As you can see in the photo above of the Colorado Native booth, it did indeed rain during the festival but that didn't stop most people from having a good time. We all crowded underneath the brewery tents and waited it out. And speaking of Colorado Native they won two gold medals at the festival for their German Pils and their regular Lager. The crisp German Pils was definitely in my top 5 drinks of the day.
|Some folks avoiding the rain|
heavy although it only lasted about 15 minutes then the sun was back out again giving us all a pretty good sunburn.
Tactical Nuclear Penguin.
|Jason Leeman is armed and ready for battle|
I wasn't too thrilled with Carver Brewing's Pilsner, it tasted a bit soapy. I also wasn't super happy with Odell's Kölsch because it was way too bitter and hopped up for a Kölsch. The style is supposed to be much simpler and subtle but they turned it into some kind of pale ale thing. This was surprising to me as I had given my recommendation for these beers in a previous post.
Downslope Distilling's whiskey which was double distilled and had 65% Maris Otter, one of my favorite types of grains in beer (behind Golden Promise malt). I also really enjoyed Roundhouse Spirits' Barrel Aged Gin. I thought their regular gin was so heavy on the juniper but the barrel aged version really brought out a lot more of the subtle flavors in the background, like the coriander, and star anise.
Overall the festival was a lot of fun. The tickets are a hefty $40 at the door and I think they're either $5 or $10 cheaper if you buy them in advance. Now that I've spent a year in Colorado Springs, my biggest complaint for the beer festivals here are that they cost so much money. I used to pay $10-20 for a sample glass and 10-15 tickets, then $1 for each ticket after that, each ticket giving you a 1-3oz sample depending on the festival. Then I could regulate how much I wanted to drink with how much I wanted to pay. $40 is an alienating price, a lot of people won't be able to come to this festival because of it. Maybe that's good? Maybe they're trying to keep out the weirdos? But for me, I'm getting really tired of paying $35-$40 for these beer festivals (I did have a media pass to this festival, but I'm just saying...).
In terms of the beer, I'm not sure the $40 would have been worth it. There was some really fantastic beer at the festival but there wasn't a ton of stuff that I can't already find in town or in Colorado. I'd like to see more experimentation with the beers. Maybe each brewery takes one keg of their normal lager and adds something to it? I'd also like to see more small breweries. A Craft Lager Festival is really a fantastic idea, about as fantastic as a Saison Festival, so why aren't there more Colorado breweries taking a stab at this?
Huge plus for the small batch distilleries! Oh man, that was really great being able to sample the local whiskey. I'm often tempted to buy a bottle but as they are a little more money than usual it's hard for me when I don't know how they taste. This was so helpful, I'll definitely buy bottles of a few of the distillers that were at the festival. However, can we still call it a Lager Festival if the distilleries become such a huge part? I'm not saying to throw out the name, or the beer, or the distilleries, there's something really good happening with it all together. And in my opinion the distilleries made the $40 a reasonable looking price.
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