Friday, March 11, 2011

Philly Craft Beer Fest - 2011

Going to a craft beer festival is a lot like going to Six Flags: You’re giddy with excitement, there are long lines of people everywhere, and you might throw up afterwards.

With that in mind, Food Plus Beer took its talents to Philadelphia for the 5th annual Craft Beer Fest at the Navy Yard. Boasting “50+ breweries and 100+ beers,” the PCBF was held in a huge brick building right on the Delaware River, surrounded by enormous retired Navy battleships that we unfortunately weren’t allowed to climb around on.

Let’s re-live the festival together, shall we?

12:30: We arrive at the festival, just as it’s beginning, only to find that the line to get in the door is 12 miles long (approximation). We’re pissed. Doors were supposed to open at 12! How did they screw this up?! We are never getting in.

1:00: We get in. The length of the line may have been slightly overstated.

I may or may not start wearing pretzel necklaces everywhere I go.

We make our way directly to the Victory booth, where we’re faced with the choice between Yakima Glory and Headwaters Pale Ale. We choose both. Thankfully, no one behind us has a problem with us double-dipping. Gotta love beer fests!

This photo captions itself.

1:10 – 2:50: We spend the next hour and forty minutes more or less drinking anything and everything that appealed to us. Some highlights:

-The aforementioned Victory Headwaters Pale Ale: Awesome, crisp, straightforward IPA that is the definition of a summer session beer.
Fegley’s Hopsolutely: Monstrous 11.5% 100 IBU Triple-Hopped IPA. Yowza.
Triumph Jewish Rye: Actually tastes unnervingly like Rye bread. Goes best with pastrami and Russian dressing.
Arcadia IPA and 21st Amendment IPA: Pleasant surprises from breweries we’d never heard of.
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter – Roasty and bitter. Very smooth.
Ithaca Flower Power IPA: Had it before, of course, but even in a room full of awesome beer, it stands out.

You're not going to believe this, but this isn't the real Samuel Adams.

2:55: It occurs to me that I need to pee. A lot. Upon seeing the mangled mess that is the line to the port-o-potties, my bladder decides to crank up the pain. I am miserable. I’m jumping around like an extra from Flashdance at this point. I’m seriously considering peeing on the ground next to the port-o-potty at the end of the line, continuing to fire away as I’m dragged off in handcuffs for indecent exposure.

3:05: I finally reach the front of the line and achieve urinary Nirvana. I now have a little less than an hour to power through the remaining breweries before our session ends.

3:30: I mya bee getting a little bit intocixatecd.

Approximation of what the beerfest looked like at this point.

3:40: There is a basketball hoop in the corner of the building. I play basketball twice a week. I take a shot – airball. I blame this on a combination of my inebriation and the fact that the hoop was clearly not regulation height (Kyle will verify this). Although, I must say, charging drunk people to take a jumper on a 12-foot hoop is a brilliant marketing strategy (not that I paid. I am above the law).

3:45: Facing the home stretch, we begin drinking like Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel, and we encounter a few more standouts:

Weyerbacher Merry Monks – Belgiany goodness.
Blue Point Barleywine – We got to try this because the Blue Point representative was hitting on our girlfriends.
Ballast Point Big Eye IPA – Super fresh, hoppy and excellent.

And then, all of a sudden, it was over. One by one, the breweries stopped pouring samples, and we flooded the few booths that were still going until there were no more. It was time to file out of the building and into the streets of Philadelphia to cause trouble.

This was only our second brew fest, and you can bet we’ll be going to more in the future. The Philly brew fest was an awesome time. We got to try a bunch of new beers, enjoy some old favorites, and best of all, nobody barfed. Party!

Until next time,

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