For homebrewer Stacy Collins, this year makes his second visit to this annual event. The start of the event for the general public was Thursday September 17th, with the first of three tastings that began at 5:30PM each day.
Q: How was the event?
SC: Great, of course. Being greeted by an octet of Scottish musicians really stood out. SIx on pagpipes, and two drummers, and all dressed in Scottish garb. As you entered the festival area you could see how the floor was set up by regions. And the breweries were set up alphabetically. So Allagash was easy to find, and it was on my list of booths to visit. The Allagash Stout was beautiful.This had a licorice character, and a medium full body. New Glarus Raspberry Tart was something else. Very refreshing with the right amount of sourness.
Q: What was the most memorable beer for you?
SC: There was a Baltic Porter from Kansas. I can’t recall the brewery name though. Also, Allagash Flluxus (sic) 2010. I can’t recall what style it was marketed as. There wasn’t a bad beer I tried.
Q: Did you folllow the program map, or just your liver?
SC: We just wandered. If there were too many people in one spot, or in line, you just drift around. There was a long line for Russian River, but I’ve been there before (picture above). Also Dogfish Head had a long line. And I mean 40 people or so waiting to try their beers. I tried two of the three beers that Boston Beer Company had to offer with their Longshot Competition for homebrewers. I guess that last one was so popular it ran out before I got to try it.
Q: What places did you specifically seek out?
SC: Allagash, New Glarus, and that brewery in Hawaii that does the Coconut Porter, Maui Brewing Company. I even tried Pabst Blue Ribbon as I’ve never had it before. The macro-breweries didn’t have long lines.
Q; Did you attend all the public sessions?
SC: All of them, plus the AHA members session on Saturday afternoon. I didn’t leave early!
Q: How was this different from your first visit in 2007?
SC: Well since taking the BJCP Exam and the preparatory class, I’m more in tune to flavors,and detecting flaws. I did spot a few beers with DMS that I educated my friend with. And I’m more in tune to styles other than IPAs and American Pale Ales. I had some wonderful sour beers, and wood-aged beers. Also, I tried a few Kölsch beers.
For a list of the winners, click here. And stay tuned for the second half of this interview.
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