Monday, April 11, 2011

Takeaways from Beer Fest

This past weekend, Moore Square was once again host to World Beer Fest Raleigh. Naturally, I ventured downtown to see what tasty treats were waiting for me.

I have to say, overall, the event was a bit disappointing. Not because of the beer choices or the event planning, but because of the weather. Soon after the evening session began, it started to rain. By 7:30 a steady downpour had forced the entire crowd under the tents. Now, I don't mind some people if they're pressed in close to me. I can handle a few noisy drunks and can even tolerate the occasional wet body. The combination of the three, however, multiplied by hundreds simply became too much and by 8:00 my tolerance of people reached a new low.

That aside, I did manage to find a few gems in the selection...

For a spring event, I was surprised to see so many porters and stouts. I was expecting more spring and summer seasonals. Being a fan of dark beers, I wasn't going to complain. I started off with a Deschutes Black Butte Porter. I've had it before, but it's always a must-sample. I made it a point to enjoy that first, before anything else could spoil the taste. If you've never had it, try it. You'll understand.

Two other porters also impressed. Moon River's Captain's Porter has a light smokiness that I really enjoyed. In the other tent, Skull Coast's Gallows Point Dead Man's Porter was simply awesome. Imagine a chocolate macadamia nut cookie in a glass.

While still in the mood for malty,  I stumbled upon (OK, not literally stumbled... it was still early) North Coast Brewing's Brother Thelonious, a strong, sweet Belgian abbey ale. Highly recommended.

On the lighter side, Fullsteam was pouring a rather tasty Sparkling Pear farmhouse ale. It was light, crisp and refreshing and should be part of everyone's rotation this summer. Speaking of refreshing... my favorite moment of the night was when Sean, Fullsteam's chief mad scientist, handed one patron's glass back to him empty, pointed to a hand-written note on the beer board and explained that they, "didn't have a beer called 'Whatever.'"

Don't be indecisive, people. It's all great beer; you won't make the wrong choice.

My favorite of the night, by far, was Craggie Brewing Co.'s Antebellum Ale. It's a rich, sweet malty beer brewed with ginger and molasses. I enjoyed the spicy, holiday taste. Or, as Kevin Myers put it, "Tastes like Christmas tree." Good stuff. Merry Christmas to me.

So, even despite the miserable weather, I found happiness. Two ounces at a time, so everyone could enjoy.

1 comment:

Barry said...

Fullsteam's pear beer clocked in at 10% abv. Not exactly a session beer but agreed, very tasty.