Thursday, June 19, 2008

Help my buddy at the beer festival

Whoops, I meant to post this earlier this week for my friend, hopefully I'm not too late (sorry Todd – between having to cover the Governor's Mansion fire for the Chronicle and getting really sick, it's been a busy week for me). Todd is going to the American Craft Beer Fest tomorrow and Saturday and he wants some advice on what to try. Are any of you familiar with the beers listed on their website? Todd says: "My current beer wish list for the American Craft Beer Fest has more than 70 brews on it. My best estimate is that I have the capacity for about 25 samples. As you know I prefer beers with a milder IBU of 30 or less. Hopefully your brilliant blogees can point me down the path of salvation."

Todd also tends to like things of the Belgian persuasion. Leave your suggestions in the comments section.


Machuca said...

Brewery Ommegang - Try the ones not available in TX
Cooperstown, NY /
Ommegang Biere de Mars (Funkhouse Amber Ale; 7.5%)
Ommegang Ommegeddon (Funkhouse Saison; 8%)

Brooklyn Brewery - The Hopenweisse is a must!
Brooklyn, NY /
Brooklyn BLAST! (San Diego Ale; 8.2%)
Brooklyn Extra Brune (Belgian Dark Abbey Ale; 8.5%)
Brooklyn Local 1 (Bottle Refermented Belgian Strong Golden Ale; 9%)
Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfenweisse (Dry Hopped Wheatbock; 8.5%)

Portsmouth Brewery
Portsmouth, NH /
Bottle Rocket India Pale Ale (American IPA; 6.5%)
Dirty Blonde (Golden Ale; 4.5%)
Lupe Wild Thang (Pale Ale /w Wild Rice; 5.5%)
Saison (Belgian Farmhouse Ale; 5.75%)

Sixpoint Craft Ales
Brooklyn, NY /
Apollo (American Wheat ALe; 5.2%)
Emasculator (Doppelbock; 6.8%)
Hop Obama (Indefinable; 5.2%)
Mason's Black Wheat (American Wheat Ale; 5.6%)

Smuttynose Brewing Co. - Their robust porter is perfect. They may not have it at the show, but buy some at a corner store.s
Portsmouth, NH /
Maibock (German Maibock; 7.8%)
Smuttynose Abby Single (Belgian Single; 5.8%)
Smuttynose IPA (American IPA; 6.9%)
Summer Weizen (Belgian Witbier; 5.8%)

Stoudts Brewing Co. - My favorite PA brewery.
Adamstown, PA /
Stoudt's Blonde Double MaiBock (Maibock; 7%)
Stoudt's Pilsner (German Pilsner; 4.7%)
Stoudt's Weizen (Hefeweizen; 5%)

Victory Brewing Co. - Try the ones not available in TX
Downingtown, PA /

Lee said...

Good work, Machuca! (However, the "try the ones not available in TX" advice doesn't really apply to Todd — although we're hoping he and his family move back to Austin someday, they're currently residing in Cleveland.)

assurbanipaul said...

Tell your friend to man up and forget about lists.

Beer fests are about enjoying the experience and discovery, beer in the moment, not about trying to hit only new stuff you've not had before.

Talk to people attending and find out what the crowd likes. Talk to the brewers and get their recommendations on-site. Abandon the list at home and enjoy the moment. Loosen up and relax instead of chasing the dragon.

Leave yourself open for serendipidous discovery.

Bill said...

Whoa! Haven't these people heard of Oregon?

Todd, don't get your hopes up about Widmer's Belgian. Not offensive, but bland. Their NW Red is good, if you're man enough.

Rogue's Shakespeare Stout is always good; haven't had the Imperial Pilsner, but I would try it.

Despite your fear of IBUs, you must try everything from Port Brewing, just for the bragging rights around beer geeks. In that vein, I would also selectively check out Brooklyn, Oskar Blues, and Southern Tier.

Allagash Black sounds interesting to me, you'd probably like any of their Belgians. Lagunitas 13 is awesome, again, if you're tough enough.

Finally, I would try the Michelob Ales (not the Lagers), just to say I had.

Todd said...

I appreciate all of the great suggestions.

The highlights for me included:

- getting to see Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver in a bitchin' western shirt embroidered with hops. kudos on the Extra Brune

- seeing how truly freaky the Magic Hat folks are. They had flower syrups to add to beer post pour. I had the Berliner Weisse w/ woodruff flower syrup. It had a foul nose, but tasted like Lucky Charms. Just plain weird.

- feeling totally violated by Harpoon's Levithan Triticus. I don't even feel comfortable talking about it.

- I got more gentlemanly poling by the Port Brewing Co. 2nd Anniversary Ale.

- Sebago Brewing Co. Single Batch Series barleywine was my personal favorite. Suave, yet strong - the George Clooney of beers.

The fest itself was well run with a lot of excellent breweries there. Food was reasonably priced, as was the Beer Advocate merchandise. Unfortunately it was held in a convention hall, which immediately made it vastly inferior to any outdoor event.

Personally, I came to the realization that I like to relax and savor my beer. This is kind of counter to the festival mentality. It's always a mad dash to try as many new things before they run out. Also, my palate gets desensitized after a bit. Kind of like when smelling perfumes or picking out ties - after the fifth one, a lot of them kind of run together. That's why I didn't rag on any of the beers. In 3 hours I tasted around 40 beers. It was fun, but I'm glad to be back home enjoying my beers one at a time.

Po said...

I picked up a Chronicle today at our HEB and was happy to see a feature on Texas microbrews. Once I got home and had the groceries all put away, I grabbed the Chronicle, headed to the sofa, and quickly turned to page 42 to read the article.
Paragraph one had me a bit bemused. Funny (I thought) this writer has a buddy who lives up in Portland just like we do!

Then it struck me.

Great article, by the way!