expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Geeking Out of Beer Festivals

On the heels of last week's Holiday Ale Festival, I started thinking about what beer festivals are all about these days. My thoughts on this issue are not solely focused on the HAF, although it may be one of the best examples of the "geeking out" approach.

I'm pretty sure my line of thinking will offend some of my friends and fellow bloggers...fellow beer geeks, if you will. Might as well jump right in with an unflattering photo.

First, the Holiday Ale Festival. A rudimentary look at the beer list reveals that very few of these beers are available to the general public. Not in a bottle, seldom in a pub. Why? Because many of these are limited release beers, some made specifically for this festival. Rare is what they want here.

The HAF has been going down this road for years. Preston Weesner has actively encouraged (pushed may be a better word) breweries to create special beers for this festival. Go back 10 years and you would certainly find more mainstream winter beers in the mix. You know. Beers you could actually buy somewhere.

Of course, we beer geeks love the idea of going to a festival and tasting something no one can get anywhere else. Even if it's just a tweaked version of something we can get in a bottle or on draft. We like the experience of seeing what brewers can do when they have a blank canvas. We actually encourage brewers to extend themselves in sometimes crazy directions. We are geeks, after all.

Back in the day, festivals tended to focus on "gateway" beers. Gateway beers are beers that can introduce non-geeks to a craft line or style. The definition of a gateway beer has certainly changed over the course of the last 10-15 years. But the festival culture, and I'm not just talking about the HAF, seems increasingly to be moving away from the gateway concept.

So where does this leave the casual beer fan? Does the casual beer fan come to a beer festival to experience rare and eclectic beers? Have the pallets of casual beer fans in Oregon advanced to the point where they like the the idea of attending festivals where mostly unworldly beers are served?

The question is, are we geeking out our beer festivals? If we are, is it a good thing? Comments welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it civil, please.