Repeat after me: “Beer is wonderful. Beer is good. Beer is delicious.” Go ahead and just say that a few times until you truly believe it. If you’re already a bona fide follower of the craft beer movement, you have probably already basked in the glory that is a beer festival. If you’re still undecided about the whole beer culture, then you definitely need to attend one. What better way to celebrate the many complexities and utter delicacies of beer than at a festival dedicated to the craft. One just getting acquainted with the glorious world of beer can try as many as they want and find just what their palate craves, and those of us whose thirsts can never be satiated can try off-the-wall or hard to find beers that are unavailable under normal circumstances.
That being said, the Highlands Beer Festival, hosted by Valumarket, at Mid City Mall this past Saturday was just such an occasion. Beer lovers from around the city lined up around the building in eager anticipation of sampling beers from around the globe. As if the extensive beer list wasn’t enough incentive to attend, the first 500 people through the door got a coupon for a free pint glass, as well. Admission was only $5, and with samples being a measly $1, one could try a handful of delicious beer for a very modest price.
As with all beer festivals, my heart was overwhelmed. Whether it was the fact that I hate crowds or the fact that a seemingly endless amount of beer samples were within arm’s reach I have yet to determine. It was probably a little bit of both. What I am aware of, however, is that the crowds don’t bother me as much once I’ve gotten a few beers digesting. Aside from the crowd complaint (which is probably just my personal distaste since there was always ample room to walk and rarely a line longer than two people), there was nothing to complain about. With well over 200 varieties of beer being poured at the festival, my mind was not in a state of complaint except for a few scattered minutes dodging people in between samplings.
A few noteworthy beers that I hope you tried if you were in attendance (if not, please take this as a gentle slap on the wrist and plan on attending next year): Stone Enjoy By IPA, Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout, Southern Tier Krampus Imperial Helles Lager, Skullsplitter Scotch Ale, Bosteel Triple Karmeliet, Affligem Dubbel , West Sixth IPA, among a handful of others. As with other beer festivals I have been to, I had a few beers in mind that I just had to try. I even had a handwritten list (don’t make fun) of beers that I really wanted to sample. After I accepted the fact that my palate was a little worse for wear, I just tried whatever tickled my fancy next.
Overall, I think the festival was a success. After having read horror stories about some festivals around the nation in the past few months, I was relatively skeptical. Some had run out of beer, some were so crowded you couldn’t walk. This festival was affordable, enjoyable, and had an impressive selection. Beer was consumed, people were happy, and money was raised for charity. I’d call that a successful beer festival. Cheers to next year’s!
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