American Craft Beer Fest -- what are you looking forward to?
Maybe this is the wrong board for this.
We're two weeks out from the American Craft Beer Fest -- http://beeradvocate.com/acbf/ -- and I'm trying to get my tasting list in order. Brewers and beers are listed here: http://beeradvocate.com/acbf/beer
Are there any particular brewers or beers you are excited to sample?
This is my first beer fest, and I'm thinking of trying to taste beers I don't normally have access to. What would you recommend?
You'll find some discussion at the beeradvocate site too (e.g., http://beeradvocate.com/community/thr... ). Just be mindful that most of the posters are uber-beer-geeks.
A couple tips: get there early. I'd queue up 45 minutes before the doors open. Because it takes a while to get everyone in, being towards the front of the line is beneficial 1) to give you more time and 2) to sample some of the more popular beers before the lines inside the fest get unmanagable. The lines will only grow during the fest, so don't wait thinking that a line will die down. Oh, and pack a small bag or munchies or make yourself a pretzel necklace. Palate cleansers are helpful.
Part of deciding what to try comes down trying what you like. I'd make a point to try at least on of the American Wild Ales (such as that from Allagash or Mystic). And I'd make a point to go to Franklin's, Lawson's, and Duck Rabbit, and sample as much as possible from these guys.
From the more well-known/MA-distributed brewers, keep an eye out from unusual offerings. Examples include Brooklyn, Harpoon, Jack's Abby (barrel-aged biere de garde), Mystic (saison w/various yeasts), Sierra Nevada (knock-on-wood), Stone (nothing special listed, will there be surprises?), etc.
If attending the day session on Saturday, you would have to get there at least an 1 - 1.5 hrs early to be anywhere near the front of the line. Two years ago, I was there an hour early and probably 100 people back - beer events have gotten even crazier in the last two years - and this is the first time this session has sold out (5,000 people I think).
Those first 15 minutes of the fest while everyone is trying to get in are the best - and that's when I go after the beers I really want to try. Once the lines get deep for beer, then I just pick the shortest line and take whatever interests me at the end of it. I am trying the Fri night session this year in hope that its more mellow and lines to get beer aren't too long - after the last Sat. session I did two years ago, I was about done with the fest due to crowding and long lines for beer.
I'm not a rare beer chaser, so I will probably drink a lot of local beer that I haven't had in a while, new upstarts, and hop bombs (if any).
Lawsons is going to have the longest lines all day, followed by Maine Beer Co. I cant wait to try all the Duck Rabbit , CBC, and Clown shoes beers. For the big boys Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn bring some fun stuff and on a smaller scale Troegs and Ithaca may also. For the price you cant beat the selection but nothing compares to the extreme beer fest for American rarities.
I haven't been in a few years, but last time my two favorite breweries were Surly (MN) and Livery (MI). I'm not sure if they are going to be there this year.
And, as others have said, get there early!