Things got off to a slow start after driving around and around looking for parking. Good thing beer wenches wear comfy mary janes! After a bit of a hike to the Veterans Memorial Arena, we were greeted with miles of multiple lines. Birthday girl Brema went to buy her ticket and quickly returned with bad news. It was sold out! Begging, pleading, and the fact that she was dressed as a wench and her other wenchy friends already had tickets did not budge the ticket lady with a heart of stone. But some nice people in line heard her plight and sold her one of their extra tickets and saved the birthday celebration!
After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, we got in and got our very nifty souvenier 5 oz. beer sampling glasses, and were greeted with…more lines!
Each line took about 5-10 minutes to get a beer sample. We started on the bottom floor where the craft beers were being served. Each one we tried was delicious, but it was so hectic that I didn’t manage to get very many names or info. I am a big fan of beer, specifically pale ales- the hoppier, the better. We tried a great IPA from Intuition Ale but I didn’t catch the name and few other good ales and a nice creamy stout.
By now it was close to 8:30 and the event was supposed to go to 10PM, so we headed upstairs where some of my favorite beers were pouring (Sierra Nevada, Rogue and Dogfish Head to name a few) It was very hot, very crowded and very empty of beer and food! Most of the beer tables were already closed and we couldn’t find any food. After winding our way down that hot corridor we found one place at the end that was still serving. I stood in the line for Boulder Beer and ended up with a very tasty sample of Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat. We tried to get into one more line and they ran dry before we got to the front.
So we headed back down to the craft brewers who were the only ones with any beer left. The live band, Something Distant, did a great job and handed out free CD’s at the end of their set.
Overall, we had a lot of fun, mostly because we were dressed as beer wenches and brought the party with us. It was just too packed to actually learn anything about the beer and they ran out of everything way too early. The corridors of the arena are too small and stuffy to try and stand in lines. The 1st floor with its open floor plan was a much better scene. I would love to see this event in a bigger area and with more time to actually enjoy the beer samples rather than running from one line to the next.
Cheers to Jax Beer Fest! Looking forward to giving it another try next year. Hoping it will be better, but not bigger this time.