Showing posts with label festivals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label festivals. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Going Round the Bend

This weekend I will be going to my first beer festival since the wonderful, and pissed up, Slunce ve Skle in 2008 - when I first met Pivní Filosof, Honza Ko?ka and some random Czech bloke insisting that none of beers at the festival were as good as Pilsner Urquell, even as he was putting them away with the best of them. That was also the night when I went and bought a bottle of beer liqueur which was 28% and tasted like boozy Benedryl - I liked it, as did Pivní Filosof, though I believe he has no recollection of this.


Now, unlike the entire twitterverse seemingly, I am not flying up to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, rather I am driving down the road to the slightly less metropolitan Scottsville for the somewhat more local event, the River Bend Beer Festival. I am perfectly prepared to say that big events like the GABF have their place, it's just not the kind of place you are ever likely to find me, simply because I hate huge crowds. It doesn't matter what the event is, I have some kind of mental cut off point where I don't want to be surrounded by a massive crowd. The same is true with things like open air markets, I like them, but I will deliberately go early in the morning to avoid the crowds (the fact that generally you get the best stuff then is entirely incidental).

I also find that I like the ethos of an event such as the River Bend Beer Festival because it is about Virginian craft beer. The event will be showcasing 11 Virginian breweries, including 3 of the local brewers, as well as having live music during both sessions on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. I mentioned in a previous post that the Tops of the Hops event here in Charlottesville was slightly disingenuous in advertising 150 craft beers being available, and then including the likes of Pilsner Urquell and Blue Moon in that list, whereas River Bend are committed to Virginia beer and only Virginia beer - supporting local companies.


One of the brewers whose wares I am particularly looking forward to sampling is Shooting Creek Farm Brewery, having heard good things about them from a couple of people. I have also heard good things about Jefferson Street Brewery from Lynchburg, and I need to correct the fact that I have never tried a beer from the St George Brewing company down in Hampton.

I will be at the festival on Friday night, when they have their Connoisseur tasting session, partly in a business mode because the company I work for are sponsoring the event, and we also re-designed the festival website. So for my local readers, if you are going on Friday night, pop over to the Category 4 table and say hello, but most of all come down and support Virginia's craft brewers.

By the way, both pictures were taken at Slunce ve Skle, it was bloody freezing that day, but bloody fantastic as well, which is also this weekend and I believe there is something starting in Munich this weekend as well.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hoping for a great weekend

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a few weeks now, ever since Evan Rail over at Beer Culture posted that there would be a beer festival in Plzeň this weekend. The thing that attracted me most was that this wasn't one of the big brand fests with music and the like which seem to be de rigeur for the major breweries in the Czech Republic these days. Also there was plenty of notice, I would have loved to get down to Moravia for the ?tramberk event but I found out about it too late - such a shame as I think their dark beer is the best dark I have had in this country. The thought of trying beers from 14 small breweries and brewpubs was just too good a thought to put off, so I contacted a few friends and arranged for a group of about 5 of us to go down - at the moment it looks like me, Mrs Velkyal and 3 others.

The venue for the event is Hotel Purkmistr, a hotel which also happens to make its own beer, oh such a shame! I knew that there would be no chance of me wanting to come back to Prague after an afternoon enjoying various beers, so I decided to look into finding a reasonably priced hotel in the area. The company I work for has a benefits system which gives us 12000CZK a year to spend on cultural activities and the like, and so I looked into the system to see what hotels were available on it in Plzeň. You can imagine my joy when I discovered that Hotel Purkmistr was on the system. Two nights duly booked in the hotel and all set for a weekend in the home of Pilsner, although as the hotel's website says Plzeň equals beer but beer in Plzeň is more than just Urquell - and I am fairly sure they don't mean Gambrinus.

My plan of attack for the festival is simple, try all the Purkmistr beers tonight in the hotel bar whilst bowling with Mrs Velkyal, then attempt to try every beer available tomorrow - perhaps buying bottles if there are any available to try on Sunday and in the coming weeks. Working on the theory that each brewer has at least 2 brews a piece and 13 brewers makes 26 beers. Back in my hard drinking days I would have polished 26 half litres of beer off without the barest flicker of an eyelid, and if the company I was in was right would have moved on to demi-sec sparkling wine in a club, but I know better now.

I am not only excited about the many beers I am looking forward to trying, I am also hoping to meet with some of the writers of various blogs I read, and maybe some of the brewers themselves. Although the biggest thing that excites me, I bow my head in shame at this, but it willl be my first trip to Plzeň, so the camera will get a thorough workout.

Here's to a good weekend.

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