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Monday, October 7, 2013

Partaking in Porter's Perfect Pint

As much as I enjoy the beverage, I'm not one for beer fests. I had my fill early on, and it was great. They were a good learning experience, a good place to try styles I'd never had before without committing to a six-pack or pint. Fests are also good when you move to a new area. The August 2011 MWBF and Trion's Brew Haven were a good chance to check out the local beer scene and see what they had to offer. Other than that new-area visit I don't go out of my way for a beer fest. As of late, the crowds, the spilled beer, and the attitudes just don't appeal to me.

That said, I thought it was time to go to another, time to check out some of the new breweries opening up in the region, some new or special offerings from some old-timers, and just generally enjoy the beer scene. This fest was one I had not been to before. It was billed as a small, low-key affair with good food and music to add to the festivities. It was a fundraiser for the Porter Indiana Fire & Parks Departments, yet another part of the appeal.

Overall, it was a good time. It was low key, and I got to spend my time enjoying myself and not in lines. I got to try some new brews. As a veteran beer-drinker, I didn't feel that rush to try it all. I was able to take a more methodical approach, but mostly sit back and enjoy the music, food and atmosphere.


Atmosphere

This was a really well-set up event. The check-in process was easy. You get a little tasting glass and turn that in for the commemorative pint glass, so no worries about hauling a sticky glass home. We got there a little early, but the food vendors and seating were open while we waited. When they opened up to the General Admission, there was no rush to the gate. The whole area opened up. The beer vendors were set up under a large tent to keep the sun away and shield us from the potential rain. 

It was pretty laid back. I didn't stand in line much. I couple of times I had to wait, but for the most part people were quick and didn't try to chat up the brew reps with their beer knowledge. The small crowd was dense, but there was always a place to step away if you were feeling a little claustrophobic (and not just by the empty Schalfly table). The music was nice light rock and a little folksy blues mixed in. They also had a raffle and silent auction going on raising additional money for the cause. A year supply of bagels and a gym gift certificate package caught my eye. I guess you'll need the work out after the bagels.


An important, while not glamorous note, the port-o-potties were under the shade of trees, clean, and plentiful. 


I couldn't help but notice the lonely Goose Island rep. She sat there with no traffic. She twirled her hair and bit her lip. No one was interested. She texted. She smilled. She tried to stay on her feet. Finally a guy walked up for a taste of Matilda or some such thing. She was saved from the loneliness of being an InBev/AB rep among local brewers.

Selection

For a smaller brew fest, they had a really good selection. Breweries like Hunter's brought some special releases (a strawberry-ginger hefeweizen and a coffee porter). Newly opened and hoping to be opened breweries like Iron Wood, Burn 'em, and Four Father's were showcasing their brews to drum up interest and educate the fest goers about their offerings. The locals were enough to allow us to avoid the distributors, but I couldn't pass up a splash of Brother Thelonious as I perused the offerings. 

Drinking tiny tastes of so much didn't give me much time to write up notes. I was enjoying myself, and honestly, I probably spent too much time jotting down and taking pictures as it was. Even with the sensory overload that was 20+ tiny tastes, some brews stood out. Some highlights were:
  • Evil Czech - Gypsy Chamomile  - A creamy and rich chamomile brew.
  • Founding Father's - Tallulah - A nice sour with notes of apple/pear.
  • Hunter's - Strawberry-Ginger Aubade - This rich hefeweizen tasted like strawberries and cream.
  • Four Horsemen - The 3 C's - A spicy chocolate chili porter left a bit of a burn. After some other brews, it was a bit weird. It was a more complex offering from Four Horsemen than I've had before.
In addition to the brews, they had well-stocked food vendors. Pizza from Val's, chili and bbq sandwiches from Wagner's, and Mexican food from Leroy's Hot Stuff. I snacked on a taco while I waited to get in. I grabbed a slice of pizza to let my taste buds reset before trying my last few tastes.

When we had our fill, it was quick to trade in our tasting glass for the pint glass. 


Overall this was a good time. I'd go again. At $37.92 (fees inc.) it's not a bad deal. You get to support the local community, try out some of the new and upcoming local breweries, and have a laid back afternoon.

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