Boy, was this a fun festival. With lots of breweries that don’t get a lot of press or tap space around here, the PBS Microbrew Festival at Coca Cola Park was a hell of a great line-up. I had tons of beers I’ve never had before, something that can’t often be said for me at other festivals in the area. It’s always great to see the Lehigh Valley Homebrewers at these events because they consistently make awesome stuff, many far better than actual brewery offerings. Two of their guys brewed a bourbon barrel-aged doppelbock that was stupid-awesome.
I think the winner for me though was Round Guys Brewing who are out of Lansdale. Absolutely fantastic offerings all around and it’ll be very exciting to see what they pull out in the future. I also enjoyed Hijinx, who will be operating in the Lehigh Valley once all of their licensure is taken care of. Boaks’ Double BW was FANTASTIC. Clocking in at 4.2% it had such a huge, flavorful saison taste that really won me over. Cricket Hill’s Jersey Summer Breakfast Ale, although it has crappy reviews on BeerAdvocate, really won me over too. I think the worst thing I tried all day was Climax Brewing’s Hoffman Helles Lager. I don’t know if it was skunked or infected or what, but it has such a rancid “gym sock” taste to it. Bleh.
With all that, I do have some observations and hopes for the future. When we first arrived my friends and I both thought the parking lot looked fairly empty. On the inside, however, everything was fairly crammed together. I understand that they probably wanted to do this all under the concourse in case it rained, but there was still room to spread out that wasn’t really well utilized. It’s a huge park and to jam hundreds of increasingly drunk people in a small space kinda sucked. They should also have two entrances. Everyone came in the same entrance and started tasting at the first tables, of course, and created a huge bottleneck. If they had people enter both ends of the festival things would be more evenly distributed from the get-go. The other thing that really irked me was they wouldn’t allow you to bring pretzel necklaces into the park. People frequently use these to clear their palate and put something in their stomach while drinking, but that was a no-no, apparently. Absolutely foolish.
All-told though, I have to say this was much better than the Easton Brewfest. Way more variety, very little crappy beer (there seemed to have been an influx of non-crafty stuff at Easton’s), and all-in-all a great time. Hopefully it continues next year. Below are photos and a list of most everything that was served. I know I didn’t get everything down but I think I got most.
Barley Creek Angler Black Lager, Navigator Golden Ale, Rescue IPA, Wanderlust Chocolate Porter
Boaks Monster Mash, Two Blind Monks, Double BW
Climax IPA, Hoffman Helles Lager
Brew Works Hefeweizen, Space Monkey
Cricket Hill East Coast Lager, Jersey Summer Breakfast Ale, Hopnotic IPA
Lancaster Rumspringa, Kolsch, Strawberry Wheat
Magic Hat Blind Faith, Circus Boy, Wacko, #9
River Horse Hop Hazard, Summer Blonde
Round Guys Brewing Fat Bob XVII Tripel, Fuzzy Muttness Stout, Ha,,erziet Altbier, Blackback Black IPA
Flying Dog Tire Bite
Sierra Nevada Glissade
Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat
Victory Yakima Glory, Summer Love
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, Merry Monks, Blanche, Verboten
Ship Inn Best Bitter, Randy’s Panhead Porter, Killer Bee Pale Ale
Homebrewed Cascade APA, Imperial Red Ale, Hefeweizen, Belgian Wheat, Phat Tire, French Saison, Hazelnut Brown Ale, Roggenbier, German Ale, Dark American Ale, Wood Aged Doppelbock
Intercourse Bareville Pilsner, Paradise Pale Ale
Hijinx Java Porter, ASA, Earth Wit Fire, Wicked White, Hop Havoc, ESB, Steal Your Face Stout
Golden Avalanche Donner Weiss Bier, Blonde Lager