Beer festivals are like carnivals, in that there is an overwhelming amount to enjoy – but a finite amount of time to enjoy it. Then again the same could be said about all-you-can-eat sushi, an everlasting gobstopper, or a winning football season. But rather than accept the fact that you cannot slow down time, you disregard the terms of the experience in lieu of any preparedness. Yes, I’m still talking about beer festivals – not carnivals or that other crap.
And what’s your reward, for consuming many beers over a short period of time? How about a hangover if you’re lucky. But more than likely you will probably end up in a Dick’s parking-lot, passed out with what appears to be special sauce on your chin and a half eaten burger, gripped firmly in your fleshy mitt. This is what I like to call “not preparing before going on a journey through alcoholic bliss”.
Getting back to the subject at hand, I wanted to give you a few suggestions associated with allowing your body time to absorb the booze, while not completely destroying that thin-layer of nerves (on your tongue) called a palate. Let’s face facts, the beer featured ranges in alcohol by volume from 4.0% (Fremont Brewing’s Belgian Sour Weiss) to a liver-numbing 11.2% (courtesy Wingman Brewers’ Chocolate Fortress). With this in mind here are my suggestions.
Epic Ale Fluffy Bunnies Farmhouse Session Ale. First off, I know there is no such thing as a Farmhouse Session Ale. At 4.1% this beer is an awesome starter beer, before we move onto beers with characteristics like raisin, brown sugar, coriander, lemon peel, or vinegar. 4.10% ABV
Boundary Bay Not Shawn’s Saison. I’m mostly suggesting this beer because the brewer described it as having notes of “… lemon, bubblegum, and melon… ” You won’t find too many Saison’s that are trying to convince you there’s bubblegum in your beer, let alone melons. 6.00% ABV
Silver City Le Fat 2012. Dusted off for this year’s Belgianfest is a rare treat from the same crew that makes a beer that sounds like a beat-down (aka, Whoop Pass India Pale Ale). I’m mostly attracted to the prospect of trying a beer described as having notes of figs, plums, and tart cherries. 9.90% ABV
Scuttlebutt Explore the Hopvoodoo Belgian-style IPA. The brewery is really talking this beer up, and rightfully so given the brewery’s use of Abbey II Belgian yeast. But if words like “.. luminous orange … smoke and dry fruits … “ quicken your pace to the table, then nothing will. 6.60% ABV
Elysian Bramble on Blackberry Saison. With a description short on words I can only tell you that this beer will come in handy when you move onto the next 4oz sip. This one is a must try at 6.00% ABV.
Black Raven Corvus Kriekus. After enjoying this beer at the Washington Brewers Festival (aka Father’s Day Festival), I can’t wait to try this again. 9.60%
Elliott Bay Blended Sour. Not much is said regarding what barrels went into the beer, but I’ve enjoyed their other ‘sour’ beers in both Lake City and West Seattle locations. ABV?
Big Time Sour Cherry Trombipulator. The best way to sum this beer up is a perfectly good Belgian-style Tripel transformed by cherries and aged in a oak barrel. 8.20% ABV.
Fremont Belgian Sour Weiss. If there is one thing you can say about Fremont, it’s they aren’t boring. Which is why I’m anticipating this beer to be a welcome reward after three sours in a row. 4.00% ABV
Elysian Andrew the Giant Belgian Double IPA. If you made it this far then you deserve something that will snap those tastebuds awake. Described as a Double India Pale Ale aged with Belgian yeast, it might as well be a regular IPA, it will probably taste great. 8.80%
That’s my 10 token guide to staying upright. Assuming you didn’t go off script and sample a shit-load of Tripels and Dubbels, you should be ok. Just promise me that you will call a cab home, instead of being one of those douchebags drives home punishing all the sober drivers out there.