Monday, May 2, 2011

Parkville Microbrew Festival 2011

I've experienced many different brews in the comfort of my own home.  I've also experienced craft brew while having dinner at one of many brewpubs in the area.  But I have never had the pleasure of enjoying craft brew at a beer festival.  So this year I decided it was time, time to experience beer in the great outdoors with the company of hundreds (maybe thousands) of my closest friends.  I ventured where no Fat Cat had been before, to Parkville's Microbrew Festival 2011!

For those of you who may not have made it to the festival I will give you my thoughts on what breweries stood out.  McCoy's from the Kansas City area had very superb brew.  Little Apple Brewing Company from Manhattan also had exceptional brews.  My personal favorite was Kirkwood Highlands from Kirkwood, MO which had an excellent IPA.  I did not bring any supplies to fully beer geek out and take notes of how each beer tasted.  The best I could do was dogear my "Tasting Notes" guide on the pages which had my favorite breweries on them.  So by the end of festival I had no idea what exactly I tasted, nor why the breweries I marked were exceptional.  As a disclaimer I did not have time to taste every brewery at the festival and most were running out of their brews by the time I reached them.  It turned out to be largely an IPA-fest with the breweries running out of most everything else.  Stone Brewing did have the longest line, from what I could tell, for most of the festival.  Word spread that their IPA was a crowd favorite.
Ok so I know what you're thinking now...What did Fat Cat think about his first beer festival? 

Fat Cat was accompanied by the Mrs, of which it was her first beer festival too.  There was a fair amount of persuasion to get her interested in the festival.  We arrived at 2pm which is one hour after the festival opened and waited in a fairly short line to get our glass.  We walked in and was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of people everywhere. 

A few faces were changed to protect the innocent.

It appeared we would have a better chance of getting beer by burrowing into the earth and attempting to reach Europe.  My initial reaction was to throw my $20.00 beer tasting glass at a tree and go home defeated (note I have been accused of being a reactionary).  There were people walking around glassy eyed and somewhat intoxicated, I pointed at them and told the Mrs that's how I want to look damn it.  So we plunged in and tried to find the start of a line.  Eventually we found a line and started waiting.  To our surprise the wait in the lines were not that unbearable and before you knew it I was feeling the craft brew.  The Mrs had a tasting glass too but she would only take about two sips leaving me with two tasters per line.  We got through and tried roughly half of the breweries.

At the end we both said we had fun and the Mrs actually thanked me for suggesting we attend the festival.  My only regret was that I didn't stop and buy a cigar on the way into the festival.  Keep in mind I have not been to any other beer festivals but I have a few suggestions for next year's festival.  Due to the sheer number of people the breweries were running out of brew and the start of the lines were hard to find.  Possibly limiting the number of tickets available (boo yes I know), expanding the grounds, and increasing the amount of beer could remedy this.  The 4hr time frame of the festival is also limiting and makes it difficult to try all the different breweries.  All and all it was very fun and we had a great time.  We will look forward to going next year and now we know to be there super early! 


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