Monday, August 18, 2008

The Beer Event Hall Of Fame

When someone tells you that they have two tickets to this beer paradise of an event, you do whatever it takes to go. Trust me on that. So since the camping equipment was not around any more (not that I had any choice) I searched the world over for a place to stay nearby the festival. When I stumbled across this little gem, I knew I was as good as gold. Our little place was just up the road a few miles from the center of town and not much further from the center of our attention, Belgium Comes To Cooperstown. The funny part of that statement is, we were the only ones who knew that. Most people think that the Baseball Hall Of Fame is the main attraction, but in reality, it's a baseball summer camp. A total of 1152 teams and their families make the trek up here every year, which is why it is so tough to get a place to stay. The locals know very little about our beer fest.
After we got things situated and I had a beer on the deck to enjoy the views, we drove back into town to grab something to eat and drink. We met up with some of our cohorts in crime, Mr. Sodaman, Mr. Steve and Ms. Joy at one of the better beer places in town, but we also had more flies than beer and crappy service to boot. Instead of swatting at flies and possibly drinking out of plastic cups, we decided to go elsewhere for a bite. With the help of the locals, we took a walk down the street to Alex and Ika's. It is probably one of the more upscale places in town. A very nice beer selection by the bottle which our fine server helped us out with. Three bottles of
organic saison and some local cheeses, a great salad and some soup and we were all ready for the big day. After such a beautiful Friday, Saturday morning brought some rain down, but I knew it would clear up in time for us to do a little R and D. Myself and Pookie De Hand had a mighty fine breakfast by our host out on the deck after the rain subsided, and then we started our trek to Ommegang. The words "out in the middle of nowhere" really ring true for this brewery, but it is a beautiful thing to see. After parking the car in the farmers fields next door to the place, we literally ran into our friend Paul who just drove up that morning and pulled up besides us. So we all strolled in together and grabbed our glasses and took a tour of the grounds. At every single campsite we walked by, there was enough beer and food around to last even the city of Philadelphia a week. The beer alone that we drank was better then some at the fest.

It was getting too late to take a brewery tour as the festival was just about ready to commence. Now I have been going to beer festivals for (gulp!) 20 years or so, and I have to say, I have never seen such a laid back crowd. There was only one line all day and that was at Russian River early on. People would get a beer and walk back to their tents or just hang out on the grounds. No worry about last calls for food or beer here! There was absolutely no way I was ever going to take notes in all this craziness, but on occasion I do recall a few things. Boulevard Brewing's Saison Brett 07, Captain Lawrence St. Vincent's Dubbel, Iron Hill's Heywood and Fred. Russian River and Southampton, well everything. Troegs Scratch Number 8 and Unibroue 14. Allagash Interlude ON CASK! Are you fucking kidding me? Hell, even with the list next to me it is hard to remember everything I drank or ate. Oh yeah, waffles to die for. All in all, this is one of the best beer festivals to go to, period. And now for your entertainment, some lovely pictures from the scene of the crime. A shout out of thanks goes to Mr. Sodaman for a few of these pictures.


Brian P said...

Sounds like the BCTC was yet again a huge success. I've been catching up on the festivities from several different sites and they all seem to agree that it is one of the year's best events. I haven't been since 2004 and looking at your photos reminds me that I need to make a better effort when it rolls around next year. I've been enjoying both blogs and hope to make it to the bar soon to enjoy a few.

Brian P

Dan Bengel said...

Thank you kind sir. It is really tough to write in any kind of great detail about something like this or for that matter G.A.B.F., which is another stellar event. Just trying to take pictures after a (few?) beers or note taking, as I am sure you know, is impossible. But it is all the great people there that make it so great.