I LOVE wine.
It’s amazing and delightful and tastes like yum. Of course, I have my favorites (Conundrum, Yellowtail Shiraz, I’M Rose, Rex Goliath Chardonnay – all delicious and reasonably priced) but I am an equal opportunity wine enthusiast. Red, white, dry, fruity – bring on the varietals! I’m a huge fan of wine tastings and I also enjoy a rockin’ wine festival.
Yes, wine is my alcoholic beverage of choice. Considering it is basically a fermented version of juice which is basically just liquified fruit, this whole love of wine might have something to do with that sweet tooth of mine. Hmm, never of thought of it that way before…
Anywho, my relationship with beer is a totally different story. While I worship Dionysus, I’ve never held the same affection for Silenus. I WANT to like beer…I just don’t. It’s not for lack of trying, either. I’ve tried ales, lagers, stouts, pilsners, and porters. The most I get from any of them is a buzz – this is not necessarily a bad thing, but I’d like a little flavor to accompany my inebriation. To my palate, beer tastes like…well…beer.
However, I’m not willing to throw in the bar towel yet. So, in an effort to expand my beer-izons, I accepted an invitation to attend The Brass City Brew Fest.
Oh my gosh, people. It was SO much fun! I can’t say that it helped in increasing my knowledge or appreciation of beer, but it was an excellent way to spend a Saturday. Despite the ick-tastic weather, the event was sold out. 2,000 beer aficionados, wanna-be beer fans (read: me), and designated drivers (DDs got in for free – excellent idea on the Brew Fest organizers’ part, don’t ya think?) congregated in Waterbury for an afternoon of beer tastings, live music, and festival food.
As soon as I got my hand stamped and walked onto the festival grounds, I knew I was gonna have a good time. This was before I had even tasted any beers. What was the reason behind my initial excitement? Why, this, friends:
A miniature pint glass? Oh, baby, that makes my day like nothin’ else :). Not only will this make the perfect vessel for my nightly cottage cheese concoctions (you can take the healthy eater out of her comfort zone but you can’t wrastle the cottage cheese out of her beer covered hands), but it also quite nicely served its purpose as the most perfectly sized beer tasting glass ever. I got the perfect amount of beer every time. It didn’t hold too much, or too little, but just enough – I felt like Goldilocks drinking out of Baby Bear’s cup. Winky Dinner Date, on the other hand, forewent the mini-glass and got a real pint glass from one of the vendors. As a result, he was treated to a half glass of beer at every tasting. He wasn’t complaining, though…
…maybe cause he actually likes beer? 🙂
As I said earlier, my time at the Brew Fest did not expand my beer-izons as I hoped it would but I did try some super delicious drinkies – probably none of which would be described as beer by any true beer connoisseur.
The first winner was this lemon-y malt beverage from Poland:
It tasted like lemonade with just a hint of yeasty-ness. It was light and crisp, sweet and tangy. I could see it being very refreshing served ice-cold on a hot day. Be warned, though: while I would love a whole glass of this, one of my companions found it way too sweet.
Next up was this delight from the Finger Lakes:
This was the “beery-est” of the beers I liked but there was enough apricot flavor in there to make it enjoyable to my untrained palate. At first sip it just tasted like an “ordinary” (please excuse my uneducated beer terminology) beer but then the apricot kicked in and added a sweet, round, nuttiness that was simply wonderful. I could drink a whole bottle of this – and that, my friends, is saying something.
Lastly (yes, I went to a Brew Fest that had more than 250 brews to sample and I walked away liking three of them – haters, don’t judge), there was this Scottish gem:
This stuff was ah-mazing! It was ginger-y and slightly beer-y, sweet – but not too sweet – with just a touch of a spicy kick from the ginger, and immensely drinkable. Even my beer-loving companions enjoyed this brew. I’ve gotta find out where they sell it cause, nevermind a bottle, I could drink a whole case of this! We have a winner!
The Brew Fest was certainly a wicked good time and I would recommend it to anyone as a fun day out. I have not given up on my quest to more fully appreciate beer – even though all the brews I liked were not all that beer-y. It’s safe to say that my beer-ducation is still a work in yeasty progress. 🙂
Are you a wine drinker or a beer drinker?
Have you ever attended any alcoholic beverage tasting events?