Monday, June 21, 2010

Fort Collins Brewfest Preview 1

I know lots of people are dissapointed with the new format the 21st Annual Fort Collins Brewfest (officially the Colorado Brewers' Festival 2010) has taken. Even more are discouraged by the new price structure. I've got a little bit of inside knowledge on the subject, and I'd like to share my thoughts.

Regarding the new structure:

  • I am going to really enjoy being on the grass at Civic Center Park and not on the scorching asphalt of downtown.
  • I'm also going to enjoy getting to talk to the brewers about the beer being served.
  • I'm going to like not having to choke down something crappy that I dropped a $2 token on.
  • And I'm really going to like not running out of $2 tokens and having to wait in line again!
  • Did I mention the grass? Just checking.

Here's my take on the pricing:

  • I thought $35 presale and $45 at the gate was too much. $25 presale is much more reasonable.
  • It's really easy to spend $25 at the liquor store and not even get to try three decent beers. Even at a well stocked bar like Old Chicago you'll drop $3 to $5 per beer and get to try five to seven beers. But if you buy and drink seven pints of beer, you're going to be totally tanked and not have any clue what the last four beers tasted like. And if you buy a $9 six-pack and it sucks, you're stuck with five beers you don't want to drink.
  • At Brewfest, you get unlimited samples of over fifty of the best beer that Colorado has to offer. If you like one, get another! If it sucks, pitch it! And unlike the Great American Beer Fest, which costs over twice as much, you get a 4 oz sample, not some puny 1 oz joke.
  • Also important to consider with regards to pricing is the fact that Brewfest is not a charity event. Brewfest is where the DBA makes most of the money it takes to put on all the other great events for the rest of the year. I know it's a straw man, but if you don't go to Brewfest, you're taking away Christmas from some kid. ;)
  • Finally, in previous years I usually spend over $20 on entry and beer, and when I was done, I rode my tipsy ass home. This year there's going to be great live music to sober up to. I'd say that's worth $5.

Just my take. You may disagree, and that's fine, but Brewfest is still Brewfest, and it's still going to be tons of fun for all of us who go.


Now, onto the beer!

I decided to pour some Dale's Pale Ale from Osark Blues into the 4 oz taster and give it a go. First off, four ounces is suprisingly satisfying. Secondly, and more importantly, it's easy to see how America's first hand-crafted canned beer has won so many awards. It has a really nice, deep amber color and very good head retention.  It's 6.5% ABV and 65 IVB, so it let you know who's the boss when you take your first sip. I'm not sure which variety of hops are used, but it's not quite as citrusy as, say, Odell's IPA, but it's nice and bitter with a good body that keeps the pucker-factor in check. I give it an "A".
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