More pictures to come.
Since when is a product produced by a big beer company a “craft beer”?
Wow, the Good Beer Festival was a lot of fun!!! Kelli and I sampled so many beers that I’m glad I took some notes. The festival ran on both Saturday October 8th, 2011 and Sunday October 9th, 2011 from 12:30pm to 6:30pm both days. We only went on Saturday and arrived at around 1pm. We decided that next year we are going to make a weekend out of the festival and go both days, doing the 5k hangover race on Sunday morning, as well.
As we made our way through the entrance area we found the event to already be in full swing. There were over 50 craft beers from 25+ breweries waiting for us to enjoy!!! Just past the entrance way and along the back fence were 10 cornhole stations setup for gaming by festival goers that were already in full use. This wasn’t too surprising as the day was already in the mid 70’s with temperatures expected to rise to around 80. WBOC 16 & FOX 21 had a tent with 4 large flat screen TVs showing college football games. There were not too many kids around, but there were enough to let you know that it was family friendly event.
Kelli and I started the one of our local favorites, Dogfish Head. They were close to the entrance and I was craving the Punkin. Kelli went with the 120 minute. We roamed about while enjoying the first of many samples and found a good crowd with shoulder to shoulder action close to main stage that got thinner back towards entrance. There seemed to be a Jovial spirit among festival goers, with everyone enjoying the great day.
It wasn’t long after we arrived at the festival that I had to start removing layers of clothing. We weren’t sure if the the weather was going to hold, so we dressed in several layers, of which the long sleeve layer came off of me within the first hour. In retrospect, I probably should have worn shorts and flip flops, but who knew that an October day in Maryland was going to be so nice?
There were plenty of various vendors selling their goods at the festival. A few sold clothing, and a few more were selling food. Kelli bought me a Good Beer Festival hat to wear. The reason for the hat was because she found out from someone about the festival because they were wearing a hat form last years festival. She thought I, too, should have a hat!!! I in turn bought Kelli not one, but two shirts.
The only downside of all this was that I forgot to bring cash. The onsite ATM charged $3.25 to pull out cash (plus any charges you bank may assess) . It was, however, good to be able to grab some cash once inside the event. I’m not sure how close another ATM would have been, but my guess is it would involve getting in the car and driving to the location.
After a few beer samples we were getting hungry, and this festival had the usual fried food offerings, but there was something I had never had before, an oyster fritter. I was reluctant at first to have one, as I thought they would be a slimey mess to eat, and be too much oyster for one man to take. Boy was I wrong. They were so good we ended up getting a second one. The pepper crust outside that was deep fried to a golden brown easily held the oysters and breading inside in a fantastically delicious treat!!!
There was plenty of music all day long, and the Time Police on the bar stage did a great rendition of Jackson 5’s I want you back. One of the reason we had come to this festival was to see The Electric Company play. We have long followed the band and it’s members though the various iterations of musical groups through the years, and this day was no different. They not only put on a great show, but they let me record one of their songs from the performance for free download!!! Feel free to grab the MP3 file here for your listening pleasure:
We also did a tour of Pemberton Hall. The tour included a brief description of the history of the property, as well as a visit to the rooms within the structure. This would be a good stop for anyone who is a history buff, but not too interesting for others. We ended up leaving the tour early to get back to beer drinking.
Outside there was a gentleman dressed in period costume brewing beer as would have been done in colonial times. He explained the processes that would have been required using the now archaic methods of brewing. There was no beer to sample, but I would have liked to have tasted the end product of what he was making.
With the end of the day coming at this point, we decide to slow our drinking and work towards heading home. Overall the event was a really fun time, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys craft beers.
I interviewed a few people over the course of the day, and here are some notable quotes:
-Brian McDavid, Fenwick Island, DE
What do you plan on trying next?
Whatever is closest to me
-Nathan W. Clendenen – Ocean City, MD
What Beer are you drinking?
Sierra Nevada Tumbler. I don’t get a chance to drink nearly as much Sierra Nevada as I used to in the past. It’s delicious. It’s a little more complex.
-Corlie Brice – Crisfield, MD
What are you drinking right now?
Double pumpkin Sam Adams
What do you think of that so far?
It is delicious
Have you had any of the other pumpkins today?
I’ve had three other pumkins and this is by far the most pumpkin-y
What were the other pumpkins you had?
I had the blue moon and then I had another one I don’t even remember, maybe, flying dog and it would make sense the double pumpkin has more pumpkin in it.
-Tony Shipyan – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
What brought you out to the event today?
These guys here, they kind of led me in on it, they’re kind of beer aficionados
-Josh Owens – Milton DE
What is your favorite beer fest to go to?
This one is looking pretty good. The one in the Poconos is pretty crowded and you can’t get around but this is pretty nice being wide open and just being able to walk up.
