Monday, June 14, 2010

Beer, Here!

On Saturday, MCU Park hosted its first-ever Craft Beer Festival, with samplings from over 40 breweries, and live music.  The event was a lot of fun.  Over 300 people attended, and everyone really seemed to be enjoying themselves.  The weather, the beer, and the music, were all great.

I'm not the world's biggest beer connoisseur, but it was interesting to talk to some of the brewers, hear their passion for what they do, learn about the ingredients and the processes that make their beer different, and debate with friends about which brands we liked and didn't like. 

Beyond just the taste of the beers, I also loved looking at how each brand was marketed.  The look, the logos...even the taps from which they were poured were all so distinct.  As someone who works with ads and designs, I'm always interested in how businesses market their products, and how effective they are.  Since I couldn't tell you the difference between an I.P.A. and a case of Natural Light (that was before the Beer I know, and if you don't, that's just another reason you should have been here), I found myself drawn to the logos and names of the beer first, and the taste second.

Take a look at some images from the event.  I'll divulge my personal favorites after these pictures:

Each attendee got a small plastic mug, with which you could sample three ounces of the beer of your choice.  Gary had a full-sized mug, but his elephantitis sausage fingers just made it look small:

Josh Young kicked off the music on the concourse level.  Many of us at the Cyclones know Josh from his work as a concert promoter, but we were surprised to hear him on the microphone with his guitar.  He was really, really good!

The musical main attraction was The Unforgettable Fire, a U2 tribute band that sounded so much like the real thing, it was scary.  They even looked like U2, from Bono's shades, to Edge's ski cap, to Adam Clayton's blond hair and baggy pants:

Of course, I don't think the real Bono has ever taken requests for an encore, then had his mic turned off by Larry Mullen, Jr., and almost come to blows over it, but I haven't seen them live since the Elevation tour in '01, so I guess you never know.  ("One more song!"  One more song!")

OK, so my personal favorites were Hell or High Watermelon (a wheat beer by 21st Amendment Brewery) and Wacko (a summer seasonal from Magic Hat):

The Hell or High Watermelon not only had the coolest logo and name, but it was light and crisp, and had just a hint of watermelon flavoring.  Nothing too overpowering, but enough to make it stand out.

Wacko, as you can see above, was red.  That really made it stand out, and you had to try it just for the heck of it.  Turns out, it is made from beets (I asked the brewer if they were from Schrute Farms, but she didn't get the reference.  I also told her it had a taste that can't be "beet," but she didn't seem to appreciate that one either.  I have a feeling neither line was very original).

All in all, a great success for our first-ever Beer Festival.  We've already taken notes and suggestions on how to make the next one even better.

Thank you to all who attended.  If you weren't here, you should have been.  We'll give you another chance next year!

-- Dave

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