Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Craft Beer Fest: Not A Disaster

Craft Beer Fest, oh the controversy, lo the speculation.

Philly Craft Beer Fest, despite the monumental eventery of the impending Philly Beer Week, was one of the most talked about events that has come in front of me in a little while. Rightfully so, there are a lot of moral issues up in the air that can be read about in far finer venues than this, but i went, i walked, i talked and darn it- i had fun.

Due to my superhuman ability to arrive early for everything that i do, i got to the Cruise Ship Pier of Philly’s Navy Yard before a bunch of the brewers had even shown up. I made like i belonged and strolled in to take some pics.

A nice set up that was packed to the gills last year. This year got crowded but seemed manageable through and through. What looked like long lines were actually just clumps of people hanging out close to the tables. In retrospect there were a few things i regret not getting to, but i certainly got my fill and then some.

I have to admit, i thought a lot of breweries were going to bring their B games either to stick it to the man or play towards winning new sales (not to say that some breweries didn’t), but there were some awesome beers to be had.

Highlights of the day for me were Lakefront, Ithaca, and Lagunitas. Brooklyn was pouring Extra Brune and Double Chocolate tucked way away in their corner. Best beer of the fest for me was Southampton’s Saison, i can’t wait to get some bottles for home. They were pouring a great lineup of beers (Secret Ale, Biere De Mars, Double White) and were doing a great job of hanging with the big crowd. I had a great Scottish Ale from a guy in a kilt, can't remember the brewery for the life of me though. Arcadia was pouring great beer including Coco Loco, Weyerbacher had Merry Monks and Double Simcoe, Troegs had a Scratchy little secret, Smuttynose was pouring an awesome lineup including the first batch of a Wild Rice Beer, Rock Art had two Barleywines in tow. Unibroue brought the whole brewery with them. I finally got to try the Great Divide Robust Porter which doesn't leave many of their beers left untapped (or i guess uncapped in this situation) for me. Which is exciting, if you're a big nerd.

The list of people who i was asked if i was on Saturday:

Peter Jackson
Michael Jackson
Lew Bryson

So that was the first session. The second session began with a line of police tape and a bunch of thirsty people (seen just in the offing here):

As it turned out, some really kind people talked to some other kind people and i was able to help out Scott and Kim of Legacy Brewing Co. at their table for the second session. This was my post:

Great people, Scott was great to talk to and Kim was a lot of fun to pour with. I got to have a lot of fun pouring beer that I really like. They had kegs of the delicious Midnight Wit, a year round favorite of mine: Hedonism, and finally the big boy, Hoptimus Prime. Their beer was flying the whole time and their spigots spent very little time closed. I couldn’t ask for cooler people to pour for and if you haven’t gotten your hands on any of the Legacy beers you couldn’t have a bigger recommendation coming from this guy. These are full flavored ales that don’t hold anything back made by good folks that love good beer.

So that was the marathon that was Craft Beer Fest. No one ran Chris DePeppe's boxers up the flag pole, the crowd was large and friendly, it'll be back in the same room next year, and it's over- so we can all get on with Philly Beer Week now.

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