Went to the Craft Lager Festival up in Manitou Springs on Saturday. It's the first time I've been to this fest, now in its 5th year. Not bad, but I likely won't be going to another. If you check out their website they tout that they've been listed as a top 10 beer festival by USA Today. Um... no offense, but USA Today must not go to many beer fests. Seriously, that's the most bogus claim I've read in some time. I've been to 10 BETTER fests just in this state... that doesn't include the one's I've been to in California and Oregon. Sorry, Manitou's Craft Lager Festival doesn't even get honorable mention in my book.
It was a quaint little ("little" being the operative word) location with horrific parking. Manitou Springs is simply not built for things like this. What's more, it was in a dog park. I wasn't really keen to the whole idea of drinking beer while knowing that I was walking on top of bark that dogs have been doing their business on for years. I have dogs, and you can't really clean up bark if you know what I mean. Lastly... it cost a whopping $25* per person to get inside to taste the warez of some 30 breweries, most of which I've already tasted numerous times.
* The Great Ameican Beer Festival is only charging $45 (in advance), which by way of comparison - this festival could fit into the bathrooms at GABF.
Maybe it's just me.
Fortunately we came across a gem of a beer that in part made it worth the while, even if we can't get their beer in bottles - yet. San Luis Valley Brewing Company (way down Alamosa way) had a spectacular Hefeweizen called Hefe Suave that was perhaps the smoothest wheat beer I've ever tasted. Absolutely mouth watering. Talked with Scott Graber, the brewer at SLVB... he said they just purchased a hand bottler so we should start seeing some bombers in the near future. HALLELUJAH!