Microfestivus Is A Few Hours Away. What Will Be In Your Tasting Glass?

Microfestivus 2013Ten or twenty pours.  Those are the number of tastings on today’s Microfestivus tickets, and either one will offer you plenty of chances to try all sorts of great craft beer today.  But compared to the list of available brews, as once again, the 16th anniversary of Roanoke’s premier craft beer festival will offer something north of 120 beers today, scaling it down to ten or twenty from there does offer a bit of a challenge.  Now, taste (and aroma) being subjective as it is, far be it for me to tell anyone what might really blow their minds today.  Having said that, I’ll take a shot anyhow, and try to list a few beers which you might want to put on your “not to miss” list for various reasons, broken down by wide ranging definitions.  Not the hop forward type of beer curious person?  Belgian style fan?  Stout lover?  Feeling like the forecasted mid eighty degree temperatures and high humidity might result in sweat pouring down your back, and steer you towards something lighter?  Regardless of where you fall, I’ll try to break it all down and offer a few suggestions.  One note, however – always leave a few opportunities to explore beers that might seem on the edge of what you might care for – this is a beer festival after all.  Leave room for exploring.  Go with your gut on a couple things.  Who knows, perhaps this is your first craft beer festival.  Perhaps you’re thinking now is the time for truly experiencing IPAs.  Regardless of what feeling might lead you to try one thing or another, the bottom lines is that beer festivals offer the best opportunity to experience the widest range of beer styles in one place at one time, so leave room for adventure.  Take a shot at something that sounds good.  At the heart of the micro and craft brewery movement is tremendous, wonderful variety.  Who knows, the next beer you take a chance on might be something which will lead you down a long and wonderfully winding path to many other delicious beers.

Whatever you choose to have poured into your tasting glass – enjoy, have fun, and I hope you find a new favorite today.  Cheers.

(These are based off of the last revision for the Microfestivus map, released a couple days ago by the event organizers – which are always subject to last minute changes and omissions.)

Let’s start with the Virginia based brews.  You could certainly “theme” your entire day with beers from our own state, with the likes of Apocalypse, Devils Backbone, Blue Mountain, Wolf Hills, Starr Hill…the list goes on and on.  But let’s give a little attention to perhaps the newest of all – Three Brothers from Harrisonburg.  The Tri Brathair, their Scottish Ale, would be a great way to start the day.  (Try a couple others too while you’re there.)

On a more national level, don’t forget to check out Boulevard’s offerings – the midwest based brewing company has just begun distributing in our area in the last few weeks.  Along the same lines, stop by the Green Flash tent, and thank the San Diego based brewery on their expansion into Virginia Beach with a toast of their delicious Double Stout or West Coast IPA.

For the stout or porter fan:  American craft stouts and porters seem to be constantly under the microscope for which is the biggest, the most wonderfully barrel aged or spice infused, that it’s easy to lose sight of all the solid ones out there.   In the Laughing Dog tent, you’ll find “Anubis”, a beer that seems to run a bit under the radar, but scores very highly on the craft beer bulletin boards and rating websites.  Rich, deep flavors.  Plenty roasty.  Delicious.

Thinking about going Belgian today?  Check out two different Heavy Seas beers:  Holy Sheet, their Dubbel, and their Saison, Red Sky At Night, which will be available on cask (firkin).  Holy Sheet offers a somewhat complex, slightly sweet, port wine type of experience, with some dark fruit aroma and taste and powdery “ester” type of flavors.  Also check out the Red Sky, Heavy Seas’ take on a maltier saison, and New Belgium’s Paardebloem, which the brewery calls a strong Belgian style beer bittered with dandelion greens.  (Dandelion greens?  This also would fit well into the next category….)  Also, if you haven’t had Apocalypse Brewing’s “Lustful Maiden”, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Looking for something slightly outside the box?  You’ve had them all before, so perhaps you are looking for the slightly different, the seasonal, or the more limited run type beers.  Check out Starr Hill’s “Smoke Out”, an ale brewed in seriously old world form with smoked malt, New Belgium’s Pumpkick, their pumpkin ale flavored with cranberries, or see above for New Belgium’s Paardebloem.  Also check out Legend’s Locomotive 231, brewed in the same style as Anchor Brewing’s classic Anchor Steam.

For the hop fan.  You know who you are – you’re already considering spending your whole day seeking out IPAs all over Elmwood Park.  Or perhaps you think you’re on the edge of being a fully initiated hophead, so try Sierra Nevada’s wonderful, delicious, nearly perfect Imperial IPA Torpedo, with its combination of sweet maltyness and big citrusy, piney hop goodness.  Also check out Troeg’s Perpetual IPA, Boulevard’s Double Wide, Green Flash’s West Coast, and Apocalypse’s Hoppocalypse, a big red ale as well.

There will be quite a few beers at Microfestivus that are full of flavor but won’t weigh you down with a hundred layers of complexity – after all, how much processing can your brain handle when you’re sweating through your shirt.  Sierra Nevada’s take on a crisp, refreshing Pilsner “Summerfest” ought to be a given for anyone enduring warm weather, and Victory’s deftly brewed Summer Love is right behind.  A cracker like maltiness, thin floral and citrus hop aroma and flavor, and overally snappiness tends to please anyone who likes a good warm weather beer.  Do not hesitate to also try Blue Mountain’s Kolsch 151 if you haven’t already, with its clean, ever so slightly biscuity like malt taste, and the slightly bigger, slightly heavier Turbo Cougar from Devils Backbone.  Victory will also have a more limited release beer with their Sommerbock beer as well.

Oh, along the way, you might also have the chance to check out a brewery yet to come into existence – so, should you spot folks wearing shirts with “Chaos Mountain” logos on them, well, stop them and ask lots of questions.  They’ll be coming along soon.

However you spend your tastings, remember to leave room for variety.  It’s easy to do, as again, craft beer offers so much diversity from one beer to the next – you never know what quite to expect.  It’s the wonderful experience that is craft brewing, and being a craft beer fan.  Enjoy this year’s Microfestivus, and I truly hope you find something that truly blows your mind today.  Cheers!

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~ by thebeerroad on August 10, 2013.

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