Beer Hoptacular

Saturday night I was able to stop into the Beer Hoptacular.  I was excited; it’s my first true beer event since SAVOR back in DC.  I had some high hopes for it since it would have a bunch of local breweries and a few national breweries bringing some hard to find brews.

The High Points:

  • I got to try out 12 new beers and even a few liquors from local distilleries.
  • Goose Island brought along Bourbon County Stout making me a very happy individual.
  • My favorite beer of the night came from Half Acre.  It was a barrel-aged Belgian sour.  It was fantastic.  Although, there were a lot of people getting it who thought “barrel-aged” meant it would be a stout and were unpleasantly surprised by the sourness.

The Medium Points:

  • Food was decent.  They had a good selection to choose from, and the jalapeno and cheese stuffed pretzel I had was quite good.
  • Lines moved fairly quickly and considering the crowd (which I’ll mention later), everything moved smoothly.

The Low Points:

  • It was dangerously crowded.  The Aragon was not designed to hold that amount of people for an event of that type.  Given that the center of the floor and outer edges were taken up by the brewers, there wasn’t much room for everyone attending to move around.

    Click to Enlarge

  • I overheard a few of the brewers saying that the evening crowd was much calmer and more polite than the earlier session.  It was pretty crazy during the evening session, so I’m glad I didn’t go to the earlier one.
  • I left after a couple hours because I couldn’t deal with the crowd.  I’ve been to Great American Beer Festival and that event is completely packed full of people, but you never feel like you can’t move.  At the Aragon, you couldn’t move.

The Beer Hoptacular was good.  With a shorter guest list or a bigger venue, it would’ve been great.  I’m sure I’ll go again (I can’t just give up on good-sized beer events), but I’ll make sure I’m earlier so I can get as much done as possible at the beginning.

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