Roanoke’s Microfestivus Line Up Begins To Take Shape

The folks over at Roanoke’s Square Society, a non-profit organization which hosts Roanoke’s annual beer festival/fund raiser Microfestivus, have kindly started sending me the names of the first breweries to sign up for this year’s event.  So if you’re curious about good beer and live in the region, listen up, because it’s time to start planning, and not just to go.  And not just to have a good time either, although hanging out in warm sunny summer weather while trying good beer with friends, I agree, is a blast and goes hand in hand, doesn’t it?   But don’t forget that beer festivals like Microfestivus obviously offer you and your also hopefully curious friends some of the best opportunities to try something different than what you’ve had before – than what you always, ALWAYS buy, and hopefully then to find something that might really blow your mind.  Never tried a Belgian Strong Dark Ale?  Haven’t tried a wheat beer yet?  How about that altbier over there brewed with flint corn?  For area beer fans looking to try something different who don’t want to buy a whole six pack of it, Microfestivus is your chance to taste whatever sounds good to you without breaking the bank.  And since the Square Society is sending me brewery information for the event, the chance to start getting curious about what to try starts right now.   We’ll call it – not a To Do list, but a To Try list – and besides, getting a little sneak peek at any event’s guest list before it happens is just fun anyhow, right?

The first set of breweries and their corresponding beers to sign on may sound familiar, since they are almost all regional names.  Charlottesville’s Starr Hill will be bringing several familiar beers.  According to the Square Society, the Jomo lager, Festie Oktoberfest style beer, the very good Dark Starr Stout, and their hefeweizen, “The Love” will be there.  Typically, Microfestivus usually happens on what seems to be one of the hottest, “um, is there a pool nearby to go jump in?” days of summer, and a darker, heavier stout may not feel like the best choice, but it’s definitely worth trying, especially if you’ve had the lager before.  If you do want to go with something that seems more in tune with heat that’s causing you to sweat through your shirt, give The Love a try.  Hefeweizens are a German style of beer brewed with wheat malt as well as barley, and are considered good hot weather thirst quenchers, due to their light body, typical banana-like flavors and crisp carbonation.  They are also usually unfiltered, leaving some of the yeast in the end product.  Other common flavor descriptors include clove, perhaps a bit of tartness, and may also have, of course, a yeasty flavor to them as well – which The Love definitely benefits from.   Due to the yeast left in the beer they also have a cloudiness to them, and along with their color, which range from a wheat like golden to a lemony yellow, these beers also almost “glow” from your glass.

Floyd County’s Shooting Creek will also be attending once again this year with their solid brews.  They too will be bringing a weizen style beer – their Wildflower Wheat – as well as their Red Tractor altbeir and Snapping Turtle IPA.  The Wildflower is a hefeweizen variation called a dunkelweizen, a darker and “maltier” version of the former.  Along with the usual flavors associated with wheat beers, such as the banana and clove mentioned above, dunkelweizens gain complexity from the inclusion of caramelized or roasted malts that give them their color and obviously, a resultantly roasty or malty flavor.

So now that you think you’ve got now a good handle on a wheat beers, and maybe you might know what to expect from an IPA (especially if you’ve been reading the recent Beerroad IPA related posts!), but have no idea what the heck an “altbier” is?  An altbier is a German style beer, copper or amber in color, which uses ale yeast but is cold conditioned (cold stored, as you would with a lager) for longer periods of time than the typical ale might be.  The resulting end product mellows the taste and yields a smooth tasting but flavorful beer.  True to their aim of using some of their own farm raised product in each beer, Shooting Creek also uses flint corn in the Red Tractor brewing process, which adds a certain grain like flavor to this smooth, malty beer.

So what might it be?  What might take at least some of the room in the fridge regularly set aside for the same ol’ same ol’?  It’s time to start letting the thoughts stir around in the head – what doors might open, for those curious about different beer styles and the vast world of good beer?  The styles, flavors, and variations are can seem endless.  So what’s out there, other than your regular stand by?  Festivals like Microfestivus offer the best chance for something to truly impress someone willing to try.  Mark your calendars, and then start letting your curiosity (and your “To Try” list) build.

Thank you to The Square Society for the info!

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~ by thebeerroad on May 30, 2010.

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