This Saturday marks the 15th annual Kennett Brewfest in Kennett Square, PA. The event organizers have really out done themselves this year bringing in over 80 breweries from around the US and overseas, over 30 of which will be pouring specialty beers at the Connoisseur Tasting (which really has turned into it’s own event).
Big events like these can be just down right daunting. To be honest, I always try to do a little homework before hand and go into these events with a game plan. But then, somewhere around beer 6 or 7, it all goes to hell as I switch to kid-in-a-candy-store mode and just go where ever the promise of beer to taste takes me.
That being said, I do try to make a mental note of some breweries whose tents I definitely want to make sure I visit. Some are breweries I’ve grown to enjoy over the years. These are great to visit in the hopes that they’re bringing something new or different from the usual beers that make their way to our area. Others are breweries that don’t normally come around this area, but their reputation proceeds them.
So with that in mind, here’s a few breweries I’ll be looking for on Saturday.
This Colorado based brewery started with two homebrewers who decided to just start a brewery. They got off to a good start, opening in January 1994 and then going right out and winning two gold medals at the GABF later that year (and racking up 14 more medals since). They created quite a stir at last years GABF with a release event for their Milk Stout Nitro, the first nitrogenated beer in the US not to use a widget. I’ve heard a lot about these guys and can’t wait to check them out. Beers I’m looking for: Oktoberfest, 400 Pound Monkey (English IPA) and Wake Up Dead (Imperial Stout).
This Seattle Washington brewery has made its way it to Delaware a few times and it’s available over the Maryland state line at State Line Liquors. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries with the help of such solid beers as Bete Blanche Tripel, Dragonstooth Stout, The Immortal I.P.A., Perseus Porter and Loser Pale Ale. They’re also doing a very interesting series off beers based on the Mayan apocalypse prediction. They’re releasing a different beer every month with labels done by noted Black Hole graphic novelist Charles Burn. Most of the beers in the series have so far been pretty solid, although #5, Peste, didn’t click with me. Besides the beers that I’ve previously listed I’ll be looking for apocalypse series beers Ruin (a Rosemary, Agave IPA) and Rapture (Heather Ale).
This was high on my “must visit” list last year and they didn’t disappoint. Coming in from Meadville PA, these guys show up with Wynona’s Big Brown ale, which I really enjoyed and Tracey loved their Love Child. To be honest, not much to say other than that. Beers I’ll be Looking for: One of the 4 Season IPAs and Big Black Voodoo Daddy (Russian Imperial stout).
This will be my first chance to try any beers from this brewery. To be honest, I’m not a big user of beer rating sites like Beer Advocate or Rate Beer, but when a brewery has 8 of their beers in Beer Advocate’s 100 most popular (using what ever devil-witchery formula they use to determine that) I have to take notice. Shaun Hill has been brewing beer in Vermont for years and for the most part, that’s where his beers have stayed. In fact, except for a few times a year when some make their way to Philly or New York (Boston is or has joined recently), the bulk of his beer is sold directly out of his gift shop. And people apparently drive for miles to get some. Beers I’ll be looking for : Anna Saison (brewed with Vermont wildflower honey), Holger Danske (a smoked brown ale) and any of the Society and Solitude series.
This brewery is certainly no stranger to Delaware, and Tracey and I are no strangers to their beers. Their beers have been featured at bars like Two Stones Pub, Cantwell’s Tavern and Ulysess Gastropub just to name a few, and we count some of them among our favorites. Brewing out of Portland Maine, Rob Tod started out with the “simple” goal of producing first rate Belgian-style ales. To be honest I don’t really care what they bring, but if they’re pouring Four (Belgian-Style Quadruple) then I’ll be very happy. And if they’re pouring White (Belgian Style Wit) then Tracey will be happy.
There are just a boat load of good breweries showing up on Saturday besides these (21st Amendment, Weyerbacher, Stillwater, and Flying Dog just to name a few) , and don’t forget to stop by and say hi to all the local breweries who will be representing Delaware on Saturday: Argilla Brewing, Twin Lakes, Dogfish Head and Old Dominion.
See you there!