Monday, October 1, 2012

Yards 4th Annual Smoke 'Em

Last Sunday, Yards held their 4th Annual Smoke 'Em if Yous Got 'Em event. This is a celebration of all things smoked with amateur bbq and quite a few smoked beers. In a change from last year, though, Yards included other styles of beer and reduced the number of smoked ones to around 8-10 from a little over 20. It seems that people thought they were getting smoked out in year 3 and told Yards so in their feedback. Honestly, while I love smoked beers and had no problem drinking a ton last year, it does make more sense to balance the bbq food with non-smoked beers as the similarities in both can make everything taste the same instead of making flavors stand out.

This year the weather was absolutely beautiful and the tents were all set up when I arrived a few minutes before opening.
The amateur bbq people are set up in the far end of that picture. On the right was just a nice sitting area which came in handy. The line itself was pretty short with a few of the usual faces.
And, then, we were allowed inside. The first beer I got was the Yards Smoked Oktoberfest which was tasty though only minimally smoky. After I got Brooklyn Black Ops, an odd sort of bourbon stout that was decent but nothing amazing. It's odd because it's brewed with champagne yeast so it's sort of effervescent and bubbly instead of thick and chewy. I much prefer the latter.
There were quite a few more pouring at the initial bar, but I moved into the main brewery area to check out some of the other stuff. As a side note, part of the fun of the events at Yards is that they take place inside the brewery area. Some parts are roped off for safety and to protect equipment, but it's really cool seeing everything including a random set of oak barrels just chilling off to the side.

The stations all looked similar to this picture with about four beers of varying styles pouring at each.
Another great thing about their fests is that they never oversell them. There were never lines, crowds were totally minimal, and things were just relaxing. Plus their pourers are all incredibly pleasant and it just makes for a good time. Look how much fun Ethan is having.
See, looks likes fun right? Plus you get to see some cool bbq work outside from all the amateur teams.
That's just one guy and there were like 10-15 of them all doing different types of bbq cooking. Just be sure to head out there early enough as they mostly ran out of food by about 2:30, 3pm. It's not too surprising considering how long the fest is just keep it in mind for next year if you do go.

And finally, after a few more hours of drinking, Tom Kehoe, the Yards owner, and a few others announced the winners for the bbq off.
Tom's the one in the red hat if you didn't know.

And then things came to a close. Smoke 'Em lasted from 11-4pm which is way more than enough time and another example of why Yards runs an awesome fest. An interesting beer list, lots of good bbq, and a reasonable number of people make this one of my favorite beerfests throughout the year. I'll say, though, next year I should do a better job of actually drinking the smoked beers. I claim I like them, but probably only tried about half of them this year and instead went with other styles. Still, the beers I did try were good too so I'm not going to complain. And I so rarely eat bbq it's nice to eat a ton all at once.

For another view point on Smoke 'Em, check out Ryan Hudak's entry at In Search of Beer.

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