Mmmmm Beer

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The older I get, the less beer I drink.  This should be a good thing but I am not sure that I am mentally prepared to leave behind all the goodness associated with a frosty beer.  It is very similar to my morning coffee affair.  Something about popping open an ice-cold beer after mowing the lawn makes me feel all good inside.  I sit on the deck with my feet up and take in the sweet smell of fresh cut grass and contentedly think, “This is summer.”

What a difference from the first time I tasted beer and scrunched up my nose at its flavor.  Back to the coffee similarities– both had a bitter taste but I liked the side effects.  Coffee motivated me and beer could make me feel as free as a bird (aka:  dumb as rocks!) 

The 90’s brought children and microbrews and I downshifted into quality vs quantity.  In the early 90's I was planning events for Mount Snow and took on the task of researching the emerging trend of beer festivals (hey, someone had to do it!)  Back then beer festivals helped microbreweries gain exposure.  You couldn't just walk into the closest convenience store and pick up a 6-pack of Smuttynose.  You had to get in your car and travel up and down the roads of New England and seek out these little brew pubs.

The largest beer fest I attended was in Boston but there was also Burlington, Denver and lots of microbreweries.  At the end of the year, with festivals and a beer belly under my belt, Mount Snow was ready to host our first beer fest. 

The Mount Snow Brewer’s Festival has always been on Labor Day Weekend and it has always been two days.  The focus has always been beer sampling, good music and good people.  Our first year we had no idea how many folks would show up.  We were pleasantly surprised and caught a little off guard at the turn-out of 1,000 beer enthusiasts.    It has grown considerably since then but it still maintains a lot of its small festival charm. 

I love the groups who show up with matching t-shirts or costumes.  I could read t-shirts all day (check out the one below I dug out of my closet from 1996).  I also like the folks who come with their lawn chairs and lawn games and set camp on the field.  I have started to see pretzel necklaces - leave it to beer drinkers!  And there is always a group that dance the day away.  If you are thinking of attending for the 1st time, here is my advice.

Saturday is the busiest day.  I would pick Sunday but remember, I am moving out of that “quantity” phase.  If you purchase a 2-day ticket, you get a nice break on price.

Bring your ID.  Passport or driver’s license.  We card EVERYONE!

Use the washing stations around the venue to rinse your glass occasionally.  There are so many flavors to sample and they taste much better in a fresh glass.

If you are going to take a scenic chairlift ride to the summit on the Bluebird Express, do it early in the day.  It tends to get very busy around 3 pm.

Here’s the low down on kids.  They are permitted but I encourage everyone to get a sitter.  Oktoberfest (Columbus weekend) is a good event for families.  Beerfest is truly an adult event.  We do not offer any children’s activities.

Bring a lawn chair.  Please leave pets and coolers at home.

If you get the munchies, the kettle corn is very satisfying, yet addictive!  And there are lots of other choices, including BBQs, wings, pizza and crepes.

Stay at one of the local lodging facilities that is walking distance (Grand Summit) to the event or one that is on the Moover  route (free bus service) so you don’t have to drive.  Or be a nice friend and pay the entrance fee for your designated driver. 

I only attended our Brewer’s Festival, as a guest, once.  I had a great time and I’m happy that I had the opportunity to experience this event from the other side.  As for this year, I’ll be working it and glad to do so.  It has become a sort of “old home weekend” for most of us.  We catch up after a long summer and turn to “ski talk” and long range forecasts for the BEST SNOW YEAR EVER!

Cheers to you and the great invention of beer.

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