Sure, I could write about some of the beer that’ll be at Microfestivus today. But you’ve probably already taken a quick look at the beer list, and if not, they’ll likely have ones available for you at the gate, should you be attending. On the morning of the nineteenth Microfestivus, my mind is wandering beyond the beer. Consider, for a moment, that perhaps the where is almost as noteworthy as the what. In case you haven’t seen the festival map yet, Roanoke’s annual beer festival will line up along some of the streets within the Star City’s downtown area, along First Street and Kirk and Church Avenues, instead of on its periphery, as in years past. For what it’s worth, I’m guessing it’ll feel even more cathartic than the last move was, when the festival ventured out of the confines of Elmwood Park. But to cap it all off, let’s think about just how fitting the festival route seems, considering that after wandering down First, Kirk, and Church, past one beer tent after another, that the natural path for the festival seems to end right in front of the Texas Tavern. I mean, for Roanokers, how fitting can that be?
Among other things that are also fitting but perhaps a bit more serious, I would be remiss to not send a quick shout out for the location of the VIP section. Never mind that I have a favorite seat at Blue 5’s bar. The downtown restaurant is easily stop number one on anyone’s guide to craft beer in Roanoke, and I think the world of Chaz and crew down there. So how fitting is it that the VIP section is right outside the doors of Blue 5? If you find yourself within the area, and see Mr. Blevins, consider thanking him for being a vital standard bearer for the craft beer scene in the Star City.
What looks to be perfectly traditional for the festival is, of course, the weather forecast. In case you haven’t looked it up, it’s your typical Microfestivus forecast, which is to say that it’s calling for the asphalt under your feet to begin melting sometime around 3pm. Good thing, I suppose, for the relatively high number of fruited beers and sours that seem to be on the list for today – nope, I’m not mentioning individual ones, just that they’re high in number, and that they’re often adequate for the quenching of thirsts. It’s a reflection of current trends no doubt, though I’m not sure how many individual examples I would be interested in, personally. After all, the number of IPAs on the list is even higher – a statistic that’s particularly fitting, well, at least for myself. (And I’m sure I’m not alone.)
Not to delve too deeply into the melodramatic and start crying in our beer, but maybe we should also touch on the fact that somehow, this year’s Microfestivus feels like some sort of official cap on the last several months of brewery news for the area as well. After all, we’ve welcomed Deschutes and Ballast Point to the valley, and without a doubt the lines at both of these brewery’s tents will likely be among the longest. Come to think of it, such a sight would perhaps be the most fitting to be witnessed at the festival – two nationally known craft breweries, which the area courted and landed, serving up beer from their booths, all the while in the shadow of such classic downtown Roanoke spots like Lucky Restaurant, the former Kirk Ave Music Hall (now The Spot On Kirk), and Martin’s.
Unless you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for all things downtown Roanoke. So yes, I admit loving the fact that Roanoke’s craft beer festival will be bordered by the buildings that make up the center of the city. Crazily, I’ll also admit that if it wasn’t 95 degrees on the day of Microfestivus, somehow, it just wouldn’t be the same. And of course, I’ll gladly admit that I’m proud my hometown landed Deschutes and Ballast Point, even if I don’t quite shed any tears into my beer over it.
No, the only thing that might make me that happy is the sight of a cheesy and a bowl with at the end of the afternoon.