Last weekend I found myself at Wynkoop Brewing’s United Tastes of Belgium, a beer tasting featuring over fifty Belgium or Belgium-style beers. Little did I know it was also Belgium Independence Day. Personally, I can think of no better way to celebrate gaining independence from the Nederlands than throwing a beer festival to celebrate.
The Wynkoop was fully representing with Orville, Koop de Ville, a Raspberry Quadruppel, and my personal favorite, the Brewjolais Nouveau, a collaboration with New Belgium Brewing and Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery. The brew is a sour, fermented with cabernet grapes and then aged in wine barrels. It makes my mouth happy.
Saisons were a large presence, go figure. I know everyone is sick of hearing me wax on about my overwhelming love for them, so I will just give mention to a few of the standouts: the Ovila Saison from Sierra Nevada, Epic’s Straight Up Saison, and of course Saison BUFF from Stone Brewing.
A few other favorites included the Petite Sour from Crooked Stave. I have had this beer several times and frankly, Crooked Stave can do no wrong in my eyes. The Catburglar Black IPA from Mountain Sun and Phantom Canyon’s Ah Bing Sourmash were standouts. They are both hella fun to say and just delicious.
The surprise brewery award goes to Epic. I don’t know why this should have been a surprise. I have loved their Brainless on Cherries and Brainless on Peaches and have coveted the Sour Apple Saison, and have yet to get my hands on some (anyone care to help a sister out?). Maybe it is the perceived stigma of being a brewery hailing from a state with such oppressive liquor laws. Or maybe it’s just me being a dick thinking no good beer could ever come out of Utah. Probably the latter. Regardless, I really loved both the Wit and the Sasion they were offering.
I have to tell you, I am really finding a tremendous amount of love for these smaller beer events. The crowd seems to be more knowledgeable, the folks pouring have the luxury to have a conversation with the drinkers, and there is an air of seriousness that as my age increases, so does my desire to learn about what I am drinking rather than just drinking.
Or again, perhaps I am just a dick.
All photos courtesy of Jason Sheats and Basura Blanca Photography