During the last 12 months since I last attended the festival, my knowledge and appreciation for beer has grown. This is due in large part to my own experiences brewing beer with Mr. Beer, (it may be the easy-bake oven of home brewing, but it's still a lot of fun) and my acquired taste for Hops laden beers. I now know more about the brewing process, the different ingredients, etc. At any rate, I came to the festival with the intention of sampling the beers in a more sophisticated manner. That lasted at least twenty minutes. Here are some thoughts from this year's festival including a list of my favorites.
|Don't drop your cup!|
You will grossly underestimate how much you've had to drink- Just because the "pours" you get are small (about 3-4 oz), doesn't mean you aren't drinking a lot of beer. Consider that you might sample 3 to 4 beers during a 10 to 15 minute period (and that's if you are taking your time). At that point you've had anywhere from 9 to 16 oz. of beer. Over the course of an hour, you've now had 36 to 64 oz. (3 to 5 beers). Foam Fest lasts four hours, so I think you get the point. Plus, you are not drinking Bud Light. Most of the beers at the festival are at least 5% ABV.
Fair Food will help with the above- Nachos, Indian Tacos, Gyros, Deep Fried Twinkies, Giant Turkey Legs, Funnel Cakes, Deep Fried Snickers Bars, etc. will absorb some of the effects of all that beer drinking, just don't get sick!
|Zora Pale- My personal favorite|
Oskar Blues Brewery won a Gold Medal last night for their Deviant Dale's IPA (8% ABV, 85 IBU's). What can I say, I like those bitter, hoppy beers, not something I would have said a year ago! They also had the best selection of bumper stickers and were even giving away beer "cozies." (We discovered that these cozies wound up in receiving larger pours, as they obstructed the view of the person pouring the beer).
At the Del Norte Brewing Company they had a Mexican theme going. Craft beers in the Mexican style are remarkably rare, which is surprising given the long history of quality beer coming from that country. Their Manana Lager was a Mexican Amber of excellent quality, and I'll give them extra credit for brewing something unique from many of the other breweries that were present.
Honorable mentions go to Amica's Green Chile Ale, the beers from Pateros Creek Brewing, and the Vanilla Cream Ale from San Luis Valley Brewing Company.
Mmm . . . Not so much- I generally find the beer at Shamrock to be quite enjoyable, and I did like the White IPA that they poured last night. Not quite as enjoyable was their Pilsner which was a little bit of a let down. I had tried to order it last week while having dinner, but they had stopped serving it at that point. I was excited that I was getting a chance to try it again, but there seemed to be just a slight skunky aroma that I didn't agree with. For me, the standard on Pilsner beer is set by O'Dells Double Pilsner, and Left Hand's Polestar Pilsner. However, the Shamrock Brewery produces many great beers. Their seasonal 3rd Street Stout (made with coffee from Solar Roast down the block) is a fine, fine beer.
Elk Mountain Brewery in Parker won a medal for one of their beers last night, but I doubt it was their Kolsch. This beer had a very disagreeable taste. It was in fact, the only beer that I "dumped" last night. I won't condemn all of their beers however (they did win something last night after all).