All beer fests great and small

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Back in September I found myself stuck in the middle of nowhere (otherwise known as Roswell, NM) for the weekend. Rather than try to fill my time in the UFO Museum, I decided to make a 4 hour drive to the Mountain West Brewfest in Albuquerque. It was a huge festival that ran in the standard manner. You pay to get in and get a tasting glass that you bring from booth to booth getting samples of beer from each brewer.

Mountain West Brewfest – Blue Corn Brewing Tent

At this particular beer festival I saw someone walking around with a bottle that looked very different. I asked them about it and they said they had paid $5 for it back at the Santa Fe brewing booth. I stumbled my way (there were many samples that day) to that booth as fast as I could and scored a very rare 22 oz bottle of barrel aged scotch ale for $5.

Santa Fe Ever Changing Series – Highland Heath

That had to be one of the best scores I ever experienced.

Fast forward to this last weekend. I find a local event that managed to combine dogs and beer. The Bark n Brew event in Oviedo, FL sounded like a great idea. Unfortunately, crossing the streams doesn’t always result in hip mashups. Trying to combine dog vendors and beer vendors resulted in too few of each.  I paid $20 to get a card that allowed me exactly 10 tastings. No more, no less.

Bark and Brew Sampler Punch Card

The breweries present were nothing new and all of the non-local breweries were manned by event staff rather than brewery staff. I did manage to find one beer that I had not seen before.

Goose Island Four Star Pils

I would love to have added this bottle to my collection. But the event had an issue with glass and the person at the booth literally feared for their job if they let me walk away with the bottle. Far be it for me to put a man’s job on the line for my collection. So, I didn’t press the issue. But, I did get the other side of the win-lose dichotomy that was set in motion last September. All told, this beer will start showing up in all of the local beer stores and I will manage to get it sooner or later.  It’s just disappointing to walk away from a beer festival with only a punch card as a souvenir.

To drink or not to drink

We’ve all been there. You work a hard day and you feel like you’ve earned yourself a beer. It’s a great feeling. But what if…

I got up at 4am this morning to drive to a super remote location. After an hour delay, then an hour on the highway, I find myself a passenger on what feels more like an amusement park ride than a dirt road.  The only picture I managed to get was in an area that wasn’t even that bad.

Next thing I know, the guy who doesn’t excerciae AT ALL is taking the most intense hike I’ve ever had to traverse. We are hiking up a mountain for an hour straight in Arizona desert/mountain region a stones throw from the Mexican border at a faster pace than I thought possible.

Hey, that’s pretty close to the border

At one point I had to be “that guy” and call for a break. I’m sure sure someone in that group is still laughing at me now. I’m climbing a slope so steep that my knuckle are practically scraping the ground. I decide that I can’t go any further and say “I need to sit down”. But, I just kept standing there. The people around me immediately go into nursing mode and start checking me for dehydration.  Am I still sweating?Good. Do I have enough water? Good. Let’s put some electrolytes in you water. Maybe you should eat something. And so on.

I did sit down. I ate and drank. And then I pushed on. In the end it was worth the trip.

 

Undisclosed location in the wilderness

So, if there was ever a day that I earned a beer… This was it. The problem here is that I know from experience that exposing myself to massive amounts of sun and dehydration does not mix well with beer. I’ve gone that route and felt horrible because of it.

So, what to do. We had such an early start that we were back to the hotel by 4pm. I’ve been hydrating ever since “the incident”. I jump in the pool to cool off and hydrate some more. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know I’m in for a night of getting up every hour to pee. But, I’m willing to pay the price. Finally, about 8pm, I’m ready for Miller Time. I figure at this point if I still feel bad after, I’m going to bed anyway. Raise your glass with me for this really well deserved beer.

Nimbus Red Ale

 

1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won’t stop them now

The collection is growing fast. In fact, it just reached 1400 bottles and cans. Let’s all say hello to number 1400.

1400th Bottle
1400th Bottle

This impressive bottle is the Brooklyn Defender IPA. I’m not usually an IPA drinker. But, how can a guy so geeky that he finds a movie quote specifically about the number 1400 (look up the blog post title kids… Then watch that movie) pass up the official beer of New York Comic Con. I have to admit, it was pretty good. I can enjoy a citrus based hoppy beer like this one. Just keep the pine based ones to yourself (if you don’t mind).