Archive for the Festival Category

EBF: Extremely Belated Festival-Review

Posted in Festival, Jake, Travel on March 30, 2011 by gluttonybrewing

It’s been quite a while since I posted about Phil, Brez, and I going to the Extreme Beer Festival. It took a while to get the pictures after the fest, and I’m lazy so put the two together and you get one very belated post. The good thing is that we’ve been busy with many things beer related lately. I put together a schedule for the rest of the year, plotting out brew days and competitions. We’re looking to enter a beer in our first BJCP-sanctioned competition in May, and planning on going all grain in mid-July. More info about that will follow, so for now let’s get into the fest…

The drive up went smoothly and we got to our hotel a bit early. We had to wait about 45 minutes to get the room, so what better way to start out a weekend of beer drinking than by drinking beer? We headed to the hotel bar and ordered up a round of Sam Adams Noble Pils. By the time we were done our room was ready, so we dropped our stuff off and went to get dinner before the festival. We chose a beer bar that had good food called Bukowski’s. I ordered a Narragansett (New England’s go to cheap lager) to go with my meal, and it was surprisingly the least disappointing beer between the ones we each ordered.

After waiting roughly 30 minutes to get our checks, we headed to the Cyclorama for what was certainly going to be an outrageously long line for Night of the Barrels. We were fortunate to get there with only about 50 people in front of us so we had our pick of the litter right off of the bat. The first beer we tried was The Bruery’s Black Tuesday – an 18% ABV Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. This beer had a huge blast of flavor with massive chocolate and bourbon notes – it was easily one of the best of the weekend. The venue quickly filled in and felt very crowded. Lines were virtually non-existant so that you had to essentially push yourself to the front of the line. Fortunately this calmed down a bit towards the end of the session.

Other highlights of the NotB included Lost Abbey Double Framboise de Amarosa, Sam Adams Utopias, and Firestone Walker 13/14. The biggest disappointment, which is now the worst beer I have ever drank, was the aptly named Sam Adams WTF. I don’t plan on detailing the flavors of any other of the beers we had, but this deserves special attention. It poured a bright red color in our tasting glasses and smelled of Pine-Sol. The taste was a mixture of Robitussin and some sort of cleaning product. After two small sips I had to pour it into a near by bucket. Later in the night, that area began reeking of pine…apparently no one else really liked it either.

Another great part of NotB was the free food. I had previously heard of what festival-goers call “crack waffles”, and I have to say they live up to their name. The waffles from The Waffle Cabin were the best Belgian waffles I had ever had in my life, and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to eat any others without suffering a severe disappointment. There was also a stand that was making grilled cheese. Towards the end of the night they made grilled sandwiches that had Fluff, Nutella, and Reese’s Pieces which were amazing as well.

The Saturday sessions were a great time as well with a lot of great beer. Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merkin was a phenomenal Oatmeal Stout, Ithaca LeBleu was delicious, and nothing was very disappointing. I got a high five from Tomme Arthur (head brewer of Lost Abbey) when I told him that the Double Framboise we had had the previous night put a Belgian version of the beer to shame. Although there were more people, everything seemed more orderly and less crowded on Saturday.

Overall, this was a really fun festival and I would definitely go back. I wish they’d get a larger place to hold it, but once the first rush of people from the line settled down it wasn’t too bad to get beer. Perhaps we’ll make the trip to Boston again next year.

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Extreme Beer Festival 2011

Posted in Festival, Jake, Travel on March 10, 2011 by gluttonybrewing

Excuse the backwards images, Phil uses a Mac

I haven’t posted anything in a while.  Basically lately I’ve been spending too much time drinking beer, and not enough time writing about it.  However, that is going to change in the near future.  This weekend, Phil Harris, Mike Beresky, and I are driving up to Boston to attend the Extreme Beer Festival.

Friday night is one session called Night of the Barrels.  There are going to be over 60 beers that have been aged in various types of barrels – bourbon, tequila, wine, etc.  And on Saturday there are two sessions (we are going to both) this restriction is lifted and there will be over 100 different beers to try.  Some people have called us crazy for attempting to drink high alcohol beer for 7 hours, but I’m not too worried about it.

