Last year, I wrote about this event as kind of a beer-con: a place for beer geeks to gather and be geeky together. I’ll stand by that assessment. However here are a few thoughts after my second one of these events.
First, if you’re a brewery, send something interesting. There were many fine breweries there that I know very well, but skipped. Because I already knew the beer they sent so well, it held no interest (or, in a few cases, I already had the beer they sent IN MY FRIDGE). That took me through the tent with the kraut Oktoberfests in one stop.
However, several breweries have really figured this out, most notably Bolero Snort and Clown Shoes. Both of those breweries really brought their A-game. Bolero Snort brought a tripel which, according to my notes, was “fucking killer” (at least, that’s what buzzed Hunter thought). The really interesting one, though, was their App-Bull Pie la Mode. Apple and vanilla flavored, but bready, and delicious, and definitely unique.
Clown Shoes went with a session IPA that was, as one would expect from a session beer, a bit bland. But, given a day of drinking and sun, it was not unwelcome. Their second beer, however, was their Chocolate Sombrero, which was viscous, chocolatey, and delicious with a hint of licorice and a sweet finish. It was one of two beers I doubled down on.
Other breweries had various means of drawing attention, from men in kilts to the wonderfully creative names and brewery swag. But the day, as last year, was most notable for the camaraderie of the beer geek. If you’re the type of person who loves hanging out with those who wax intellectual or poetic about barley pop, and have $70.00 to spare, this is the event for you.
Knowing their audience, there was giant beer pong, an epic cornhole set, and over-sized Jenga. Mrs. Wilde and I decided to play the game of tumbling wood, and were joined by some rando who was stalking the table. We ended up drawing a crowd of similarly tipsy nerds, cheering and commenting on our growing stack of wood until it finally tipped and we all high-fived and walked on to the Ramstein stand.
Happily, the line of people waiting for their Ubers or sober friends to pick them up was truly heartening. For such an event, there were remarkably few cars there. It’s always good to see all the geeks get home safe.
One last thing. The find of the day was the Ironbound Hard Cider by Jersey Cider Works. Other ciders tasted syrupy and fake. This one tasted clean and delicious. Plus, they hire workers from the Ironbound section in Newark to work at their orchard and cider works. The combination of doing good and making a superior product is admirable – and delicious. If you are in the mood for cider, and see it in the store, get it. You won’t be sorry.