AleFest is a large beer tasting event held annually in Chicago, Columbus, and Dayton. It is dedicated as a celebration of craft beer which makes it difficult for me to explain why this was the first year we’ve attended. Nonetheless, I’m glad we did. For thirty bucks, you are armed with a commemorative pilsner tasting glass, 20 “tasting tickets”, a map, and 4 hours to cram it all in. With perfect weather, it really made for an ideal afternoon.
I wish I would have brought my camera, but that would have cut in to more of my tasting time. Also, I didn’t get “all the guys were the same clothes memo” that Brian and Gary apparently received.
With over 200 beers represented, you are really spoiled for choice. Oddly enough,the first line I waited in earned me a glass of…Schlitz. Yes, Mike attends a craft beer festival to get a taste of Schlitz. Whoops. All of the “beer tables” are set up in tents with numbers above them. Our job was to look at the number of the table and find the corresponding number in the book to figure out what beer was where. I failed this simple challenge first time out.
On the plus side, I enjoyed some good draft beers including Hobgoblin from Wychwood, The Poet from New Holland, and Founder’s Porter. I also enjoyed Brooklyn Beer’s Local 1 which I had not tried before. The key words in the last sentence were “not tried before”. For the life of me, I could not figure out why the lines were so long at locally established breweries like Magic Hat. I like Magic Hat’s styles plenty, but I wanted to try things I had not before.
The only downside to the event was the quantity of
restrooms port-a-potties. I think I counted 15. For an event of several hundred people that only lasts 4 hours in which the primary focus is the consumption of a beverage that makes you want to “hit the loo”, one would think there would be a few more restrooms. Yes, I’m sure the rental of those things cuts into the bottom line, but so does my dry cleaning bill when I can’t hold it any longer. I spent at least 45 minutes of my time there waiting in line. Not good.
We had a great time, even with my bladder issues. In fact, it was almost too big to really fit everything in. Arriving late didn’t help either. The Drew, who was also there, arrived early and told me it was like being a kid in the candy store. Indeed it was.