Final Thoughts on Cheers to Belgian Beers
In no particular order, a few random observations, opinions, and questions about this year's edition of the fest...
- The glasses rocked. I have boxes of old glasses from other fests. None has been upgraded to my regular beer-glass rotation, but this one will. Classy shape, good size, cool logo, an an absence of sponsors or other unwanted signage.
- What happens if a non-Portland pub wins the event? Are we off to Astoria or Corvallis next year?
- All beers must be made with the same yeast. Last year, I voted for a brewery (Full Sail) that didn't use the selected yeast. (They eliminated that problem this year with an official ballot.) This year, a pretty decent number of the beers weren't made with Inglemunster. Breweries like Upright, which didn't exist when the event was set, get an exemption.
- More volunteers. For the first couple hours on Saturday, there were two guys manning every tap in the fest. Two! I know this thing is only a semi-official fest and that the proceeds go to charity. Still, seems like they could muster a couple more folks.
- On the other hand, the fest was an amazing value. The glasses were only five bucks--you'd pay at least that in a store--and the pours were just a buck. Given that most of the beers were north of 7%, your buck went pretty far.
- The idea of compelling breweries to select a general quadrant (strong/mild and light/dark) was a good start. It effectively resulted in a number of different beers. Two things would improve it more: use a more versatile yeast (my vote: saison), and give breweries at least six months to brew their beers. Even better, start right away. Breweries might even have a chance to try a few different batches if you gave them a year.
- What happens when they run out of yeast strains to try? Is this event doomed to sunset? (Or do we just go back to some of the ones we've already used?)