Monday, October 24, 2011

Hopfest Was So Much Better Than the Camera On My Phone

If it was up to me, beer fests wouldn't start until about 8 pm. But since Hopfest was starting at 2, I had to rush to wake up, get all my stuff together, and head out to the Hard Rock Casino Hotel. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, which isn't great but still beats the camera on my stupid phone. Therefore, all you get is this blurry photo of Boar's Nest Brewery's booth, but that's appropriate. They had one of the consistently long lines of the day, showing that people are still excited for new beer even with the influx of breweries here in 2011. Lines were not a problem, as generous pours were allowed because of the fest's location on Isleta Pueblo property, letting people enjoy a beer from one brewery while they waited in line for another. The fest was too large for the main room so there was a second tasting room inside the casino, as well as a great outside spot where a third area was set up (as well as a third stage for musical acts- felt like I was at Lollapalooza but with good beer). VIP ticket holders had their own fourth area with special pours like Santa Fe Bourbon Barrel State Pen Porter and plush chairs for that post-tasting nap. Highlights for me included Goose Island Matilda, Widmer Nelson Imperial IPA, and Goat Head Brewing's The Maple's Shade Imperial Stout. Another highlight was the Dukes of Ale homebrew club's table, where they poured Ben Miller's IPA (best IPA I tasted), Saison, Gruit, something I forget because I don't have my notes, and the Duke's people's choice award winner Milk Stout, brewed by Mike Griesmeyer. The best non-beer highlight was the amount of both volunteers and Hard Rock employees who contributed to making the fest run smoothly. The water stations were so well attended to that I felt like there should have been a tip jar. Hydration is severely underrated, so the attention paid to this area was appreciated.

Come post-fest time, we still hadn't had our fill of beer despite the 150 beers available at Hopfest. As always, we were well-prepared, as were some other attendees, so we took over The Goat Head hotel room and started the second party. Turtle Mountain's Nico Ortiz brought some Dogfish Head Chateau Jihau and Pure Hoppiness (neither pictured since he showed up a little late, most likely from trying to keep the tradition of getting kicked out of every hotel he stays in after a beer fest). Fueled by all those beers, we moved on down to the casino floor, where we won a modest sum at the 21 tables. And as long as Hopfest attendees shied away from the casino, everybody must have left feeling like a winner. Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time, with craft beer introduced to a multitude of people who had no idea there were so many choices out there. Here's hoping they will become converts and support our ever growing craft beer scene.


HopHed said...

Good times, indeed.

Christopher said...

Two questions: is Goat Head ever going to get a taproom going? And where will Boar's Nest be setting up shop?

Anonymous said...

Hey CJ, it's Victor with Boar's Nest Brewery. We will be located at 3300 Princeton Dr NE, Suite N1, ABQ, 87107. Hopfest was a ton of fun and we are looking forward to serving our beers to everyone when we open up. Check out our website for the most up to date grand opening info.

Goat Head Brewing said...

Thank you for your inquiry CJ. We are currently searching for a location to suite our needs. It has unfortunately taken longer than expected. We will send out an update as soon as we solidify a building. We apologize for the delay.