Just about a month ago you heard me talk about my fourth Firkin Fest in
. Yesterday was my first Firkin Fest in Minnesota . The two were vastly different in number of firkins and number of attendees but this one held its own. Portland, at the Green Dragon
Going into the festival I was skeptical how far my $30 ticket and the eight six-ounce tasting tickets that came with it would take me. However with only a three hour window to drink I figured that might end up being just about right and leave me in a better place than the all-you-can-drink style of festival. As it turned out there were only 22 firkins rather than the 30 the event had touted so between Mag and I we were able to sample the majority of offerings.
Top Three Beers
- Brewer’s Union Local 180 Au Naturel, a one grain, one hop 3.2% ABV session beer that would be perfect on a warm summer day
- Vertigo Brewing Oatmeal Porter, a 5.6% wine barrel aged porter
- Issaquah Brewhouse Contraband IPA whose 60 IBUs packed a wonderful stank
Beer festivals are about the beer, but there are always other aspects that can make or break the experience. This one had two that made it memorable.
#1 – Having a brewer/owner pouring his beer
One of my favorite parts of the day was talking with Ted Sobel, owner and brewer of Brewer’s Union Local 180. The lack of brewers or very knowledgeable brewery representatives pouring at festivals has been one of the most disappointing things about festivals I’ve been to in
to date. For reasons I’ve yet to understand, there are generally clueless volunteers manning the kegs. I don’t mean clueless as a slight against these folks, as I’ve volunteered myself, but clueless due to the OLCC rules outlawing drinking while pouring. So if the person pouring hasn’t had the beer before, or this particular version of it, they are little help other than their ability to convey liquid into the sampling vessel. Portland
#2 – Glass sampling glasses
I understand that glass glasses pose a multitude of hazards that the widely used plastic handled mugs don’t but c’mon, does it not occur to anyone how vastly different the experience is when drinking quality beer out of glass is? Plastic is for keggers full of non-discerning folks who will happily slurp up plastic glass after plastic glass of BMC. Give craft beer lovers some credit, and an appropriate glass to sample out of.
All in all, I’m happy to say it was $30 and three hours well spent.