Most beer festivals blend together in the memory – either as a spring or winter craft fest with the beers skewed by the season. So for one to come around serving “obscure beers” in the style of 1920s New York City, and on top of that- whiskey tastings, the East Ville Des Folies seemed pretty promising.
There were four floors, the bottom two dedicated to alcohol, the top to beer and the crowds were here for the beer. As for how rare they were, besides some usual suspects (looking at you Narragansett), most beers were from some distant island – Scotland (Williams Brothers Brewing Co), New Zealand (Moa), Hawaii (Kona), and who can forget Blue Point from the mysterious land of Long Island.
There was live entertainment – trapeze artists hanging from the ceiling and ragtime bands which served as a nice distraction to most people who pulled out their phone cameras and eased up the lines for the beer.
But as with most festivals, volunteers run the show so unless they are a great bullshit artist, you aren’t getting much information about the beer beyond what you read on the label. But is this a bad thing? Oh no, my friend. Most volunteers run for the fire escape once the session ends, leaving any left over beer for the taking. And take we shall.
When you pay $40 for a crowded three hour session, you are most likely not going to get to try everything. So taking home anything you didn’t get to try only seems fair. Even if it’s 9.25 gallons worth of beer. Hey this is a party celebrating breaking the Prohibition, our hearts were in the right place.
As for the ratings, there were plenty of winners hitting the 5.5-6 point mark, but no absolute favorites. However there were certainly some duds in the bunch. Can we all agree shandy should not be considered beer? Beer cocktails should be a mix of two beers. Michelada can be an exception, but with those at least you’re using fresh ingredients (vs artificial flavoring) in addition to a light beer.