Craft beer fest and chocolate and wine pairing with sides of awesomeness

Tap into some new brews and sample some old favorites at this year’s Hops and Props Craft Beer Festival, held Feb. 10 at the NYCB Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City; and/or make reservations for ChocoVino, a chocolate and wine pairing, held Feb. 14, at Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.

While the more-than-100 beers to sample seem perfect enough for this event, you will also get to enjoy some food, like the delicious, caramel-glazed Belgian waffles from Waffle Cabin (my absolute favorite!), soft pretzels and snacks from Knot of this World Pretzels, and crispy wontons from All American Wontons. Craft breweries (more than 25) featured include local ones like Garvies Point Craft Brewery in Glen Cove, Barnshed Brewing in Hicksville and Montauk Brewing Company. And, be entertained by Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” champion, DJ Chef, Marc Weiss, as he simultaneously cooks and deejays. Everyone who attends (must be must be age 21 and over) gets a free souvenir tasting glass.

On Valentine’s Day, share a five-course, chocolate-and-wine-pairing experience – set against an aquatic backdrop –  with the special people in your life, at ChocoVino. The evening offers traditional and vegetarian menus, with options like the cocoa-dusted portabella mushroom dish, paired with a 2015 Cabernet Franc; and the bacon-wrapped, “kissed-with-chocolate” filet mignon that’s paired with a 2013 First Label Merlot. The sweet ending to this meal (the star course for me) is the chocolate caramel with a linzer tart in raspberry drizzle and a semi-sweet dessert wine, 2013 Portico.

A two-for-one good time seems to be the theme for my picks; with sides of a one-of-a-kind exhibit of aviation history and innovation and a magical underwater atmosphere to peruse as you sip and sup the night away.

Hops and Props Craft Beer Festival – 7-10 p.m.
NYCB Cradle of Aviation Museum
Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City
516-572-4111 · ·
ChocoVino – 8 p.m.
Long Island Aquarium
431 E. Main St., Riverhead
For reservations: 631-208-9200, ext. 426