Valpo Brewfest (#Beer #Homebrew)
We'd been anxiously awaiting Valpo Brewfest for months! We got VIP tickets which meant we'd get a neat Tshirt, early entrance and access to some food/beer pairings. Huzzah!
It was a cold and rainy morning the on Sept 24th, so when we set forth for Valpo Brewfest. Since we don't have much in the way of wet/cold weather gear for being on a bike for long distances, we opted to take the Kia Soul. No big sacrifice =)
Semi-trucks exploding on the interstate seems to be a big trend right now. We saw 3 in various stages of cleanup on the way up. I'm voting a way thumbs-down to this new trend. I don't like it one bit.
We rolled into Valpo around half an hour before the event started. Anyone that's been around us for any amount of time knows we like to stroll/walk/amble/shamble around so we shambled around Valpo a bit and then said "ehh, close enough" and made our way to the entrance 20 mins early.
So we're in line, we actually *are* the line at that point. Chatted with entrance-guy about Harley's and the risk/reward factor of riding outside of your hometown. We're pro, he's a bit con.
And then yes! Check in time! Woohoo! Our ID's are checked, we wait more, then our tickets are scanned.
Seems the clock on the scanner wasn't informed they were starting to scan a few minutes early!
We get our leet VIP badges on a lanyard and wait in line for our pint glasses. I then spy the most beautiful sight in the world:
Yes! The restrooms!
I mean the Left Hand moomobile!
Mootooth - a Left Hand Milk Stout/Sawtooth concoction is served from this here ve-HICKLE.
Mmm... I'm salivating a little.
We commence the Running of the VIP Bulls and head to the swag/pairing tent where we grab our Tshirts (mine too large, sigh, makes a nice minidress though) and try our first beer/food pairing.
I'm ashamed to admit that I got no photos of it, nor do I remember what it was.
But it was good =)
The thing that I was disappointed about with the pairings is this, and I know, they're on a budget, I *do* understand.
If your beer is good, your pastry/cheese/meat had BETTER be equally as good.
Sadly this wasn't the case for many of the pairings. But free meat and cheese is still good! /nodsnodsnods
Off to Mootooth!
Yes, Mootooth is everything you've dreamt about and more. I highly recommend seeking out the mobile and getting one, or making your own at home.
Frankly, I don't have a lot of photos, and the official site has really good ones.
Here's the standouts from the event:
-As always we love Figure 8's beers as well as the owners/brewers. We spent time enjoying their Black Corridor (Imperial Chocolate Stout, oh goodnesss it was tasty!) and voted for them for the Hoosier Brewer Award. So did a lot of other people, because they won!)
-Devil's Trumpet is not yet open, but they are going to be a brewery to watch for and stalk at festivals whenever possible until they open their doors. Pink Nightmare was an excellent excellent sour, Black Mastermind was an excellent darker beer, and because I have no list I can access of their other beers, I can't name any others. The 2:00 special tappings went out right-quick. Jon and I weren't the only ones impressed by them. Keep your eyes on them folks, especially if you like sours and interesting beers ala Jolly Pumpkin in Michigan.
-The beer/food pairings were a great step in the right direction! More, and I'll pay for better quality food to go with the beer!
-The setting for this couldn't have been better. No long hiking, but enough walking to kind of 'work it off' a bit =) Nice variety of food available, though we did not eat at the festival.
Bummers from the event:
-Despite rumors, too many tables not staffed by people from the breweries. I'm really disappointed about this.
-Some breweries on the list didn't attend. That's fine though because we loved the ones that did =)
The best part of this festival that you missed if you didn't go
If you take nothing else from this rambling post, take this from it:
The people at this festival were by and large REALLY into their beer. Names of beer websites, photos of booths, photos of beer, and people 'checking in' the beers they drank were the norm rather than the exception.
As opposed to, yes I'm going to name names, Broadripple Brewfest, the main point for attendees here didn't seem to be to get smashed. The point was to experience new/favorite beers (and get some merch and have fun of course).
This is the fest that will get our money next year, no doubt about it. If you're a brewer/brewery that didn't attend, make it happen next year. This is your beer-appreciating audience right here.
Post-fest we had a bit of coffee at Cornucopia Coffee and ate at the always fabulous Pikk's Tavern. I way over indulged and we split their frites, a scotch egg (2nd best anywhere), a gorgeous 21 day aged 16oz steak, and my indulgence mainly was their bread. Holy god their bread is good.
And then my eyes wandered near where we parked. Should we? Yes we should!
Off to Valpo Velvet. My dear friends, I'm going to confess to the salad, but not to my dessert. What happens at the Velvet stays at the Velvet.
We had a need for pinball that could not be quenched other than by going to Figure 8 Brewing and finally playing the Addams Family pin. The first time we went to F8, some guy named Tom (kidding!) was on the machine and it didn't seem right to bump him off, the second time the machine didn't want to take money. But ahhh this trip was the payoff! We split a Raven Tor and played the pin! Lynne Uban told us a bit about this particular pinball machine's history and though Mike Lahti admired my playing I just knew that post-festival post-sugary desserts I saw way too many balls drain way too fast.
My friends, if you made it this far though the entry, you love beer too. Go to the Valpo Brewfest next year. This is a place for others who truly love beer in all it's glorious permutations!