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.