#6 Brew at the Zoo 2012

What. A. Weekend.


Ok, so I can shut up about it after this post, but my girlfriend, who rules, bought us tickets for Saturdays "Brew at the Zoo" in Baltimore. There were about 16 breweries, each with small assortment of their brews. From large names like Sam Adams to smaller "who?" brewers like The Brewers Art and a bunch of others in between, there was something for everyone. And it felt like everyone was there, what an impressive turnout!


This was my first ever beer festival, and I couldn't have asked for a better one. And now that I'm looking at it, It looks like there was ONE brewery I missed! Make that two...Damnit! Welp, that's what a lot of beer in 90 degree weather will do to you! Looks like I'll just have to go back next year (honey, can we go back next year?)!


Now, I'm going to warn you, this post is going to be pretty picture heavy and there isn't really going to be any real "review" with a score and such, But I'll try to make this as entertaining as possible!


And if your face made it into any of my pictures...Sorry?


Ok, so lets begin!


#1 Sam Adams


Offering:
Boston Lager
Summer Ale
Angry Orchard Cider
Latitude 48 IPA
Twisted Tea


Sampled:
Summer Ale
Angry Orchard
Latitude 48 IPA


Thoughts: Nothing to really write. I have had all three of these before. I really think Angry Orchard has done hard cider as "right" as any of the mass produced hard ciders I've ever had. Latitude 48 is a good IPA (Think: entry level), and Summer Ale is...Well, their Summer Ale.




#2 DuClaw


Offering:
Euforia Toffee Nut Brown Ale
Mysterium Belgian Spiced Ale
Bare Ass Blonde Ale
Hellrazer IPA


Sampled:
All of them!


Thoughts:  In hindsight, this may have been my favorite brewery at the fest! I found myself wanting to go back and try all of their beers. Euforia was a super unique beer. Until then, Newcastle was the only Brown Ale I had ever had. I really liked this, after I tried out my girlfriends first haha! My first trip up, I wanted the Mysterium, because the name is cool, and the spice intrigued me. It tasted like a kitchen spice rack smells, pretty overwhelming. It wasn't bad, but I think I would drink...a lot of other beers before I had this again. Next up, I had the BareAss Blonde (which got me heckled as my GF next to me, ordered the IPA) followed lastly by their IPA, HELLRAZER. DuClaw was my favorite there because for the four beers they offered, all four were remarkable in my mind and good. I sounded harsh about the Mysterium, I know, but it is good. Just overwhelming and different.




#3 New Belgium


Offering:
Fat Tire Amber Ale
1554 Enlightened Black Ale
Somersault Ale
Ranger IPA
Shift Pale Lager


Sampled:
1554 Enlightened Black Ale
Somersault


Thoughts: After not being impressed by Fat Tire one of the times I had it, I went in line for New Belgium with low expectations. My first trip up I had to try the 1554, because I want to try more black ales. It was very good. My prejudice be damned! I hopped right back in line and got the Somersault, which is so far in my legal drinking history, the best blonde I have ever had. I'm always up for someone to show me different though!


#4 The Raven


Offering:
The Raven Lager


Sampled:
The Raven Lager


Thoughts: They must really stand behind their product to only have one beer. But you know what? It's worth standing behind. This was simply a delicious lager. My one sip led to gulps, it disappeared quickly. And not only was it good, they were the only brewers there that offered merchandise! That made me so happy, especially being an ex-live show junky. I crave memorabilia and merchandise. So cue my 16321654th girlfriend reference, but she bought me a beautiful Pilsner glass. She is awesome. So bravo, Raven, you appealed to me in that sense more than anyone else there! MERCH IS SO IMPORTANT!




We're talking about the tent on the left!
#5 Leinenkugel


Offering: 
Summer Shandy
Red Lager


Sampled:
Summer Shandy


Thoughts: I knew right away, I wanted the Summer Shandy. It was a hot outside...really, really hot. And a Lemonade Beer just seemed like the perfect thing to have. Now, I have had this beer two times prior. Once, I purchased a 12 pack of their cans when I couldn't find the Saranac Summer Brew I had grown to love. That was when I decided that I would never buy another beer in a can. The second time was earlier this spring, I saw there were bottles available. I'm so glad I grabbed it, it was a difference of night and day. So now, we're having the draft and you know what?  I prefer the bottles. I didn't have much of an interest in trying the red lager, nor did I have an interest in getting any of the Blue Moon that was right next to me. So I got some wine and we moved along!




