Friday, March 6, 2009

Extreme Beer Festival Ramblings

What a festival! Kudos to Beer Advocate for putting on another first class beer fest. This was our second festival we attended that was thrown by them, and the second time we were so glad we made the trek to Boston.

We arrived at the Cyclorama about 20 minutes before the door opened and the line was well around the corner already, filled with beer enthusiasts from all over. While waiting we went over our lists of what beers we absolutely had to try, knowing full well however that once we got inside the lists would stay in our pockets because damn it, we want to try EVERY BEER.

When we got inside, our first thoughts were "How the hell are they going to fit 1,000 beer aficionados into such a small venue?" Granted, we were at ACBF where the venue was bigger and more spread out, so this seemed a little cramped, but once they had everyone in there, it wasn't nearly as bad as we thought. Obviously the organizers knew what they were doing and had the event there before, so who are we to question. The rotunda shape was perfect as you could just go in a circle around the room to hit your favorite beers, while still having some room in the middle to mingle.

Our first beer was Bell's Hopslam. This was not that beer (the first vid below was the Hopslam), I just like the pic and I don't remember for sure what we were drinking in it. Maybe one of the other hopheads can remember. Anyway, Hopslam was one of the few beers we thought were clear winners for the best beers at the fest. Unfortunately, other than knowing we loved it, none of us took notes or anything, so we can't really tell you what we liked about it. It's probably for the best because our writing would have been illegible by the end, and we definitely didn't want to spend half our time writing gibberish.

Three Floyd's Dreadnaught was also fantastic, one of the only beers where we went back for seconds and thirds. Their Behemoth was pretty good as well, but not up to par with the Big D. Here's FFF's hippie-like Buddha poster thingie. I also think one of the Alstrom bros. is behind that guy's hood, he was helping them out.

Dogfish Head (left) had a huuuge lineup, not surprising since they were the co-sponsor. 90 and 120 Minute IPA, Worldwide Stout, Red & White (which I will be reviewing momentarily), and BA Select were the headliners. Good selection, but for some reason we weren't thrilled with the quality. Something was just off, but we've had enough DFH to know what an awesome brewery they are. A brewery we didn't really know, American Flatbread, was right next door with
some quality brews. One of the notables was the Wassail Holiday Stout, which was conditioned using a ridiculous amount of local raspberries. Alex might remember the exact pounds per gallon ratio, because I don't. The Wassail was also from a cask. Discovering beers like this is the exact reason you go to these festivals, for the diamonds in the rough.

Lagunitas and Troegs had prime spots right in the middle. Troegs had their reliable #1 and hopheads favorite Nugget Nectar, nuff said. Lagunitas had its Gnarley Wine. I remember it being good, but not as good the last time I've had it, which is strange because I can't remember when I've had it before. Do you notice a theme that I can't remember shit? The beer is killing my brain cells slowly.

Stone and Magic Hat definitely brought some winners. MH had a Wild Ginger Ale that was refreshing and crisp, almost like a palate cleanser, but in a good way. Fun fact: we are also sushi enthusiasts and noted that this would pair perfectly with the fishy delicacy. Stone was fantastic because they brought different versions of Double Bastard, dry-hopped and whiskey barrel aged, and versions of their Old Guardian Barley Wine. It was just a great experience to taste the subtle differences in the character of the beer based on what was done during the brewing process. This may seem like an obvious statement, but it was just a cool moment to experience first hand at the festival, especially since we have brewing aspirations as well.

Overall, we had a blast. So many brews, so many memories. The after-festival put a great cap on the night and was documented, but are probably best kept under wraps for fear of prosecution. Below are a couple videos taken during the festival. We took a couple more, but they are also X-rated and will remain off the web.

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

That was definitely the greatest post on our blog in since its inception. Amazing job Michael, your write like an author and I can't belive your an engineer.

Beer fest was a blast no questions asked. I was in love with the FFF Dreadnaught IPA. I unfortunately was getting drunk towards the end of the fest so my memory is quite lackluster. Sure wish we could have tried ALL of the beers