BrewFest Was A Success! (Kind Of)

Waterbury BrewFest (YouTube Clip)Yours Truly

So I managed to not only survive the Beerfest, but skillfully avoided getting far too loaded to drive home (unlike the shmoe who got a takedown 15 seconds after I took his picture)

Overall I had a good time.  Here’s my take:

Liked:

  • Samples, samples, samples.  They didn’t have everything I was hoping for, but I found a few new drafts  I’ll have to get again.  Schmaltz He~Brew ReJewvenator, Sea Dog Pumpkin, Heavy Seas Hang Ten Doppelbock, and Ballast Point Black Marlin Porter.
  • Getting to talk to the brewers (when available).  When the lines were lighter and they weren’t too busy refilling they were more than willing to talk up their lines.  Good to hear more Ten Penny Special Reserve is on the way, and I’ll be on the lookout for new River Horse shortly.Buddy!!

Didn’t Like:

  • The entry line.  What’s the point of buying online if they lump you allWaiting to get in... together anyway?  Sure I was guaranteed to get in, but after I pay an online handling fee, I’m saving all of $2 to get in the door 20 minutes after Johnny-On-The-Spot (who had a separate shorter line)
  • Not enough beer! I was hoping to try more of the beers I wanted to sample, but didn’t want to commit to a whole 6 pack to if they were not what I was expecting.  Maybe I was hoping it would be more like an entire free beer store, but it was more like a smaller selection.  I was hoping for Sam Adams Big Beers, Harpoon Leviathan, or the Sam Smiths Yorkshire Stingo.  Better yet I wanted to try the lead product from Blue Point, their Toasted Lager.  Sam Adams brought only sample A and sample B for a taste test, Harpoon had nothing more than their usual rack stuff, and all I saw of Sam Smiths was a single empty bottle of porter.  Blue Point ran out, as did many of the brewers barely half-way through the fest.  There were a few others in the Belgium tent I’d never seen before, but what good is that if I don’t see them in my usual stores?
  • Pourers without a clue. While many of the brewers knew of what was coming, or what made their beer so darn good, there were at least 3 that were little more than a man with a bottle who was told to keep pouring until he ran out.  And they knew nothing about the beer, the lines, or even where the brewery was based sometimes.  I wanted to get some info and was disappointed too many brewers just wanted to wing it and hoped the samples would speak for themselves.
  • Where’s the schwag!? One brewer brought a single TShirt for display behind him.  Others had plenty, but you had to shell out $20 a pop.  A few had stickers or product line flyers, but too many had nothing more than beer coasters to take home.  How about a discounted “fest-only” hat?  Would it kill them to have a “guess the amount of hops in the jar” game for some glassware?

Some drunkMaybe I had expectations too high, or maybe I had them just about right.  In either case I still had a good time, though I’m hoping they can improve it for next year.  My taste buds will have gotten sharper too so look out!  If it all follows as it has been, it’s been growing nearly double in size every year.  I say the more the merrier :)

Just try to get home a little straighter than this guy.

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