Friday, June 10, 2011

A day at Beer Fest

I attended the 2011 Pennsylvania Microbrewers Fest at Penn Brewery this past weekend. While I'd love to give a full recap with some detailed beer reviews, the sheer number of beers being served combined with the effects of trying most of them means I can't remember them all well enough. So, I'll just go with the highlights.

The event was set up much like the Penn Brewery's Oktoberfest festivities, with the beer stands set up in the parking garage. There were 30 brewers listed in the program and each one was typically serving at least two beers. Some of the more prominent names there were Brooklyn, Flying Dog, Great Lakes, Magic Hat, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada, Stoudts, Erie and Troegs. Local brewers were also well represented with Church Brew Works, East End, Fat Heads, Full Pint, Rivertowne Pour House, the local Rock Bottom and, of course, Penn Brewery.

There were many fine brews and a great atmosphere. I probably didn't taste any beers that I would consider to be my favorite or anything, but there weren't really any duds either. On top of that, the atmosphere, food and people were all great and I can't wait to go back in 2012. With that said, here are just a few of my personal beer fest superlatives:
  • Most disappointing: Magic Hat. They only were serving #9, which is available almost everywhere you go these days. You'd think they could do better for a crowd like this.
  • Best showing: Three Rivers Association of Serious Homebrewers (TRASH). This consortium of local home brewers was showcasing four beers at a time, rotating hourly. I think I had 2 from each hour, as well as sipping some of the others off of my brother, and all of them were good. They had both a "smoky" and a "spicy" brew that came very much as advertised.
  • Most prevalent variety: IPAs. Seriously, every booth had one.
  • Best celebrity sighting: Gene, of Gene's Place fame. I even got a chance to say hello. He, very unfortunately, told me that he believes Gibbons Beer has ceased production.


  1. The news about Gibbons is absolutely devastating. We may have to pool our resources in order to re-release Gibbons. If we do, we have to make sure that we use recycled bottles with glue all over them.

    Sounds like a great time. Disappointed I missed out on all the IPAs. I didnt realize it was that popular. I bet it would have been nicer to see more diversity though, right?

    I have never been a big fan of #9. Also weird that they wouldnt try to showcase other beers as #9 is already well known.

  2. There was one dud. Remember that Marzoni's IPA that tasted like cough syrup? That was awful.

  3. Yeah, but I couldn't remember which one it was. I'm trying to keep things positive around here.

    @stellar. I don't have a problem with #9. But, you can find it virtually anywhere, including on tap at a lot of bars. So at a tasting event specifically geared to beer snobs, why would that be the only thing you bring to showcase yourself? There were a lot of breweries there that I have sampled before, and yet only Magic Hat wasn't offering me something new.