This weekend I will be going to my first beer festival since the wonderful, and pissed up, Slunce ve Skle in 2008 - when I first met Pivní Filosof, Honza Kočka and some random Czech bloke insisting that none of beers at the festival were as good as Pilsner Urquell, even as he was putting them away with the best of them. That was also the night when I went and bought a bottle of beer liqueur which was 28% and tasted like boozy Benedryl - I liked it, as did Pivní Filosof, though I believe he has no recollection of this.
Now, unlike the entire twitterverse seemingly, I am not flying up to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, rather I am driving down the road to the slightly less metropolitan Scottsville for the somewhat more local event, the River Bend Beer Festival. I am perfectly prepared to say that big events like the GABF have their place, it's just not the kind of place you are ever likely to find me, simply because I hate huge crowds. It doesn't matter what the event is, I have some kind of mental cut off point where I don't want to be surrounded by a massive crowd. The same is true with things like open air markets, I like them, but I will deliberately go early in the morning to avoid the crowds (the fact that generally you get the best stuff then is entirely incidental).
I also find that I like the ethos of an event such as the River Bend Beer Festival because it is about Virginian craft beer. The event will be showcasing 11 Virginian breweries, including 3 of the local brewers, as well as having live music during both sessions on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. I mentioned in a previous post that the Tops of the Hops event here in Charlottesville was slightly disingenuous in advertising 150 craft beers being available, and then including the likes of Pilsner Urquell and Blue Moon in that list, whereas River Bend are committed to Virginia beer and only Virginia beer - supporting local companies.
One of the brewers whose wares I am particularly looking forward to sampling is Shooting Creek Farm Brewery, having heard good things about them from a couple of people. I have also heard good things about Jefferson Street Brewery from Lynchburg, and I need to correct the fact that I have never tried a beer from the St George Brewing company down in Hampton.
I will be at the festival on Friday night, when they have their Connoisseur tasting session, partly in a business mode because the company I work for are sponsoring the event, and we also re-designed the festival website. So for my local readers, if you are going on Friday night, pop over to the Category 4 table and say hello, but most of all come down and support Virginia's craft brewers.
By the way, both pictures were taken at Slunce ve Skle, it was bloody freezing that day, but bloody fantastic as well, which is also this weekend and I believe there is something starting in Munich this weekend as well.