This past weekend Hartford, CT was the scene for the "Tapping into Twain Oktoberfest. The deal is a great one. $40 gets you all the beer you can drink, all the food you can eat and live music. The beer was the star of the night with over 20 breweries and 80 different craft beers from local New England breweries ranging from Long Trail Brewery in Vermont to local City Steam brew pub in Hartford just down the street from the event.
Now I will have to say this first. There is a definite difference between a beer guy and a beer snob. No one likes a snob. My first beer of the night was a Toasted Blonde a great beer. Seriously good stuff and I would have gladly tried more of his craft brews if it weren't for this simple fact that Jeff Browning, The Head Brewer at The Bru Rm Bar in New Haven, CT seriously needs to get bent. Get back to being a beer guy. A guy who can carry on a normal conversation with the average beer drinker. You would think we were completely wasting this guys time and energy in telling him he had a good beer. No one and I mean no one likes a snob! Dude it's a beer not a cure for cancer you self important ass.
Okay now with that said the rest of the brewers where just what I said before, "Beer Guys." They where all very happy to tell you about their brews and what you should be tasting and even a bit about how they crafted the beer. One of the all stars of the show was Brett at The Red Hook Breweries. Seriously the guy was just a normal man's man who just loved his craft and it showed. No pretentious undertones, just a cool brew guy. He even brought out a special beer from his personal stock to show me. This was a coffee Porter that had some serious flavor. Brett was gracious enough to share a good taste of this along with a website www.GreatBrewers.com. I would tell you what Brett had to say about this site but to be honest after a night full of drinking over 80 different kids of beer I was already half in the bag and couldn't really remember much about it. Bottom line go take a look for yourself if you want to know more, or maybe I will take a peek at it and get back to you. Aside from the Coffee brew he also had a Barrel Aged Brrrbonb Beer and a Prickly Pear brew as well as many others. Brett also had a hand in a few other breweries being represented this evening. The Blue Point Brewing Company was among them with a Pumpkin and Blueberry Ale that where both tasty beers as well.
Other honorable mentions where, The Olde Burnside Brewing Company brought their local Ten Penny Ale voted a local favorite. Thomas Hooker Beer Company had a amazing Octoberfest and Irish Red on hand. The John Harvard House brought a few sweet brews as well. These where just to name a few.
The best eye candy went to Harmony from Narragansett and The Willimantic Brewing Company who also sported a Six Shooter Stout. Please drink Narragansett so Harmony is back next year! Then again there where lots of co-eds from some of the local colleges as well to look at also. To paraphrase Matthew McConaughey playing the part of Wooderson in the movie Dazed and Confused. The great thing about college chicks is no matter how old you get they stay the same age... But I digress.
There was a good amount of good food as well. Most events like these sport snack type food and small portions. Not so here with area restaurants chipping like full on Burgers with all the fixings from Catsup & Mustard and other dishes from local eateries like Shepard pie, sausage and saurkraut, sushi, baked goods and sliders. There was no skimping on the food here.
Even the band of the night Acoustic Smack Down was laying it down incorporating instruments like the jug, the washboard, and the spoons to play classic rock favorites.
Now for the strategy I should have employed: 1) Pace Yourself! 2) Go for the lighter beers first.The heavier beers should be left for later in the night to keep from filling up to fast. 3) The hot dishes like the Shepard's pie and burgers should go with the lighter beer to have something good in your stomach for later but not too much of it. 4) Pace yourself! 5) Understand as the night goes on the servings of beer go from a taste to a full glass. The vendors do not want to be stuck lugging all this beer back with them 6) Stick around till the bitter end and find a brewery that brought a lot of product you like. You can ask the brewer if you can have the extras or they just leave them there for you to take home. 7) Pace yourself! 8) Do have a DD or a way to get home or where ever you are going next. The police are out there and aware there is a brewfest going on. 9) Whatever you do, don't switch to vodka when you hit the bars in Hartford after the festival. Trust me do not switch to vodka! (I may have been in violation of this one and paid for it dearly the next morning.) 10)Lastly, pace yourself!
This was a great event. Be sure to check it out next year. Beer, food and music at a low price is always a winning combination and this Oktoberfest was no exception. A great time!