Monday, April 23, 2012

FatCat's Inebriated Parkville Review

What a difference a year makes!  If you’ve been following me the whole time you know that last year’s Parkville Microbrew Festival busted my beer festival cherry.  I was rather intimidated in 2011 by the sheer mass of humanity.  Just a simple glance at all of those people reinforced the fact I just wasted $40.00 and I would never get a drop of beer out of this mob.  Choices:  Break my tasting glass against a tree and leave; wade my way into the masses for whatever brew I could scrounge.  Luckily I picked the latter and really enjoyed myself in 2011. 

I planned ahead for the 2012 Parkville Microbrew Festival and purchased online tickets.  This seemed to be what everyone else had in mind so FatCat didn’t get too far ahead on that strategy.  The line to enter the event was tremendously large.  By dumb luck we got out of line to check out the little tent to the left of the main tent and scored.  We only waited behind about 10 people and we were in.  My friend who came later advised that strategy was no longer viable and he had to wait quite a while to get inside the festival.  Not wanting to miss out, I used the mobile website to make a list of all the brews I wanted to try beforehand.  Once we got in, I tried to hit as many of the chosen tents as I could before the crowd fully engulfed us.  In fairly short ordered I was in full beer festival mode!

The beer I was most excited to taste was the No. 50 Liberty Stout from Gella’s Diner and Liquid Bread Brewing Company out of Hays, KS.  This stout won Great American Beer Festival Gold in 2009 and 2010.  I had been salivating over this brew all week and I think the anticipation got the best of me.  I made my way to the tent and acquired my pour of this gold medal brew.  It was a solid brew but was not a knock out.  It was more of a dry stout with good roasted malt character.  In an attempt to coax out some additional malt character I let the brew warm up. It improved but still not what I was dreaming of.  There was nothing wrong with the brew, I think I was expecting way too much for it to live up to. 

My second most anticipated brew of the festival was the Blind Tiger Top Gun IPA.  This brew did live up to expectations.  This was a brilliantly complex hop concoction of greatness.  The smooth citrus character up front clears the way for some delicate floral notes.  Then the citrus comes back dancing with the flowers providing an amazing finish.  Awesome!

The other beer I was “looking forward” to was the brisket beer.  I didn’t really expect anything outstanding about it, I was just interested.  The first taste of this brew was almost enjoyable.  The brew was decent through the middle of the palate and finished with a very briskety smokey flavor.  It went down hill from there as subsequent tastes allowed you to catch up with the almost slimy consistency of the brew.  It was definitely interesting but I think I’ll keep my BBQ and my beer in separate containers.

My favorites of the festival were the Top Gun IPA (of course), Nebraska Brewing Barrel Aged Hop God, Broadway Brewery Oak Aged Imperial Stout, Buffalo Rye IPA, and Lucky Bucket Certified Evil.

This year at the festival I didn’t think the lines were too bad.  We went through Broadway’s line to get the Imperial Stout at 3pm and were about 5 minutes early.  We went to the back of the line and made it up to the front again in less than 10 minutes.  The layout was poorly planned and was not at all conducive for travel inside the “ring” of tents.  Hopefully at future events they will spread the tents out better and not make a circle of madness.  My other gripe was the tasting notes booklet.  They were very nice quality but whoever puts them together should really learn to use the SORT function.  Is it too much to ask to put the damn breweries in alphabetical order? 

Overall I liked this year better than last.  I personally didn’t think the lines were as bad as last year but I arrived earlier this year.  I was in “festival mode” earlier as well so maybe that’s why it didn’t bother me as bad this year.  The variety of special releases was a big plus over last year.  If the organizers can figure out a better layout and expedite the entry process, this festival could be absolutely positively awesome.


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