First things first, I didn't #Volunteer for this one. There I've said it... I was Press this time around, which was awesome!
On Saturday September 7th, 2013, thirty Indiana breweries showed up to this intimate event at the west side of Headwaters Park, just off S. Calhoun St. The location was great. Not only was forethought put into the location for rain (all the breweries were under a picnic pagoda area), but it was fenced in as well. No muss, no fuss for security. Two brick and mortar bathrooms were located in the pagoda area and were supplemented with a handful of port-a-potties at the entrance. If I was still in Urban Planning I would have given myself a pat on the back for finding this gem to host the event.
I thought it was amazing that the first brewery to be seen at the event was our buddies from Union Brewing Company. Tony met us with a grin, a tasting of Cannonball Doyle and a thumbs up. Say "Hi" Tony!
The Big Guy and I got there about as early as most of the breweries and it was neat to see everyone setting up for the event. Pro Tip: Always check your Jockey Box the day before you head to an event.
Speaking of Beer Gear! You guys remember back in June I did that article on the Beer Pouch? Cutters Brewing Co. had a few on hand they were serving out of and promoting/selling for their version of Growlers! If you haven't had their beer please get out to Avon, IN and grab a pint of Floyd's Folly! \
Rock 104 was there to pump up the tunes to keep the party rocking all day long! I think Joe pouring for Flat 12 was in seventh heaven when the second van pulled up. All I heard was "THERE'S TWO VANS!?" the rest of the event.
Triple Smoked 12 Penny - Scotch Ale - Flat 12 Bierwerks
Great oaky/vanilla nose. Real light. Crisp malt and roast on the fin. Hops closes it out. GREAT!
John the One Eyed - Belgian Dubbel - Evil Czech Brewery
It's like a Tripel running around in Dubbels clothing! Smooth as hell with spicy malt. Loved it!
Black IPA - BIPA/Cascadian Dark Ale/American-Style Black Ale - Mad Anthony Brewing Co.
Sweet malt nose. Not roasty like you would think with this style. Finishes with a bitter sweet chocolate. Really good!
To close it all out... A big thanks to all the Volunteers! OktoBEERfest would not have been an event with out all your selfless hard work in putting together and running the event! I hope you all had as much fun as The Big Guy and I did! Thanks again to Blaine and Brandi. The Baron's can't wait for next years OktoBEERfest! We'll see you then!
The Big Guy: This was an awesome festival and I can't wait to check it out again next year. It was well worth the two hour drive up north. The park that it was held in was beautiful. If my GPS hadn't had it out for me it would have been perfect. There were somewhere between twenty and thirty professional breweries. What really impressed me was the awesome contingent of homebrews by the MASH group out of Fort Wayne. They were showcasing some great homebrewed concoctions. Everything tasted professional. I had the BBQ from Shigs in Pit. The hot BBQ was totally legit. It was hot and smoky and mostly hot in a great way. The music was solid, and we were able to bring cigars for a grand finale before driving home. All in this was an excellent place to ring in Oktoberfest.
My favorite beers were:
Triple Smoked 12 Penny by Flat 12 Bierwerks. It was a barrel aged session beer. That's right, low alcohol beer that was barrel aged. It had a great complex flavor. There were layers and layers of awesome that you never get from low ABV beer. I gave it a 4.5 because it was a session ale and it tasted so good. If you want to just go for overall flavor, its probably a solid 4.
Overlord by Tin Man Brewing was also outstanding. Nice big hops and sweet malt backbone. It was great, and I can't wait to start getting cans of their stuff in our market. I gave it a 4
White Reaper by Evil Czech was also great. Nice balance of hop blends on top of a very light and crisp malt backbone. It was clean and easy drinking, which made it perfect for the hot summer day. I gave it an enthusiastic 3.5
My only disappointment was the Pickled Cucumber Kolsch. I've been looking forward to this for months since Rob talked about it at the Brew Bracket. I loved the cucumber flavor from the kolsch. In general I love pickles. It seemed like it would be a match made in heaven. It wasn't... It wasn't terrible but I had hyped it up so much in my head and it just didn't live up to the dream.
A final note from O-Dawg: Just in case you are traveling up to Fort Wayne, IN to check this event out next year or any beer festival for that matter... Don't trust your GPS, especially if it is Apple's. Apple Maps had The Big Guy and I cruising through downtown Fort Wayne to end up at a parking garaged labeled on the map as Headwaters Park. I was pretty sure it was the City Clerk's office... Go Go Gadget Google MAPS!