After the fest I’ll definitely be reviewing the event as a whole, in addition to probably 5 of the best beers from both Friday and Saturday.  Phil and Brez might stop in to review some of their favorites as well.  I really urge you to check out the list of beers, because this is going to be one of the best and biggest beer fests of the year: http://beeradvocate.com/ebf/   I’ll leave you all with this sexy picture of Phil with our tickets:

Definition of erotic

Beer Festival – Zeno’s: Welcome to the Funk House

Posted in Festival, Jake, Sour with tags , on February 17, 2011 by gluttonybrewing

So I’ve been having some problems with trying to get the pictures from Saturday’s brew day off of the camera, but hopefully I’ll be able to get them up along with the article up this weekend.  I had planned to make this post after the one on Brew Day, but I figured I’d put it up now since the other post is being delayed.

In the most recent issue of Beer Advocate magazine, Zeno’s Pub of State College, PA was named #15 on the list of the top places in the world to have a pint.  Being the place where I learned to love craft beer, it will probably always be my favorite bar no matter where I go.  If you ever have the opportunity to go here, you should.  I’ve been going to Zeno’s since the first week I was 21 so I’ve been to many of their beer festivals, but this one is a little special.  I love sour and funky beers so I was really excited when they announced this fest.  This fest was $20 for dinner and 10 samples from this list:

Festival List

It was a little disappointing to see only a few traditional sours on the list, but given the cost of the beers it’s understandable.  I would have personally paid more to have more lambics and gueuzes on the list, but the point of the fests that they put on is to introduce people to new beers.  I decided to pass on the Avec les bon Voeux de la Brasserie Dupont, Ommegang Hennepin, and Victory Helios because I had previously had them.  The only other beer on the list that I had had was the Drie Fontein Doesjel, but that beer was so fantastic that I had to have it again.  Most of the beers were good, some great, and others underwhelming.  Here are some of the ones I tried:

Drie Fontein Doesjel1. Drie Fontein Doesjel: This beer poured a beautiful hazy orange color with no head.  While technically not to style for a gueuze, this beer is not carbonated.  I prefer all of my beers at a lower carbonation level than most, and this is especially true for gueuzes.  Fortunately I have only come across one that is as highly carbed as the style guidelines suggest.  The nose is full of fantastic funk and sourness.  The flavor includes the funkiness from the nose with added barnyard and lemon characteristics.  There is a surprisingly high level of body that lends itself well to the rest of the beer.  Great gueuze.  4.5/5.0

Lost Abbery Red Barn2. Lost Abbey Red Barn: Probably the best looking beer of the fest.  Pours a pale gold with a nice cap of white foam.  The aroma is yeasty with fruity and phenolic notes that are typical for a saison.  The taste is a blend of sweet and sour which isn’t very normal for the style and it finishes somewhat dry, but not as dry as I’d like.  The carbonation level is spot on and helps to keep the mouthfeel from being too thin.  Probably my favorite of the saisons that I had at the fest, even though it wasn’t the best stylistic example.  4.0/5.0

Duchesse Kriek3. Duchesse Kriek: This beer pours a very pretty light ruby red with a small layer of head.  There is a light hint of pie cherry sourness in the nose with a little barnyard funk.  The flavor is the same as the nose minus the cherry, plus a little vinegar, and a lot of sweetness.  The level of sweetness in this beer is probably more acceptable for an Oud Bruin than a Flanders Red and it’s a little off-putting.  There isn’t nearly enough cherry character for this to have Kriek in the name, and to be honest it reminds me a lot of the normal Duchesse de Bourgogne.  Not a bad beer, but this missed the mark for me a bit.  3.5/5.0

Overall, this was a very interesting festival.  I know that a lot of the people there had never tasted a beer with brett or sourness before, so I hope it served to open some eyes.  As a side note, we have a lot of interesting things coming up in the near future.  Stay tuned.