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.