Wednesday, July 17, 2013

World Beer Fesitval- Guest Post

As you know, World Beer Festival provided me with two general admission tickets to give away recently. They also provided me with two media passes in exchange for my help promoting the event. An unexpected trip out of town to visit my family left me unable to attend the event, so I sent my two friends in my place. May I introduce you to...the Aged Cheddars (inside joke, and a great pen name).

Cleveland World Beer Festival- as told by the "Aged Cheddars"

Thanks to Katrina for allowing us to post about our experience at the Cleveland World Beer Festival last weekend.

The Cleveland World Beer Festival is an event hosted by All About Beer Magazine. They hold a few of these festivals each summer around the country. While the event is called the "World" Beer Festival, we only encountered a couple of international breweries.  Newcastle (England, owned by Heineken) and Chimay (Belgium) made up the international contingent as far as we could tell. Regardless, it is hard to complain about the amount of exhibitors at the festival as there were over 80 breweries represented.  Each brewery brought along three or four beers for the thirsty patrons to sample.  We found breweries from Boston to Oregon and all points in between.  Some of our favorite breweries such as Harpoon (Boston, MA), Bell’s (Galesburg, MI), and Lagunitas (Petaluma, CA) were on hand to offer their porters, stouts, ambers, hefeweizens, IPAs… you get the point.  While this may seem like an event catering to the craft beer snob, it wasn’t.  The atmosphere was loose and fun and there were even booths for the everyman like Pabst and Yuengling.
Bell’s Brewery Exhibition Booth

Living in Shaker, one of the great benefits for us is the convenience being able to take the Rapid downtown.  For an event that offers sample after sample of beer (with wide-ranging alcohol contents) this service was particularly useful.

We were uncertain as to what type of food options would be available at the festival so we got off the rapid at Tower City and figured we would stop somewhere for a quick bite as we walked across downtown (we’re smart enough to know this is not the type event you attend on an empty stomach).  After a quick lunch at Black Dog Kitchen and Bar we ventured down East 9th, took a left on Lakeside and walked through the grass lawns on the Mall.  We remarked how beautiful it was with the elevated view of the lake and how exciting it was to see the convention center and Global Center for Health Innovation completed.  We also saw a couple on a guided Segway tour of the area and made a mental note that it looked like it would be a fun experience for another day. Note from Katrina- I want to do this!

As we entered North Harbor Dock 30 on the north side of Cleveland Browns Stadium…I mean First Energy Stadium…we were not sure what to expect of the space.  What we found was the perfect place for this type of event, which really ended up being a big party. The space had three tents: a tent for the local breweries, a tent for one of the event’s sponsors, Great Lakes Brewing Company, and a tent which had seating for demonstrations and seminars. The building at Dock 30 was used to hold the booths for all of the other breweries.
Dock 30 Building

Throughout the area there were plenty of places to sit, hangout, and enjoy the gorgeous views and breeze off the lake. The festival had cornhole boards and a giant Jenga set up and many festival goers took full advantage.  There was a band playing in the Dock 30 building which added to the party atmosphere. People were dancing as The Thor Platter Band rolled off fun tunes like Get Lucky, the current Daft Punk summer jam. Yelp even hosted a booth with a beer pong shooting game.  It turned out food was available; B&M Barbeque and The Green Machine trucks were on hand along with Sweet Spot Gelato and Benice World Café.  We were glad we had eaten earlier because the lines looked a little long.
Corn hole
Giant Jenga
Yelp Beer Pong

Our event tickets allowed us forty 2 ounce tastings from any of the breweries we wanted to sample. In most cases the brewers were generous with their pours and few insisted on taking tickets.

Some of our favorites from the Ohio beer tent:
     Buckeye Brewing Spicebush  - A very summery, refreshing wheat beer with interesting citrus/berry flavor.
     Willoughby Brewing Company Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter - Very popular choice at their brewpub in Downtown Willoughby, but we hadn’t tried it until the festival. The name says it all. A note from Katrina- This beer makes my Top 3 list! It's outstanding, and local. Doesn't get much better.
     Great Lakes Brewing Company Independence Ale - Only available in their Ohio City Brewpub. American Red Ale with a sharp, hoppy flavor.

Some of our favorites from other breweries:
     Victory Brewing Company Liberty Bell Ringer Double IPA - Rich, flavorful with citrus and hops.
     Rogue Amber Ale – Smooth and hoppy with a slight hint of coffee.
     Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale – We’re suckers for most things Midwest and most beer from Bell’s. Aromatic, flavorful, and just a tad bitter. This was one of our favorites.

Of course, what would a beer festival in Cleveland be without our most famous local brewery Great Lakes Brewing Company having a large presence? GLBC had their own tent and offered three beer and food pairings. GLBC paired their Edmond Fitzgerald Porter with an incredibly yummy chocolate cupcake with salted caramel buttercream frosting. The cupcake was made by their newly hired pastry chef. This sample was certainly enough to convince us to plan a trip to the brewpub and save room for dessert. They also offered a pairing of three Middlefield Cheese selections (bleu cheese, buffalo cheddar, sharp cheddar) with GLBC’s Silver and Gold IPL. The cheeses were awesome and paired well with the IPL.
Great Lakes Brewing Company’s beer and food pairings

The final pairing offered by Great Lakes was their popular Dortmunder Gold Lager served with sautéed kale with bacon and onions.  The recipe was simple and delicious and has given us a great idea for something we can make to enjoy with one of our favorite local beers.
GLBC’s sautéed kale w/ bacon and onions, they offered paired with Dortmunder Gold

All in all, we had an awesome time at this event.  The weather was perfect, the venue was great, and everyone we met seemed to be enjoying themselves.  If the World Beer Festival makes its way back to Cleveland any time soon, we’ll definitely be there.

Thanks, Aged Cheddars, for the fun recap. You covered it all! I'm glad that you enjoyed the event in my absence. I appreciate the guest post. It's always fun to share my blog space. So, did any of you attend the Cleveland World Beer Festival? Thoughts?

Disclosure: I was provided with two media passes, and the World Beer Festival transferred them when I made an unexpected trip out of town and couldn't attend the event. The opinions stated are 100% my friends'.


ClevelandPoet said...

sounds like an awesome time!

Willoughby Brewing Company Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter is so good.

The wifebot isn't really a beer fan but she loves this one. She says it taste like dessert.

Always happy to have one.

Beth @ CraveableCleveland said...

I've done lots of wine festivals but never a beer fest. Looks like a lot of fun! Perhaps next year... :)

Aged cheddars is a very cute name! haha