Flying Saucer Fall Beer Festival

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I have been to many many beer festivals. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with them. I love sampling the beers and hanging with fellow beer aficionados. I hate the crowds, long lines, obnoxious drunks, and event planning oversights. The good folks at Obsidian Public Relations offer me some media passes, so I brought along my notebook and a beer- loving photographer (even though I was going to attend anyway). Keep in mind that I was only at the event from 12 to 3pm. Here are my thoughts based on my personal criteria:
  • Event Scheduling: Excellent. Let's face it, fall is the best time of year for an outdoor festival. Our summers are way too hot for a beer festival. Eliminating the multi-session concept and having the event open from 12 pm to 10 pm  was more convenient and flexible.
  • Lines: There were not any. Not for entry, not for beer, and not to use the rest room. 
  • Cost: Very reasonable for a beer festival. Admission was free, but you could purchase a $20 tasting card, which enabled you to sample ten 4 ounce beers. For $1 more, you had the option to purchase a pint glass which enabled you to a 16 ounce pour at the "Full Pint" tent after every 3rd beer sampled. Tokens for pints and food were also available.
  • Beer Selection: Good. 24 beers from US craft brewers covering a nice range of beer styles. I think the only weakness in the line up was the lack of another solid Belgian style offering. There were six tents with four beers each- Local, West US, East US, High Gravity, Captain Keith's Picks, and a Full Pint Tent. I appreciated the absence of macro breweries and "alco pops" like Mike's Hard Lemonade. I seemed to remember a mention of rare or out-of-market beers in an email, but none of those made an appearance during my visit.
  • Food: I can't really comment since I did not eat. But it looked good!
  • Facilities: Good. This was just a typical tent set up in the parking lot, but there was plenty of room to walk around. They also provided a large tent for seating. Rest rooms were available inside, as well as porta potties outside. I had no problem getting water to cleanse my palate and rinse my glass. 
  • Staff: Friendly and personable. They all appeared to be having fun and enjoying the festival
  • Attendance: A nice mix of age groups. The attendees were very civil and outgoing. It was about at one third capacity when I left.
I believe that a good beer festival is about quality, not quantity. Every beer listed on the tasting card was a quality-made offering. Larger festivals often only give 1 or 2 ounce pours and a cheap plastic mug. This minimizes the olfactory and tasting experience. Flying Saucer provided 4 ounce pours in a glass taster, which was far more optimal for beer tasting.

I am not sure if this was intentional or not, but the event planners removed the annoyances assoicated with many beer festivals. I raise my glass to a successful event. I shall return next year. For those that were there after 3pm, please post your comments (good or bad).

1 comment:

Rustyham said...

I was going to go and not drink, but they wouldn't let me in unless I bought the sampling card. They said it was because the turnout was so high. It sucked, but I still went into Flying Saucer Proper and had a flight.

Great place, but I would have loved to walk around in the gated area.