This past weekend I attended the 14th Annual Mountain Brewers Beer Fest. I was a beer fest virgin before this event and as is often the case when losing one’s virginity, there was pleasure, pain, embarrassment, exhilaration, parts I simply can’t remember, and a little regret the morning after. It was a certainly a learning experience.
The MBBF is the largest single-day beer fest in the US (according to a local news station, though I have not been able to confirm this fact). In a short 6-hour time period, there were over 5,000 beer lovers sampling over 350 brews from all over the country. This made for a rather raucous experience. Here are some things I learned:
1. If you have breasts, you’re more likely to get served
When the fest was winding down, I decided to have one more. Most of the vendors had run out of beer or were packing up so I decided to try the Michelob Porter. Since this was one of the few booths still serving, it was crowded. After about 10 minutes of trying in vain to get the Michelob man’s attention, I realized that he was ignoring the men and only serving the women. Oh well, it was Michelob so I’m sure it would have sucked anyway.
2. Check the weather.
Beer fests are usually outside so come prepared for any kind of weather. While I did check the weather, I did not account for the nearly constant 20 MPH wind which made what would have been a comfortable 60 degrees feel more like 40. I was only wearing a t-shirt and spent most of the day shivering.
3. Drink water
Drinking water keeps you hydrated and helps lesson the inevitable hangover. I brought a Camelbak hydration pack and there was free water available but it’s hard to remember to drink water when there is an almost endless supply of beer at hand.
4. Fests are not a great place to find new beers
It seems counterintuitive but while you will taste many new beers at a beer fest, it’s hard to tell which ones you really like. The problem is that after a few samples, your palate becomes overwhelmed and it’s difficult to tell if what you are tasting is the beer in hand or a combination of that beer and all of the samples before it. Drinking water between samples helps but not much.
I did taste a couple of beers that piqued my interest enough to make a note to check them out outside of a festival environment: Dragons Breath Dark Hefeweizen by Bayern Brewery in Missoula, Montana and Auld Bogs Breath Scotch Ale by Harmon Brewery in Tacoma, Washington. I’m not sure how available these are outside of the brewery but I’m going to look for them.
Overall, my first time was enjoyable and I’m sure my next fest will be even better.
Special thanks to my DD, who still managed to have fun while resisting the liquid smorgasboard at the fest and allowing me to partake without shame.