Day one of the Organic Beer Fest is behind us, a scorcher at that, with another warm day on tap before we come into perfect beer festival weather this weekend. Before we get into the beers let me just say that if you have the time and can bear the heat, go today. Yesterday the festival was sparsely populated and I expect today's heat will keep those with lesser constitutions away until the weekend, meaning a beer festival that feels like it's for you, not you and hundreds (or thousands) of friends.
Enough about the heat, let's talk beer! Of my list of 17 beers I had planned to try there were a few hiccups in the plan - two didn't arrive (Dogwood Brewing Organic IPA and Wandering Aengus Golden Russet), two were more expensive than I was willing to pay (Pinkus-Muller Organic Munster Alt and Samuel Smith's Organic Strawberry, two and three tokens respectively, and being poured out of bottles) and a fifth that I was on the fence about that a friend confirmed was fairly true to style and I was pretty sure wouldn't be my cup of tea (Coin Toss Half Penny). What that meant, however, was that I was able to slide in one that I had considered, Loowit Guenhwyvar Session Ale, and get through my list in one day.
I'm pleased to say that there were no stinkers in the bunch that I tasted. The ones I liked least were based on my palate and style preferences and I noted on at least one of them that while I didn't love it, I'd guess that there will be plenty of people who will enjoy it. So no "avoid this" beers this time around, just the top three that tickled me.
Two Kilts Manbun IPA
I'll admit that the name and that it's an IPA, one of my favorite styles, were the reasons this was on my list. Plus the Two Kilts guys are cool. This 6.9% beer is easy drinking with a man-stanky aroma that fits the name and makes me smile. If you like your IPAs stanky as well make sure to try it.
Laht Neppur Strawberry Cream Ale
This brewery has been hit or miss with me and while I don't like to be a girl ordering a "girly" beer I'm always interested in fruit beers. This is possibly the most well made strawberry beer I've had, lacking the "farty" quality as Mag refers to it that seems to be prevalent when strawberries are involved. The aroma is of fresh, not quite fully ripe strawberries, but of those that have the promise of being delicious very soon. The flavor follows with a refreshing quality perfect for the summer and might entice me to sit down with an entire pitcher for myself. At 5.5% that wouldn't even be overkill.
McMenamins Crystal Brewery Rose City 'Til I Rye
I admit that I tend to give McMenamins on the whole a bit of a short stick when I think about their beers which is unfair because certain brewers are turning out some great stuff. A fan of rye beers in general, this one is a great use of the ingredient in a very sessionable 4.4% beer.
Keep in mind that I tasted only 25% of the beers that are available at the festival. There are likely some other great ones being poured and of course, your palate may be much different than mine, case in point being Old Town Cardamum's the Word. My friend, who has BJCP certification, really enjoyed this beer. Me, who has an aversion to cardamom, had a sip and that was more than enough for me. So go, have fun and try what sounds good to YOU. Because it's all about you...ok it's all about the beer but whateves. Cheers!
Organic Beer Fest
Friday & Saturday 12-9pm
Tasting mug $7, drink tokens $1 each