A few Saturdays ago, my wife and I went to the Magic City Brewfest in Birmingham, AL. We’d been to the festival for the first time two years ago and had an awesome time. Last year we missed it, so it was nice to make it this year. While the festival has grown, it’s still a manageable event. There were certainly way too many beers to even think about trying them all, which was good, but there weren’t so many people that it was a pain to have to wait in long lines. It did seem like there were more breweries this year than two years back, and that’s always good, too.
I didn’t have a list of the beers to use as a checklist for the beers I tried because the little programs ran out pretty early on. When we went to pick one up, one of the festival volunteers told us they hadn’t gotten enough copies of the program, which is, I guess, understandable. But then he added “We’re a non-profit, so we mess stuff up all the time.” Quote of the day. All this to say that I didn’t actually keep track of the beers I had as I had them. But, I did look up the beer list when we got home and was able to put together a reasonably accurate list of what I tried. I’m sure there were some beers that didn’t appear on the list that I tried but don’t remember, but maybe not too many.
It’s not annotated, but here’s what I had:
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA
Avondale Battlefield IPA
Ayinger Celebrator–got a souvenir plastic goat that they hang around the neck of the bottles
Big Al Brewing Irish Red Ale
Blue Pants Corduroy Rye IPA
Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse
Choc Beer Last Laugh White Ale
Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale
Good People Dark Farmhouse–one of the best I had–I’ve been on a saison kick lately
Good People El Gordo
Great Divide Colette Saison
Lazy Magnolia Reb Ale
Left Hand 400 Pound Monkey
North Coast Scrimshaw Pilsner
Rogue Brutal Bitter–one of my all-time favorites, beer fest or no
Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere
Sprecher Pipers Scotch-style Ale
Straight to Ale Monkeynaut IPA
Straight to Ale Stop Work 689 Kolsch–another one of my favorites for the day
I know it looks like a lot of beers, but if you haven’t been to a beer festival before, be aware that the beers are poured as 2 oz. samples. So you get to try lots more beer than you’d be able to if you got a whole beer each time.
The festival was definitely a good time. The beers were good, and even though it was hotter than eight hells, it was a pretty nice day. I’ll take an afternoon outside drinking good beers any old damn day. One other nice touch to the festival was that there was a complete lack of Big Three beers. I wanted to say a ‘noticeable lack,’ but I’m not sure I really actually noticed they weren’t there at the time. Read into it whatever you want. To me it reads: Awesome.
One other thing that seemed worth noting was that I saw a guy with a tattoo on one of his legs from the knee to his ankle. Not just any tattoo. A tattoo of an argyle sock. That’s a statement. Of something.
Also, Raise Your Pints (the MS group pushing for higher alcohol limits in MS) was at the festival, and we met a fellow homebrewer, Wick (take a look at his own homebrew site here), that lives here in town. Wick stopped by when we brewed the Big Swell IPA and dropped off a few of his own beers, two of which were 1st place winners in a homebrew competition. These beers were good. Right now, I’m drinking his Chocolate Hazelnut Stout, which has a strong hazelnut taste that fades into a dark chocolate flavor at the end. Pretty damn good. The others (a brown ale and a Scottish 70 Shilling) were equally good.
Counting down days to the next beer festival whenever and whereever that will be.