvest Festival, however, is the high quality wine tastings offered (see menu) by some of New Jersey's best regarded wineries (Valenzano Winery, Tomasello Winery, Four Sisters Winery, Cava Winery). Admission includes your very own souvenir glass. Plus, if you're interested in learning all about just how the wine in said glass came to fruition from the Garden State's very own grapes, indulge in a wine seminar. Admission: $30 (can be purchased ahead of time or at the event) Saturday, October 1, 2016 and Sunday, October 2, 2016, 12pm to 6pm; Fosterfields Living Historical Farm, 73 Kahdena Road, Morristown

  • 02 of 11

    Highlands Oktoberfest

    Oktoberfest Beer
    Dan Herrick / Getty Images

    No list of fall liquor events would be complete without Oktoberfest. The 16th annual event in Highlands, NJ truly aims for authenticity, as it's modeled after traditional Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich. Put your road trip hat on (along with your best Bavarian garb of course): this event might be bit of a drive, but well worth it. Live music and dancing accompany tents that are overflowing with authentic German treats and cuisine. Participate in the "best dressed" costume contest and the 50/50 raffle. You may want to enter the beer stein holding contest before you've sampled the namesake fare. Beer, beer, and more beer and a lively, friendly atmosphere make this festival a not to miss event. Admission and parking are free; products and activities are priced individually; Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 2pm to 9pm; Rain Date: Sunday, October 2, 12pm to 6pm; Veteran's Park, 23 Bay Avenue, Highlands

  • 03 of 11

    Whiskey Festival of New Jersey

    MakiEni's photo / Getty Images

    Hey whiskey drinkers, don't worry. You haven't been forgotten—in fact, you have a whole festival to yourself! The 2nd Annual Whiskey Festival of New Jersey will be held at Pig and Prince, a charming pub in Montclair housed in the historic Lackawanna Train Station building. "Farm to table" French, British, and American cuisine is available to accompany your sampling of over 75 different whiskies (Johnnie Walker, George Dickel, Tomatin, Michter's). Craft beers, Iive music, food delicacies, and cocktails complement the experience. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit St. Joseph Children's Hospital. $60 for general admission; $95 for VIP admission and early entry (prices per ticket); Thursday, October 6, 2016 from 6:30pm to 10pm; 1 Lackawanna Plaza, Montclair

  • 04 of 11

    Put the "PUB" in Public Garden Beer Tasting

    Reeves-Reed Arboretum
    Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The leaves are changing colors. There's a cool breeze in the air. What better time to be outside, right? Come experience nature's seasonal splendor firsthand at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit during the aptly named Put the "PUB" in Public Garden Beer Tasting. Beers from Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company (a Croyden, Pennsylvania-based microbrewery) will be available for tasting. Gourmet local food will also be served and is included in the price of admission. $50 per ticket, must be purchased in advance; Friday, October 14, 2016, from 7pm to 9:30pm; 165 Hobart Avenue, Summit

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  • 05 of 11

    New Jersey Harvest Wine Festival

    New Jersey Harvest Wine Festival is simply a oenophile's dream. Featuring over 150 wines (including specialty wines) from around the world, the Hilton Short Hills trasforms into a sultry space, courtesy of New York Wine Events. Sway to the sounds of Saxophonist Will Donato's live jazz while you sip amongst fellow wine lovers. Light bites will be served, such as crostini, artisanal cheeses, crudite, dips, hot pastas, and passed desserts. Stay at the hotel that night for a discounted rate of $169, and make sure to take your etched wine glass home as a memento. $50 per ticket; Friday, November 4, 2016, 7pm to 10pm; 41 John F. Kennedy Pkwy, Short Hills

  • 06 of 11

    Spirits in the Night

    Located inside The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, "Spirits in the Night", aptly named for an October event, offers patrons the chance to sample some of New Jersey's best craft beers, distilled spirits, and wine in a gallery setting with live music. Last year's event sold out a week in advance, so be sure to purchase your tickets early. An extra $100 gets you early access to the event at 6pm, cocktails by Claremont Distillery, and hors d'oeuvres from Metropolitan Seafood. Proceeds from the evening will benefit The Center's art classes and community outreach programs. Tickets start at $55; Friday, October 21, 2016; 6pm to 10pm; 2020 Burnt Mills Road, Bedminster

