Last nights sold out crowd was over 7000 people in Hall D! It was a great night for Columbus BeerFest, a great night for the love of craft beer, but a frustrating night for those of us that love craft beer. Howatzer is right about being shorted VIP time with the brewers and unfettered access to the taps. No sooner than we were let in, beer lines went from a few people to about 50 people in like 15 minutes. I think general admission ticket holders were let in either by accident, or because the foyer was overcrowded. From that point on, the lines became overcrowded and muddled.
The last few BeerFests were well organized and not overcrowded. I wondered what would happen to the beer lines when they announced it would only be one day this Winter. Now I know.
Despite the long lines, I did have a good time. One of the high points of beer festivals is talking to the brewers and distributors, and I made my rounds this year. I got to meet Jeff Cochran of Four String, Jack Kephart of Brew Kettle, and Chris Verich of Ohio Brewing Company. Chris had previous legislative experience and assisted with HB 243, that will allow taprooms in breweries and distilleries this March. It's always great to see our local brewers as they delight in beer lovers enjoying their liquid art, Angelo, Gabe and Stephen of Barley's cheerfully in the mix.
Thanks to all the volunteers who poured last night, and allowed us to drink!
After I got over the shock of all the people flooding in, I took a few photos:
Jeff Cochran of Four String
Jack Kephart of Brew Kettle
Stephen and Angelo of Barley's with Chris Verich of Ohio Brewing Co in Akron
Former Gordon Biersch brewer, new Fathead's brewer Chris Alltmont in Fathead's gear
cool band shot
Budweiser girls smiling for Jaydog
Who said beer is not fun?
My favorite beer of the night was Brew Kettle's Kitka Coconut Chocolate Milk Stout. It was so smooth, like a ripple-free lake, with delicious chocolate notes.