|The Legendary Boonville Beer Fest
The best little hideout in Northern California, or at least one of them, is Boonville. The Legendary Boonville Beer Fest turned 20 and provided a gorgeous backdrop, good times and ample draught beer. This is one of those events you just shouldn't miss, unless you live too far away or despise oat sodas. Thankfully I live an hour and a half away and love consuming craft beer. There were more than enough brewers to get lost amidst, or inebriated by. Most of the breweries on my hit list were scratched off the journal and noted; a few however escaped my investigative intentions. Considering there were well over 100, my goal was not to get destroyed, but rather, to find new ales and explore the craft brewers new to me.
This year we started out on the far west side of the grounds, and to my delight, it happened to house a majority of the brewers I was hoping to enjoy. Many of the individual tents later ran out of barley pops. On a side note: this may have been the first year in which I thoroughly enjoyed the non-IPA selections far more than the Hop-centric ales I tend to gravitate toward. Blondes, Tarts and Pale Ales dominated my best of note taking. The list below represents my favorite tastes of the day; arranged alphabetically by brewery name.
Bagby Beer Company | Hop Crop extra pale ale | 4.8% ***
> This was my favorite Pale Ale of the day. It's always a treat to find something new and delicious. Single hopped and super palatable; I could have pounded this all day.
Central Coast Brewing | Kiwi a la Tart | 5% ***
> A Berliner Weisse brewed with kiwi, who'd a thunk? This was my surprise hit of the day and perhaps, the best beer I tasted. I so want to get my hands on this. Central Coast was also the only beer maker to have more than one beer make my list of favorites. The other...
Central Coast Brewing | Monterey St. | 5.5% & 45 IBU
> This pale ale won the gold medal at the 2015 GABF. It's brewed with 4 types of malt and brought to an extremely high temperature (154 degrees). I only know because I was able to pick the mind of one of its brewers, god I love beer fest. Monterey Street was my bronze medal winner of the day in the category of pale ale.
Devils Canyon Brewing Co. | Belle CA Sparkling Ale | 6% ***
> One of my three favorite ales of the day. It was so refreshing and bouncy. Brewed with a champagne yeast, this beer was so new to me that the intrigue alone made me get a second pour. I probably should have just posted up there and kept crushing.
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. | 101 Blonde | 4.8% & 16 IBU
> Last year was my first experience with Figueroa. The last time I was in SLO county I loaded up on their 22oz. bottles. This time around I was engaged by the complexity of this dynamic blonde. A couple of hop varietals and a few kinds of malt go a long way.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. | Strawberry Rhubarb Belgian Blonde | 5.5% & 20 IBU
> C'mon, strawberry rhubarb, what's not to like—one of the few that led me back for a second helping. I want to drive south just to sip this again while staring a Mavericks. (HM)
Uinta Brewing Co. | Ready Set Gose | 4%
> A refreshing and mildly tart Gose with a slight herbal note. Gose's are so in right now. On side note: The marching band was on fire inside the barn. They played a thunderous cover of, "Sweet Caroline," the crowd provided vocals. As they segued into a Bowie cover, we ambled back into the sun.
Woods Beer Co. | Crusoe IPA
> A Brett IPA that surprised me. I'm somewhat going out on a limb, but this was the tastiest IPA I had all day. Keep in mind, I was not seeking out the heavy-hitting IPA producers that I readily have access to. (HM)
Fifty Fifty Brewing | Citra Pale
> This may have been their California Pale, but the brewer's board had it labeled as a single hop, Citra Pale. Either way, this was my silver medalist pale ale.
Thanks Boonville, Anderson Valley and our crew (night time dance parties rule). That's a wrap.
[*** denotes my 3 favorite & (HM) = honorable mention]