I went to the Kingsport, TN Oktoberfest yesterday. It was a beer festival with a homebrew component. We set up tents and poured beer right next to the pros. It was a great event, with a number of large regional and a couple of national breweries there. Of course all of the local breweries for a couple hundred miles around were there.
It was my first experience on the other side of the sampling table, and it was a blast!
AFA the competition, it wasn't a BJCP dealio or anything, just Brewer's Choice, People's Choice and 1,2,3 places. No styles or anything. I entered my kolsch, which was very young, and didn't place or win anything. But I got some awesome and encouraging feedback from both the public and the other brewers. I had one pro brewer ask for seconds, even! What was even better was that SWMBO worked the booth with me and heard all of the positive comments, and now she's like, planning the next beer fest and talking about what "we" should brew, and diving in head-first! I think she's getting as excited about brewing as me. Pretty cool!
Just a sampling of some of the creative brews that were there:
A butternut squash homebrew - almost like a pumpkin beer, but not as rich or cloying. Very nice beer.
A wicked Christmas Cinnamon Ale. That one won 3rd place.
A strawberry-infused kolsch, run through a water filter crammed full of strawberries between the keg and the tap.
A vanilla-infused porter
Best name of the day: My Wife's Bitter
Some of the better pro offerings:
Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest
Sierra Nevada Tumbler
Thomas Creek Class 5 IPA
Thomas Creek Extreme IPA (a 12.5% IPA
Moccasin Bend IPA
All in all a great day with a lot of like-minded beer geeks. Looking forward to the next one in the spring. I'm going to start brewing for that one next week...