Have there been any standouts for you?
The Duck Duck Goose was really good, that and the 1554 by Fat Tire.
-Marc Gloyd – Milton, DE
You’re wearing a beer advocate shirt. Are you associated with beer advocate?
No, I’m just an alcoholic.
-Sonny Martin – Millville, DE
Right now you are enjoying the Hoptopber what do you think?
It’s got a slight little piney after taste.
Do you typically like the hopped beers?
No I’m typically a pale ale guy, but this is nice, I might have to get a full pint of this. This is sweet.
Kelli’s new favorite quote seen at the festival: Everyone needs something to believe in and I believe I need another beer.
Here are the list of Beers Kelli and I had for the day (with and notes we may have made at the time of sample). I may have missed some of Kelli’s beers because we were separated for a while, but this is most of them. I may have missed one or two on my list, but I definitely had all 17 listed.
–Dogfish Head – 120
–Stone – Arrogant Bastard (Hoppy, Medium Colored, I liked it)
–Oskar Blues Brewery – Hemp Ale (Kelli liked it because it was cold, the perfect temperature, Kelli like it because it’s easy to drink).
–Oskar Blues Brewery – Stillwater Artisanal
–Evolution – #3 (delicious, perfectly hopped) Hopped at a rate of over 2% per barrel, great flavor, perfectly chilled temperature.
–Sierra Nevada – Tumbler (I think it’s good, definitely a brown ale) Amidst all these crafts brews it’s kinda funny that Sierra, who’s one of the best well known beers has no one in line and they only have 2 beers to show today.
–Sierra Nevada – Torpedo (Kelli, as a hophead I like it, but they are sort of falling a little under my radar today because they’re so many other great beers here, but still you can’t not be happy with a little Sierra in your life)
–Evolution – Jacques Au Lantern (I think my glass is so messed up from so many different beers that the smell might be a little off, but the taste is great. It’s my favorite kind of flavor in a pumpkin beer because you can taste the spice and they’re actually not advertising it as a pumpkin beer. They’re advertising it more as a fall seasonal with spices and pumpkin. They’re not really directly calling it that)
–Sierra Nevada – Torpedo
–Dogfish Head – Punkin
–Ommegang – Hennepin (tasted like a Belgium wheat, Not a big fan of it, hoping to find something better)
–Magic Hat – Hex (Kelli says I got a nice size pour)
–Oskar Blues Brewery – Hemp Ale (Definitely a brown ale that doesn’t taste overly brown, actually has a nice flavor to it)
–Oskar Blues Brewery – Stillwater Artisanal (because we were already standing next to it) Didn’t like it. Bad lemonade. Dumped it out.
–Eastern Shore Brewing Company – Duck Duck Goose (brown ale. Very Dark. Can’t see through it holding it to the Sun)
–Evolution – Lucky 7 porter (lighter side, not very heavy which is working out very well on a day like today)
–Sierra Nevada – Tumbler (Autumn Brown ale, as you would expect from SN a quality product, not too heavy, not too light, just a perfect balance of taste)
–Sierra Nevada – Torpedo (as an IPA lover, this beer is delicious. It’s a little more heavy than their pale ale, full of that hopped flavor that you love)
–Evolution – Summer Seasonal (no nose or I’ve had a lot of beer today. The flavor is mild, like a heavy pale ale that you drink all day),
–Evolution – Pumpkin Ale – (I don’t like it at all. It is overly infused with flavor and I don’t feel like it’s a natural flavored beer. It just has that artificially injected flavor to it)
–Sam Adams – Double Pumpkin ale (not much of a nose, it is, however, full of pumpkin flavor. Almost over-pumpkin-ed, but certainly enjoyable)
–Fat Tire – 1554 (very dark brown ale. Thick red muddy color, nothing on the nose, a Chris beer for sure) This may be a stand out for those who like brown ales, but I prefer the lighter brown ales.
–Stone – Arrogant Bastard –
–Yards Brewing Co – brawler ale – Brown ales ( I have found some good brown ales, and this one is not good. A sour flavor that rides on the back of your tongue) I dumped it out
–16 mile brewing – Amber sun (good on a day like today. Sun in the name is indicative of the environment in which it should be drank)
–Sierra Nevada – Torpedo
–Fat Tire – Hoptober
On a cold and wet day Kelli and I headed to Fell’s Point for the 45th annual Fell’s Point Fun Festival. The festival took place Saturday and Sunday Oct 1 & 2 from 11am-7pm, with us arriving on Sunday around 2pm. While the street vendor section of the festival was partially crowded, the 98rock/Budweiser Beer Garden was nearly empty. There were a total of 6 beer booths, with 3 of them shut down and not even serving beer. The beer that was available was limited to Anheuser-Busch InBev brands. There was Bud Light, Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Dominion Hop Mountain Pale Ale.
