This last weekend, a group of intrepid homebrewers from Memphis’ Bluff City Brewers hit the road with a truck full of homebrew to serve at the inaugural Nashville Beer Festival.
Friday Night we hit the Red Rooster for a VIP pre-party. JL took a keg of Midnight Chocolate Wheat and I took a Rye Saison, both of which were served from behind the bar by a real bartender! [Don’t worry, no money changed hands!] That was quite fun to watch, and they went quickly, seemingly well appreciated.
Saturday was the day of the Festival. We set up in the morning (after a Bloody Mary with Phil and Jody). The gates opened to the VIP ticket holders at noon. Serving started at a nice pace, with time to talk to the guests and get feedback on the beer. Phil was serving his Oyster Stout; Jody serving up her Rosemary Pale; JL had another keg of the Midnight Chocolate Wheat; Ray had a Raspberry Blonde, and I had an ESB. Serving was a 4 oz pour into a pint glass, which left some of the guests feeling a little short changed: they wanted a full glass!
As the afternoon progressed, more and more people entered the park. Ray’s keg kicked first, soon followed by Jody’s then Phil’s and the rest of us. We switched beers out as one kicked, so soon we had (not necessarily in order) Jeremy serving a Black IPA (2 kegs); Ray back up with a Blackberry Blonde; BC with a very interesting Gingerbread Ale and a Lemon Hefeweizen; and Brian up with WestTN Wit and (the last beer of the day) a Watermelon Wheat. By this time, the festival goers were just sticking their glasses out saying “I don’t care what it is, just give me some!” as the lines got longer and longer. By 3:30, half way through the Festival, all 12 kegs were gone! By this time, many other stations were running out too. At least were the last of the 7 homebrew clubs there to kick all our kegs, which was a mighty showing for Memphis.
Sunday, we loaded up the empties, had brunch at Cracker Barrel and then hit the road back to Memphis.
All in all, it was a great weekend. We served homebrew to an appreciative (then desperate) crowd, met some of the other area homebrew clubs, talked to a bunch of other brewers and drank some good beer. We didn’t, however, get to taste too many of the other offerings at the Fest.
But, next year – smaller glasses and smaller crowds please.