Great picture, I know. The graffiti was pretty awesome, you'll have to trust me!
#6 The Brewers Art


Offering:
Resurrection
Ozzy


Sampled:
Resurrection
Ozzy


Thoughts: These are the only two beers I have had from the famous Baltimore brewers, and they were both fantastic! I had had the Resurrection once prior and I loved it. I haven't had too many abbey-style ales during my tenure, in fact, this might be the only one. It packs a wallop at 7%, but the sweet flavor hides it so well. You would never know. This is a beer that should be getting national recognition. The Ozzy, seemed so...boring after having the Resurrection. Then again, I have a feeling any beer would be. It's a nice representation of the Belgian style though, and perfect for warm sunny days. If you find yourself in Baltimore, you need to go there. Even if I never have!




HI SEAN!
#7 Shiner


Offering:
Wild Hare Pale Ale
Shiner Bock
Spring Ale Dortmunder
Ruby Redbird


Sampled:
Shiner Bock
Ruby Redbird


Thoughts: Well...After lunch, I decided to hit the rest of the breweries I had missed the first half. This was the first I hit after lunch. I was feeling refreshed, sober and had a nice, clean palette. BRING ON THE BOCK! Actually, don't. This beer was awful. And me being the glutton for punishment, decided to try another, the Ruby Redbird. It was certainly a step up from the Bock, but still, nothing special. A grapefruit based wheat is a great idea in theory. And maybe another brewery could pull it off, but Shiner did not. And unless I'm already a bunch of beers deep, during a power outage, I wouldn't drink another Shiner beer. Like with anything I don't like though, I welcome you to convince me otherwise. I have been known to change my mind when I've been convinced I don't like things!




#8 Sprecher Brewing 


Offering:
Black Bavarian
Hefeweiss


Sampled:
Hefeweiss


Thoughts: I really, REALLY, really wanted the Black Bavarian. They had run out of it by the time I made my presence known. Do you think If I had told them I'm a blogger, they would have pulled out their super special secret stash? I should try that next time. Anyway, I settled for the Hefeweiss and I'm glad I tried it. I don't normally seek out this style and I can only name a few good ones that I have tried that I would buy. I'm happy to add this to the list. What a delicious beer! Nice and light, with a delicious, sweet aroma. I'm going to keep n eye out for more from this brewery. It only makes me want to try the Black even more now!




#9 Flying Dog


Offering:
Underdog Atlantic Lager
Snake Dog IPA
Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
Woody Creek White



Sampled: 
Woody Creek White


Thoughts:
I've said it before, Flying Dog is my absolute favorite brewery. I only sampled one of theirs because...Well, I'm not entirely too sure. I think we were wrapping up and getting ready to head out soon and in a rush to hit the last few brewers before the end of the day. But its ok. I couldn't try the one I really wanted to, the Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout. Not because they ran out or anything like that...Blame my stupid, goddamned shellfish allergies. They torture me. 


Now, that about does it for the brewers I remembered to take a picture for. There are a few others I sampled from: 


Moosehead Brewery, I had their Lager and Light Lime. Yuck to both.


Harpoon, I had their Rye IPA, because its freaking awesome. One of my favorite ryes! New England represent!


Spaten, which surprised me, because the night prior I reviewed one of the beers being offered! totally random! But today i tried the Oktoberfest, which was pretty good. Its out of season, so I have a feeling that it might have affected my reception to it.


And lastly, Yards Brewing. They had a Saison and  was so excited to have it! it was actually one of the beers on my list I wanted to try before we left. I had it and it was well worth it. Saisons are a style I want to get more acquainted with. So if you know of any I should try, let me know!


So that was my first ever beer festival, and it was a memorable one! I can not wait to go to another! Everyone was so nice and the crowd as great, i never waited in line too long for anything. The only thing, the one small complaint I have is that the people working the tents were volunteers from Baltimore. I would have loved it if the brewers had actual representatives. I had so many questions and wanted to talk to people and I couldn't and that kind of bummed me out. Oh well! 




Even my girlfriend got involved! although, this photo can serve a dual purpose!




And I certainly didn't go home empty handed!


It felt to be there both for fun and with a purpose, to share my experience with all of you who couldn't make it. I hope you were able to make it to the end of this post!


This festival and beers goes well with: White People Dancing at Festivals

2 comments:

  1. Do you know if Heavy Seas made it out there? They have always been high on my list and the Brewmaster there is one of the coolest guys I ever met. Talk about someone that LOVES beer! And their brewery is RIGHT in Baltimore!

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    1. They didnt, which I thought was really weird! I did have a couple or their Marzens the night before! I go down to baltimore about once a month, I should make it a point to check out their brewery! The only one I've made it to down there is Flying Dog.

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