Unlimited samples for nearly three hours and a movie all for $30? We’re in! This is the second year of this festival so I had no idea what to expect or who I was going to run into. The lines were forming by 7:45. By 8:00 they were wrapping around the building.
The Akron Civic definitely left no room or hallway un-beer’ed. There were booths everywhere from the first floor, to the second floor and all throughout the hallways.
Starting my sampling, we realized that we forgot pens to write and make notes. We stopped by a jewlery shop inside the hallways to get one and started talking to a lady by the name of Carol. She started talking about the festival and the Akron craft beer scene when she said, “…and there is now another brewery going into The Valley.” My wife kinda looked at me…waiting…I was like, “Oh! That’s me! Nice to meet you! I’m R.Shea.” Sometimes I’m a little slow on the pickup.
There were hot Hors d’oeuvre on both levels that were tasty.
A few pictures of beers I didn’t get but left an impression were Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly and La Fin du Monde. These were both well done!
The Great Divide had ‘Collette’, a Saison of sorts. Very good.
North Coast Brewing has ‘Brother Thelonius Belgian Style Abbey’ and ‘La Merle Belgian Style Farmhouse.’ They were BOTH exceptional. Thelonius is very malty sweet and caramelly. A very complex beer. The farmhouse was equally good.
There were a lot dozens of breweries represented but just due to the amount of people, I drank what I happened to be next too…I didn’t go searching for many beers on the menu – hence I didn’t really go out of my way for Ohio breweries.
I like the fact that this festival didn’t feature a lot of IPA’s, I feel the styles were well represented with a surprising number of Saisons/Farmhouse style Ales.
One thing I do have to say is that the Akron Civic did a good job on the flyer of beers featured with a little checkmark box next to them. I took some notes as this wasn’t a venue to spend on your phone untapp’d-ing the beers.
The movie CRAFT was surprisingly un-attended. My wife and I were only about a few dozen people watching. I guess if there is only so much time for sampling… Anyways, the CRAFT was a good documentary. After the prologue (how beer is made) the movie featured a lot of head brewers and their thoughts on the industry, there philosophy, how they got started, etc. I learned a lot.
All-in-all, it was a great venue, albeit a little packed most of the time. I honestly felt like a sardine.