I spent most of the afternoon in my old home town of Kennett Square at the aptly named Kennett Square Brew Fest where many beers, small samples of each, passed my lips.
Yards T. J. Belgian (their Thomas Jefferson Ale on Belgian yeast, one of three firkins, each done with a different Belgian yeast), Dogfish Head Theobroma (the latest recreation beer from DFH which I previously wrote about here), Southampton Harvest Ale (a harvest ESB, just because they could), Flying Fish Puckerfish (as good as America’s Most Beloved Beer Writer (© Liquid Diet – the Blog, 2008 ) said it was), Troegs Scratch #14 Saison (hell, yeah!);
Dock Street Imperial Amber Ale (so big and imperial I near forgot what it was when asked what I was drinking after I’d wandered away), Stoudt Oktoberfest (has anybody ever mentioned that these folks know how to make lagers?), River Horse Honey Bunch of Ants (I wrote about this here previously), Sly Fox Raspberry Reserve (from a bottle, first of the 2008 vintage, bigger body, still beautiful in the glass) and Victory 2009 Harvest Pils (do I need to say more?).
I’m sure I missed a couple in there but, hey, I was drinking. And yeah, it was all good.
Everybody I talked to who had been at the big dinner the night before at the Longwood Gardens Conservatory raved about the event, from attendees to brewers.
Wine triumphed over beer in the Sam Calagione/Marnie Old show, apparently because a very find Port topped WorldWide Stout in the dessert round. I was told, by both a guest at the dinner and two of the brewers, that the Port kicked ass with the bitter chocolate entree. Dessert, specifically chocolate dessert, has always been Sam’s secret weapon in these things, so this is not a good sign for the beer side.
The food was superb as well according to everyone I spoke with. I had both a ticket and a room for the night offered as compensation for helping get this new event off the ground and decided a week or two ago not to attend. Apparently that was a really dumb decision. On the other hand, I firmed up my first Philly Beer Week 2009 event during yesterday afternoon. More about that down the road, but the point is, you win some, you lose some, you make your choices and you live with ’em.
Kudos to Ms. Old who, when told that the Troegs brewers who had come to pour during the cocktail hour (Sly Fox, Victory and Troegs were the breweries whose beers were selected to pour although only the latter sent brewery folk to do the job as far as I know) would be served dinner in the basement, went over and told the Longwood people “no way” and the guys were then seated with the paying guests, to the delight of their table mates who peppered them with beer questions and now plan to adopt Ed Yashinsky.
The only downside was another disturbing display of ageism, something which is happening a lot of late, manifested in vicious comments being made by a pair of brewers about, well, me. I’m not going to embarrass them by revealing who they were. That would be especially cruel because one of them is from a very small state and has struggled all his life with the fact that his parents misspelled his first name on his birth certificate and the other is from a state which wishes it were smaller and is somewhat off his game these days because an automobile has been thrust upon him.
I mean, these are people with serious issues.
Congratulations to Jeff Norman, who’s the man behind what has become one of the region’s best beer fests every year. The reduced ticket sales this year made the whole thing more comfortable and the connoisseur session in particular a reminder of what these high-end, special beer, limited attendance pre-event events ought to be.SHARE