my preview post here where I wrote a bit about what it entails and such. To summarize for those too lazy to click a link, it's a beerfest held by BeerAdvocate and Sixpoint where 50 or so beers were brewed specifically for the event on Sixpoint's small batch system. The brewers ranged from various home brewers to friends of the brewery to our own Philly native Sean Mellody of Mellody Brewing.
After spending the afternoon wandering around NYC, we hopped on the subway to head to Brooklyn. While it should have taken 40 minutes or so, the various trains we took kept deciding to just stop or change their line designations so it took a bit longer than that but we still managed to make it there in plenty of time. At least the trains never changed directions I guess. When we arrived, the line was already pretty long but at around 5:45, they started handing out bracelets and checking IDs so when 6 hit we got into the Bell House in about 5 or 10 minutes. Not bad getting like 100+ people in there that quickly that's for sure.
Here are some pictures of the crowd just before we went into the Bell House.
Once we got into the Bell House, the beers were laid out in alphabetical order with a group of sixteen in the front bar and the rest in the main stage area. (The Bell House is a music venue so picture a big room with a stage and you have an idea what that area looked like.) Having them in order like that made it really easy to find ones I wanted to try since it meant I didn't need to wander around like an idiot. Most of the tables in the main area were basically laid out like in this picture.
At first Jo and I just wandered around trying the different beers, seeing if we could find one that she liked. That took a while but she eventually settled on the Deter Tribute London Brown Ale and the Hometown Pale Ale. I, however, spent nearly all of the time trying everything I could even when I found a few I thought were tasty. As such, I realized the biggest thing that small batch brewing allows is the ability to create ridiculously odd beers. Between the Konichiwheat Wasabier which tasted like a glass of liquid wasabi to the BeerAdvocate beer, Green Paper Thaiger, brewed with caramelized onions which tasted like I don't even know, the night was full of interesting flavors. Some worked, some didn't, but regardless it was certainly an experience.
In the end, my two favorites were Bulldog Strong Ale and the Golden Lily. The Bulldog was made with one of Sixpoint's brewers and was a Belgian Dark Strong Ale with brett, but really tasted like an American Strong Ale with a nice mild hoppiness and a sweetness to balance it out. Really good. The Golden Lily, on the other hand, didn't really fit into any category that I can name. Made by someone named Jim Yanuzelli and named for his 1 month old daughter (who I hope is named Lily and not Golden), it was brewed with lily flowers, coriander, orange peel, nutmeg, and orange juice. The flavors were reminiscent of lemongrass and vanilla and I can almost taste them while writing about the beer. Just a distinct and delicious beer that I quite enjoyed. That's not to say I didn't like some others, they just didn't quite stand out like these two did.
With 50 beers to try, I didn't get around to all of them, but some did run out before I had a chance to try them so I'll use that as an excuse. I mean, I only missed around 13 of them so I got pretty close. Trying 37 different beers in about three and a half hours isn't so bad. While some of them didn't work for me, the experience was worth the trip and the fact that it supported the Humane Society was great too. Would Jo and I go again next year? Probably not but more because getting to and from NYC and the cost of the hotel made it a slightly expensive trip. If we lived there, we'd definitely go every year but we don't so yeah. We both had a lot of fun and as I said it was totally worth it.
Oh and I totally forgot to mention the burlesque show. A burlesque show at a beerfest, you ask? Apparently yes! Here's a picture of the guy who ran the show.