I was curious how a craft beer like Dominion Hop Mountain Pale Ale of Old Dominion made it onto the taps of the Bud Light truck, so when I got home I did some quick research. It turns out that Anheuser-Busch owns a stake in the company. From the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Dominion_Brewing_Company the following is stated:
“Anheuser-Busch’s purchase stake gave them no control of either of the two breweries, nor any input or influence on brewery recipes, nor oversight of any day-to-day management — AB’s interest solely resides in the distribution side of the two breweries’ business using AB-favored distributors, entirely focused on competing with SABMillerCoors “craft brand” Blue Moon.”
So there you have it, another ruse from big beer to make you think you’re getting an independent product when in fact you putting more money in their coffers. Of course, with no other options (no outside beer allowed and all beer had to be purchased in the Beer Garden), I went with the Hop Mountain Pale Ale. It was a heavy attempt an an IPA that I otherwise wouldn’t bother with outside of no other options. I won’t do a full review, but I will give the beer a 3.5/5 stars. It’s an OK craft beer, but tasted like the flavor was injected into the beer.
To accompany the beer there was plenty of live music. We arrived just in time to see The Niki Barr Band. She did her best to entertain the 50 or so people in the Beer Garden. It was tough, however, as the beer vendors were on the opposite side of the parking lot from the stage, and most seemed intent on staying closer to the beer than the stage.
In between bands I found an odd sight of no lines for the spot-a-pots. I think the cold and rain really spoiled the day and kept many of the festival goers away.
Next up on stage was Can’t Hang. They managed to get most of the crowd to come to the stage, and celebrated at the end by bringing as many people as they could on stage.
After seeing The Niki Barr Band and Can’t Hang we left the Beer Garden to see the rest of the Festival. There weren’t too many people left, or maybe there never were too many people to begin with, but there were plenty of vendors selling their goods. We ended our Festival experience with a few orders of mussels from Bertha’s Mussels.
The 6th Annual Dogfish Head Dash races started at 8am sharp with 1810 registered runners. We arrived early to make sure we got good parking, which didn’t seem to be as big of an issue this year. I finished the 10K in 58:09, while Kelli finished ahead of me in 56:18. The post race party started at 9am to allow for many of the 10k runners to return. There were lots of beers on tap, including the 60 minute IPA and the Punkin. I heard a rumor that there were 90 kegs to cover the 1810 runners plus other paid guests.
There were games to play, like the keg relay, but this year I didn’t see those events (I most have been too busy drinking my beer). There was, however, live music provided by Reedo and the Front Porch Offering. They are a band local to the DelMarVa Peninsula. Intermittently between songs various awards and announcements were made, including the fact that the race raised $33,500 for the Delaware chapter of The Nature Conservancy — more than $100,000 to date from all the years of the Dogfish Head Dash.
There was also a costume contest for the runner with the best use of recycled material as a costume. The winner of that contest was won by a women who dressed in trash (pictured below) she had picked up from the side of the road. Well done in the spirit of the race!!!!
Tours of the brewery were overflowing with people all day as runners came and went from the brewery store. Several items for sale in the store sold out, including a women’s running shirt that Kelli had her eyes on. I was tempted to get a few things myself, but the line was long, and I needed another beer.
Speaking of the beer, this is the one spot in the post race ceremonies that could use a little work. This year, as in years past, the lines have been really long for the one beer truck on hand. I know they don’t want people drinking too much, so maybe it’s a built in throttle, but it would be nice to have at least two beer trucks, if not three. This way I could spend more time enjoying the event, rather than waiting in line.
The overall winner of the men’s 5K was Greg Cauller of Wilmington, DE with a time of 17:29.
The overall winner of the women’s 5K was Elizabeth Butterly of Milford, DE with a time of 20:25.
The overall winner of the men’s 10K was Matt Flynn of Media, PA with a time of 34:28.
The overall winner of the women’s 10K was Lisa Jalot of Wilmington, DE with a time of 42:54.
Registration for the 2012 Dogfish Head dash will take place in April of 2012.
The crab soup contest at EMBC was once again a huge success this year. This year’s event was in an effort to raise money for the flood victims on Main Street in Historic Ellicott City, MD. Overall there were 9 entrants that were mostly either a standard Maryland crab soup or a cream of crab soup. The Judges were given samples to taste in a predetermined order and then graded the soups on such items as appearance and taste.
For the spectators, there was a raffle with proceeds going to the flood victims. When the contest was done, everyone at the bar was allowed to sample as much as they wanted of the remaining soup. I made sure to get a sample of all that was available while enjoying some of the great beers the brew on premises. Kelli Habicht (top row, second from left in group shot) won the overall contest and the Guitar signed by the members of the band Drive By Truckers. The big prize for the raffle was a box of beer and wine.