Even before I was halfway through perusing the program, however, I knew I was in trouble. Sure, there were some easy cuts to make but many, way too many beers that sounded interesting. By the time I got done with my first round list there were 23 beers. That's still plenty but factoring in that I'll be going with friends there's a chance I'll get through them, but not without taking the next step.
That next step was to look at the listing of where those beers would be found (thanks to the wonderfully handy tent/trailer listing in the program). Really geeking out I grouped them by trailer, by general group (fruit-containing or IPA, the two groups the vast majority of the beers on my hit list fell into) and then tried to plan a low ABV to high ABV, lighter flavor to more heavily flavored path that didn't have me bouncing between trailers like some beer crazy pinball.
In the end I had to cut the list to a top 16 (the most I could fit on one side of my cheat sheet), allocating the remaining seven to the B Side. Those interested can check out the full game plan; for the rest just interested in my top five, the ones I'd be really sad if I left the festival without having, they are....drum roll....
- Fitger's Hoppulujah IPA - This MN transplant is looking forward to having beer from this fine brewery again.
- Gigantic Who Ate All the Pies? - Strawberry. Raspberry. Gose. Enough said.
- Paradise Creek Huckleberry Pucker - I'm hoping for hugely pucker.
- Sixpoint Barrel Aged 3Beans Baltic Porter - A fan of regular 3Beans, it has the potential to be great.
- Old Market Cherry Derive - Their fruit beers have hit the right notes for me in the past, may the trend continue.