Volunteering at Night of the Funk

The Alstrom Brothers

This was my first experience volunteering at a beer festival. At the time I signed up, I figured I’m not a huge sour fan (although I like them much more now) so volunteering for the fest and getting a couple of half hour breaks to try some of the can’t miss sours was going to be perfect.

After hitting up Deep Ellum and Lord Hobo, I headed on over to the Cyclorama. I actually really liked this venue. It’s so much more beautiful than your typical convention center, like where American Craft Beer Festival is held, with tons of character, exposed brick, trussing on the ceiling, and one of the most interesting bathrooms I’ve ever seen.

My first duty was to help coordinate the making of all the signs for beers that were present but were missing signs. While there were a lot of signs already made from the night before, there were still plenty to be made the day of.

I received my assignment and schedule for the night. I’d be pouring Liefmans, Lindemans, Lindemans, and Oud Beersel all night. The Liefmans Goudenband kept my cup full for the evening.

Hey look who was at the table right next time me! Social media beer nerd extraordinaire Emily (Bagel) Ragle! (Yes I’m aware I look like shit in this pic, oh well.)

The folks from the Cellars at Jasper Hill were only a few tables down from me. Needless to say I made more than a trip or two down there for samples.

The guys from Armby Abbey and Deep Ellum all came over to say hi at some point in the night and I got the chance to chat up Shaun Hill from Hill Farmstead and Rob Burns of Night Shift Brewing during my couple of breaks. After cleaning up the volunteers all had the opportunity to hang around for an hour or two and drink what was left of the kegs at the end of the night.

Overall I had a great time, but I wouldn’t be being honest with you if I didn’t think I would have had a better time just going to the festival itself. There were a few beers that I missed out on, some not listed on the website before I left for Boston, and I just couldn’t do the research on my phone in time to know what I was missing. And I could definitely have spent the whole night mingling and meeting new people from the Boston area and getting an idea of how to spend the rest of my weekend (not that I had any complaints about how it turned out). Let’s just say I won’t be volunteering for Night of the Barrels.

Team Buffalo Gang Bang Beer It Forward #2

After a stop at Premiere and night of hopping with Merc between MacGregors’, Blue Monk, Cole’s, Mr. Goodbar and an obvious late night snack at ETS, it was time to get some real drinking done.

For those of you who don’t know, a rather large or “Gang Bang” Beer It Forward was set up on BeerAdvocate that transpired between the months of June and July. 5-8 man teams, 400-500 oz requirement, plus swag, glassware and whatever other extras you felt like throwing in. Team Cleveland sent to us, we sent to another team, that team sent to team #4 etc etc. I threw in some Lawson’s, Rock Art (blech) and naturally Heady Topper, with a damn fine looking Lawson’s Tulip to boot.

Team Cleveland grossly ignored the 500 oz limit (I wasn’t complaining) by sending us close to 800 oz’s including all of the bottles (one was a 3L), growlers, and a sixtel keg of Columbus IPA. Not to mention shirts and a couple of glasses for everyone, beef jerky and other dried meats, popcorn, chocolate and I’m sure a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting. They killed it.

Drinking commenced around mid-afternoon and the party didn’t stop until midnight. A handful of bottles were still left, but that was on top of the extra’s that the rest of Team Buffalo included, including one very sexy growler of Apple Brandy Hunahpu, some Chocolate Rain and a handful of other treats.

It wouldn’t be a proper tasting without some Kan Jam, some grilling, and some keg stands (even though it was only a sixtel). That activity produced to of my favorite photo of the day. Timber!!!!

I took a TON more pictures throughout the day that will be dispersed throughout the rest of the week. Keep reading!

Edit: The beers and other shenanigans of the Gang Bang BIF #2 can be found here.

Summer Vermont BeerAdvocate Meetup

– After heading up to the Beverage Warehouse to grab some tasting glasses (which we forgot to pack) and setting up our tent and the rest of the campsite we headed up to the pavilion where the meet had started. The pavilion was next to Mt. Philo’s outlook and we couldn’t have been treated with better weather and scenery for the event. Seriously check out this view of Lake Champlain:

The Vermont BA crew was amazing, generous and hospitable. The bottle lineup was insane. The beers I brought were shamed by this massive collection of exceptional brews. Consider this lesson learned. You’ve seen a lot of these beers posted through out the week so I’m not going to get into it. Check out this tag here to catch up if you haven’t.

