Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 World Beer Festival Cleveland Recap

Seriously, can we just repeat the last two days in Cleveland? I need about 200 more of those, in a row. The weather was a little cooler on Saturday, which made for a great day to play in the sun without feeling too hot. Thankfully, we had a fun day planned and the weather just enhanced the experience.

The World Beer Festival Cleveland returned for its second year, and moved locations to the Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. This event, from All About Beer Magazine, included over 200 craft and specialty beers from around the world. The event stretched all along the pier, and into the Pavilion.
The Downtown city skyline and river running past us made for a great backdrop. I couldn't attend last year's event (sent my friends, "The Aged Cheddars," instead- read their review here), but I have to imagine that this location move was a good choice.

It was bigger than I had expected, and we were never short on beer to sample. The lines weren't too long (only had to wait at popular spots like Hoppin' Frog and Fat Heads). Without looking at the beer list before heading to the event, I was concerned that I wouldn't find enough to sample. I only drink stouts and porters (long story), and they are not exactly summer-friendly beers. I was pleasantly surprised at how many I was able to find, and I was never without a sample as we wandered through the brewery stations.

Some beer favorites among our foursome were: Turbo Shandy from Hoppin' Frog, Apricot Wheat from Ithaca Beer Co., Eugene Porter from Revolution Brewing, Neopaltion Milk Stout from Saugatuck Brewing Co., Kitka Coconut Chocolate Milk Stout from The Brew Kettle, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Peach Wheat from Alltech Lexington, and Hala Kahiki Pineapple from Rivertowne Brewing. I did miss some of my favorite breweries not participating, like Epic, Willoughby Brewing, and Southern Tier. The brewery lineup, at first glance, had seemed a little weak. However, again, I was pleasantly surprised once there.

The Ohio Brewers had a section near the front of the event. I always like to see our great state represented, because they are putting out some good beers that I enjoy. However, Great Lakes Brewing Co. had quite the presence inside the Pavilion.
They were a popular stop for many.

My favorite beer(s) of the day were the infused B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal Stouts that Hoppin' Frog was doing in their tower of beer.
I personally like B.O.R.I.S. on its own, but for the event, the team was infusing it with different things every hour. We got to try the Vanilla Bean, Coffee and Blueberry, and Cherry. Don't make me pick! I didn't have a favorite of the three. This did get us thinking...What would it take to infuse some beers at home???

We didn't even take advantage of our VIP passes or the Art of Beer Experience (educational area with beer seminars and samples), but I feel like we got a lot out of the event and enjoyed the experience. We also stopped by the Cask Ale tent. I sampled a porter from a cask conditioned with cocoa nibs. There were a few food trucks scattered around the event (although, not enough, in my opinion). The line was always too long for the Barrio taco truck, but we snagged a sandwich from Frank's Bratwurst and BBQ from B&M.

However, what truly made the day was running into two of our favorite people, and getting to spend an unexpected afternoon together.
The event exceeded my (originally low) expectations, and I think Cleveland said "Welcome Back" for year two of the event.

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to give away to a reader, and two media passes for myself, in exchange for a pre-event post and a review post. All opinions are 100% my own. 


Margaret said...

I was kind of bummed that I had to miss this! I did go to Digfest in Columbus which was a similar thing- very cool! Would love to see more stuff like this in Cleveland.