The weather gods and goddesses looked down upon the 2018 Stowe Brewers Festival on August 3rd/4th and liked what they saw. Stowe was beset by much needed rain, but somehow (see divine intervention above) the deluges occurred before, in between and after each of the three 4-hour festival sessions (Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night).
After stacking wood for a couple of hours Saturday morning, I had earned a few hours of beer-drinking fun, and I attended the Saturday afternoon session. The sun and humidity made for a sweltering experience … and what better way to beat the heat than by sampling a range of craft brews, ciders and spirits! Over 40 brewers and hard-cider makers (as well as a few distillers of spirits) were in attendance, as well as some Vermont artisans and specialty food makers.
And of course, there were the requisite “food trucks”. Adding to the experience was the band My Mother’s Moustache jamming on stage.
After picking up my 3-oz. tasting glass, 15 beer/cider tickets and 5 spirits tickets, I began popping into the tents, conversing with the friendly brewmasters and pourers, and tasting what was on hand for the event. Typically, each brewer had 2-3 of their beers available, and there was everything from pilsners/kolschs to IPAs and DIPAs to sours/goses to stouts/porters.
Below are the results of some of the more notable beers that I tried:
Double Citra J from Saint J Brewery (8.0% ABV) Dry-hopped with both Citra and Simcoe hops, I liked this double IPA from this small brewer.
Appearance: 4.5 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5
Carpet Crawler from Saint J Brewery (10.0% ABV) A triple IPA … yes, a triple. Great look and very smooth.
Appearance: 4.7 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.2 | Taste: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5
* Mash Up the Jam from Collective Arts Brewing (5.0% ABV) A dry-hopped sour … includes Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand and Vic Secret hops from the Yakima Valley … simultaneously sour and hoppy! Adding to my favorites list.
Appearance: 4.4 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6
* Captain Black’s Spruce Saison from Kingdom Brewing (7.0% ABV) Love this beer! This brewer combines Spruce tips with an herbal farmhouse yeast to create a tart/sweet concoction … the Spruce taste is apparent, but not overpowering. Unfortunately (or not), this beer is only available at the brewery.
Appearance: 4.3 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6
Angler Management from Trout River Brewing (7.0% ABV) This IPA oozes with hoppy aromas and flavors. Frothy head, bitter, but smooth drinking.
Appearance: 4.7 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.5 | Overall: 4.6
Half-way through my beer-drinking, I needed a break and headed for some snacks. I tried some Vermont jellies, hot sauces and the like, but needed an all-natural, McKenzie beef frank to tamp down my hunger. Then it was back to the beer tasting.
Lil Heaven Session IPA from Two Roads Brewing (4.8% ABV) The folks from Stratford, Connecticut brought up some interesting beers. This IPA, infused with Azacca, Mosaic and Equinox hops, has awesome, complex fragrance and flavors.
Appearance: 4.3 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.3 | Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.5
Curieux from Allagash Brewing Company (11.0% ABV) A potent, golden ale that is aged in bourbon barrels for seven weeks. Advertised to give off coconut flavors and lived up to the hype!
Appearance: 4.3 | Aroma: 4.4 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6
‘8’ Key Lime Gose from Farnham Ale and Lager (3.8% ABV) This is a real flavorful, sour gose. Not sure how much I could drink of this in one sitting, and yet it was wonderful to quench my thirst under the beating sun.
Appearance: 4.4 | Aroma: 4.4 | Feel: 4.3 | Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6
The Cicerone says: Brewers festivals are a great place to explore the wide range of flavors and styles being offered up by today’s craft brewers today. Find one near you and expand your beer palate and knowledge!
* New feature: added to my Favorites List. I am on the look-out for these beers when at a local restaurant, pub, or craft beer store.