Some of the food like the beer soaked brats and pulled pork were warmed up on the charcoal fireplace but Tucker and I grabbed my Weber Q too cook the skewers and bacon-wrapped hot dogs (I promise I’ll bring more of those next time, to go along with the beer pickles).

There were a few canine attendees (even another shiba!) that were well-loved and fed the entire day.

The coolest thing for me was I got to sink my teeth into some lambics, gueuzes and other sour beers that I haven’t really gotten the chance to try and I generally shy away from in the past. I didn’t like them all, but it was a learning experience and really makes me want to snag tickets to the Night of the Funk and try as many of these beers I can get my hands on.

Overall the meetup was pretty awesome. All of the people I met were badass and we were even able to meet up with some of the later on in the week. I’ll definitely be attending the next one and look forward to seeing you guys at future Vermont beer events!

Kinda Disappointed I’m Not Making it to ACBF This Year

…and missing out on sweet photo opportunities like this. Yes, both Elise and the rando are trashed here (Elise within the first 45 minutes of last year’s festival or so). And yes, utilikilts are acceptable fashion for all events that end in “Fest”.

East Coast Road Trip Advice [Road Trip]

(This is a copy and paste of my post on BeerAdvocate but if I can get some FB and Tumblr friends to help that’d be great!)

Hey guys, need some advice. I’m making my annual drive from Albany, NY to Orlando, FL next week and I’m looking to find some stops along the way (to and from). I leave on Thursday morning, hoping to make a very quick stop at DFH Brewpub Rehoboth Beach and make it to my brother’s place in Ocoee, FL some time on Friday. I’ll be there for the week and leave the following Friday morning. I have a few options and questions and maybe you guys can weigh in here and give me some help.

First, I plan on leaving Albany as early as I can Thursday morning and stopping at the DFH Brewpub sometime after lunch. I unfortunately cannot stay for long and need to keep on driving so I’ll be limited to one or two drinks (although worst case my girlfriend can take the wheel afterwards so I don’t mind if they’re two extremely high alcohol drinks!). What are the must-haves at the Brewpub? Is there anything there that I absolutely can’t get any place else? Can I get DFH vodka there? How about food recommendations? Swag recommendations are helpful, too. Also take note that I’ll be there the day before The Weekend of Compelling Ales and Whatnot is happening and I’m not sure if that goes for or against my favor.

Last year we stopped at Sweetwater Tavern in Virginia and we’re looking to find someplace new this year. We also stayed overnight in Richmond but this year we’re going to be driving straight through the night.

As for Cigar City, while I’ll be arriving in Ocoee some time on Friday and technically I could drive over to Cigar City and make Hunahpu Day, I’d be wasting most of the only Saturday I’ll have to spend with my two nephews who I only get to see them a couple of times a year. This would make me feel like a huge douche so I’m not going to do that. However, I do plan on making a visit to Cigar City on one of their school days, probably that Monday or Tuesday. The same questions for DFH Brewpub apply. Must-have beer, food, swag recommendations? Also, if anyone is looking to do an in-person trade for Hunahpu I’d be will to bring whatever I have access to up in NY down with me. I even have some Heady Topper from The Alchemist I can keep in a cooler the whole way to trade as well. Let me know, I don’t mind making a run to the beverage center before leaving for this trip.

Usually we take one night for the boys to go off to drink and smoke cigars and the ladies stay at home with my brother’s kids and drink wine by the pool. Last year we hit up a World of Beer. This year I’m leaning towards going to Redlight Redlight. My brother has never been and it’s so highly rated I figured I’d try to make it there. If that’s not the right decision or if there’s anyplace else I should stop too, feel free to chime in.

Lastly, I’m looking for other ideas to stop while on the road itself. It’s a shame to go through so many states and only eat at crappy fast food and rest stops so I try to go local whenever I can. It does not have to beer related but it does have to be delicious and relatively quick so whatever you suggest I can try to work in a stop either on the way or back. I usually use my trusty TV Food Maps app to hit up places that have been on Man vs Food or Food Network, etc. but if I can plan ahead of time that would be great. Thanks guys!

View of the Logan International Airport

Taken from the suite we stayed in after the American Craft Beer Festival last year. The Extreme Beer Fest is this weekend and I’m extremely disappointed I’m not gonna make it. Have you seen this beer lists?? Night of the Barrels takes the cake but the Saturday session ain’t too shabby, either. Good luck getting tickets if you haven’t already. It sold out in an hour and the CL prices are off the charts!