We chose to do the Friday night session of the St. Louis Brewers Heritage Festival, after learning from our trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver that the first night of a festival is usually the least crowded.
All five of us that attended have some degree of homebrewing experience, but we were eager to taste what the professionals had made. While we are far from professional brewers we have been getting pretty good at tasting! In fact, three of us are card carrying members of a brewing club based in New Haven, Mo (or I should say we would be if our club had memberships cards)! If you would like to join us, we meet every third Monday of the month at 2nd Shift Brewing. If you have ever homebrewed you know it involves some serious sampling. The only way to find out,”What’s right and what’s wrong with this beer?” is by tasting.
Single Hop IPA’s*
Single Hop IPA was the festival beer this year and it was by far my favorite thing hands down! It made me feel like I was learning something and drinking beer at the same time, as the breweries made the same beer and then added a single different type of hops. There were 11 total and I was amazed by the distinct flavor profiles.
Some of my favorites were:
Cascade by Kirkwood Station (woodsy almost piney flavor)
Zythos by 2nd Shift Brewing (lemon/citrus flavor)
Galaxy by Schlafly (pineapple/tropical flavor)
*Note: If you are not familiar with IPA it stands for India Pale Ale. IPA’s usually have a bitter or “hoppy” flavor. Single hop means a single variety of hop was used and not a blend. For example: Kirkwood station made an American IPA with a single hop called Cascade. Many beer recipes call for several hop varieties, so this was a unique opportunity to taste each individual hop.
Local, Local, Local
I’m always pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of food and drink made with care, right here in the St. Louis area. All breweries and food vendors were local.
It was fun to be downtown Friday night and keep track of score from ballpark village. Go Cards!
Improvements for next year:
Parking at the location
The location left me with mixed feelings. I was able to carpool (Thanks, Deb!) but parking can be a little pricey downtown on a game night. Be prepared if they keep this location for next year.
No Brand names
I wish the brand names (you know, the name of the beer that’s on the label) were displayed along with the style. It would make tracking down my favorites so much easier! For example: I think “American Red Ale” from 4 Hands Brewery is the same as Reprise Centennial Red but I’m not totally sure. Sigh…either way it was good stuff.
Overall, a great time was had by all, but really, it’s hard not to have fun at a beer festival! If you missed this opportunity to taste great beer, 2nd Shift Brewing is having a Beerfest this Saturday July, 7th from 12-4 in New Haven, MO. Details are at www.2ndshiftbrewing.com. See you there!