The remnants of Club Night are still making me feel a bit slow today – but that’s fine, it it was a great time. The NHC club night lets a bunch of homebrew clubs from around the country set up elaborate booths and basically show off as much as they can. More beer than you can drink really – or at least should drink in one night. And that’s usual with beer festivals but this was off the hook. Each booth had on average like 15-20 to drink – some had less – and some even had more! Everyone is given three bottle caps to vote on Best IPA, Best California Common, and Best Booth. I am not sure but I think they will announce those awards tonight at the Grand Banquet and Ceremony.
Fine beer it was – wow. At times it was a joke – you have an amazing huge IPA in your hand and someone is saying, “Oh, would you like my rose petal ale or this pure buckwheat and honey mead?” I only have one glass people! Favorites that I still remember were a Belgian Honey IPA from the Maltose Falcons out of LA – talked with the guy who brewed it and he is really determined to get the best out of this one beer. He is damn close - very balanced with a great honey flavor but still with a bunch of hops – would go great with a duck apricot dish or something fatty and sweet. I loved a sour cherry beer called Psycho Boy – can’t remember where I got it. And that rose petal saison rocked – that was from a guy named Julian Shrago – don’t remember the club name. What else….local crew – the Bay Area Brew Crew had some good stuff – I retried Old Pappy with a fruit elixer from Sean Paxton and loved it again. Jesse Friedman, from Beer and Nosh, gave me a sip of a California Common with some brett thrown in – and ya know what? It rocked. You could really taste what the brett did to the Common. Keep experimenting Jesse (and invite me over when you crack things open).
The Mad Zymurgists were a crazy fun bunch with the mad scientist booth done to perfection and their beer…awesome – especially their double IPA – don’t remember the name but woh, it rocked. Best booth for me was by far from a club called HAZE (where are they from?) who retrofitted an El Camino (Ale Camino, of course!) with tanks and used old soda dispensers to get your beer. The only odd thing was that they didn’t really have anyone at the booth talking about the beer – I guess they were off drinking other people’s stuff.
There is a lot of other great beers and food (woh food – who whould have thought it was the homebrewers conference that had the best beer fest food? Well, duh, it is home cooked). But I have to get some lunch and I think my internet (Boo to you Mariott – you should give it free to conference attendees) is going to end soon. Enjoy some of the pictures and I will post more soon.