Once inside, I wasted no time following my route. I took a short break to watch the award ceremony for the Smoked beer category, because I was confident that the local Yazoo SUE would take a medal. Sure enough, I was right and they won a silver! Congrats to Linus and crew! Let's not forget Blackstone Brewery, who also received a Silver medal for the St Charles Porter.
There were so many excellent beers that I don't think I can mention them all, but I can give you the highlights. New Glarus is always a staple for fruit beers, but Rocky Mountain Brewery was a pleasant new discovery. Da Yoopers (cherry), Tathonha Blueberry Ale, and Eat A Peach were excellent fruit dessert beers. The Tahonha tasted like liquid blueberry pie!
Some respected beer aficionado friend recommended Bellingham based Chuckanut Brewery. I sampled the Helles and the Pilsener, and they were outstanding. These folks know how to make a good lager, and I don't say that very often.
For Imperial Stouts, Goose Island Coffee Bourbon County Stout did not disappoint. It had a thick and oily mouthfeel with intense flavors of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, and mild coffee. I think my favorite in that category was the Fifty Fifty Imperial Stout, brewed in Truckee, CA. It was perfectly balanced and had a more sessionable mouthfeel- just the way I like it. It sort of reminded me of North Coast Old Rasputin.
My favorite hoppy beer of the session goes to Bear Republic Ryevalry, which ended up getting a medal. The oddity goes to Short's Spruce Pilsener. Think of a hoppy pilsener with tons of spruce needles, or what I referred to as "Christmas tree in a glass."
I had a great trip. I thank my awesome wife for holding down the fort and my good friend Shannon for providing a place to crash. I met many new beer aficionados and tried several outstanding beers. Anyone who is a lover of craft beer owes it to themselves to make a trip to this Festival. You won't regret it.
Posted by Smitty at 7:52 PM