As a fermentation nut, I jumped at the opportunity to spend this past Saturday afternoon at Denver’s first (and hopefully annual) Fermentation Festival. For the most part, I love fermented foods and beverages. Kimchi and sauerkraut are the height of food joy for me. A real sour fermented pickle, regardless of what Bloodhound Gang says, is a fantastic breakfast or lunch or dinner. Alcoholic beverages of all sorts are welcome at my place. Cheeses and preserved sausages that have been exposed to yeast or bacteria may be the absolute height of biological symbiosis that humans have involved themselves in.
Fermentation, broadly defined, is a metabolic process in which ATP is created through an anaerobic process. Something digests sugars or some other molecule in an enzymatic process without oxygen being around and produces the “energy molecules” necessary to survive. Hmm, I smell an article coming… Anyway, without getting too far into it, fermentation as we love it is a process that microorganisms use to live. During this process, acids, gases, and solvents can be produced. Lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and ethanol are metabolic products that have become extraordinarily important to our culinary history. They act as preservatives and act as flavorants and flavor enhancers.
We can wax on forever about how these preserved foods and beverages have defined cultures but, really, I should just get on to the festival. It was a really pleasant event. Our first impression was that we had not seen a lot of the breweries at festivals before. This was pretty rad. TRVE Brewing and Our Mutual Friend were great to see and places like 12* Brewing and Grosen Bart Brewing were pleasant surprises. TRVE’s new Vexovoid American Sour made an appearance in limited quantities and its peachy lactic brightness inspired a lot of praise. There were also plenty of pickled treats to be had and the daikon kimchi from Dae Gee Korean BBQ was amazing.
The practical aspects of the fest left me with no complaints. The venue was great. The Highlands Masonic Temple was really beautiful and spacious. Plenty of parking and frankly, a really short spin to my house. I like that. Even though I did not get a chance to see any of the educational events, it was overall just a nice day out. Can it sustain the prices? I don’t know. The food folks need to be as “free sample” as the breweries. That would help or if we are paying for food, the organizers should just charge less. I don’t want that to be a deterrent at all, I just wish I had eaten more before I went to the festival. Honestly, I would like to see this event continue and flourish. Beer, wine and fermented eats go together splendidly and I would be happy to go again.