  • 07 of 11

    The Big Brew Beer Festival

    The Big Brew Beer Festival—say that five times fast! Admission grants you access, a 4 oz. beer glass with a 2 oz. pour line, and the freedom to sample 200+ brews (Allagash, Goose Island, Smuttynose, and many, many more). Good thing there's a "Designated Driver" ticket option ($15)—your group will probably need one! For those without a DD, the event is running free shuttles from the Morristown train station, so there's no excuse to drink and drive, or miss the event for that matter. Live music will be played, and food will be on offer from Cow and the Curd, Handsome Devil BBQ (don't miss the "Hot Mess"—brisket with mac & cheese, topped with pulled pork), and more. $70 per ticket at the door; Saturday, October 1st, 2016; 2 sessions (12pm to 4pm; 5:30pm to 9:30pm); 430 Western Ave, Morristown, NJ

  • 08 of 11

    Ales 'N Tails Oktoberfest

    Ales 'N Tails
    Courtesy of Turtle Back Zoo

    North Jersey's newest hot spot: Turtle Back Zoo. The top-rated animal attraction is delving into the hip event scene with its latest, Ales 'N Tails Oktoberfest, which benefits the Essex County Parks Foundation. Watch and listen to an Oompah Band while sipping on a local (or not) brew. Dozens will be on offer (Brix City Brewing, Jersey Girl Brewing Co., Brooklyn Brewery, and more), so make sure to try them all after spending the day visiting the monkeys, giraffes, and all of your favorite animal friends. $60 per ticket, $15 designated driver; Saturday, October 1st, 2016, 6pm to 9pm; 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange

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  • 09 of 11

    Harborside Craft Brew Fest

    Brew with a view, anyone? Grab a spot at the Jersey City waterfront for the Harborside Craft Brew Festival. 15 local NJ breweries (plus many others from the area) will bring 150+ craft beers for festival-goers to sample over two sessions (12pm to 4pm; 5:30pm to 9:30pm). Don't miss the musical performances from Drum and a Tantrum and Street Hassle and the Brass Balls. Bonus: take home your 5 oz. sample cup, and fill up on grub from Nuchas, Mac Truck, Urban Lobster Shack, and more. All else fails, you'll at least walk away with a great skyline photo for your Instagram! Note: Parking is $5; $60 per ticket, $15 designated driver; Saturday, October 15, 2016; Harborside Atrium and Waterfront Esplanade, 34 Exchange Place, Jersey City

  • 10 of 11

    The 8th Annual Harvest Fest and NJ Microbrew Night for Charity

    The St. James Men of Charity are hosting their 8th annual Harvest Fest to benefit families in need and charitable works within and outside the parish, so drink for a cause, people! 20+ New Jersey craft breweries (Cricket Hill, Ramstein Beer, Beach Haus, and more) and home brewers will showcase the fruits of their labor. In true Oktoberfest style, wursts, spaeztle, ham, and German potato salad will be served. Not into beer? Red and Prosecco from Stirling Fine Wines will be available. Admission includes your tasting glass, dinner, tricky tray, and live entertainment. Tickets $50 at the door; Saturday, November 5, 2016, 6pm to 10pm; St. James Church, 200 So. Finley Ave, Basking Ridge

  • 11 of 11

    Uncorked & Uncapped: Wine, Beer, and Food Fest

    What better way to imbibe than while giving back to the community? The Arc of Essex County's 3rd Annual Uncorked and Uncapped Beer, and Wine, and Food Festival allows you do just that. Tickets for the festival are $100 each, but all proceeds will benefit the "nearly 1,500 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families", who utilize the Arc of Essex County's "programs and services". Held in Livingston's swanky Westminster Hotel (which is offering a special rate of $179 the night of the event in case you want to stay), the festival will include a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, varied fare from 40 food vendors (including local favorites Villa Lobos, Verona Inn, Cupcakes by Carousel, and more), and yes, beer and wine/spirits tastings—Sixpoint Brewery, Dogfish Head, Weyerbacher, UVA Wines, and Claremont Distilled Spirits—just to name a few. Thursday, September 29, 2016; 6:30 pm-9:30 pm; 550 West Mount Pleasant Avenue, Livingston


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