What were you doing Saturday night? If the answer isn’t “trying new and delicious beers in Cincinnati” then shame on you. Saturday was day two of the Cincy Winter Beerfest. This was the 5th annual event, and this year’s was much larger than in the past. Bigger is not always better, but we’ll get to that.
I started hearing rumblings about this a couple of months ago when they were having a special of VIP tickets (an hour earlier admission and a bigger glass) going for the same price as general admission. So I called up (Or rather, texted up. Who actually talks on their phone?) my drinking buddy and asked how she’d feel about a road trip.
When we arrived I realized I’d read very little of the details of what my $35 was going to get me. I was handed an eight-ounce glass and 25 tickets. Glancing around I quickly saw that these glasses were getting filled. Like Barbie said, math is hard, but even I could figure out that was too much beer to drink in four hours. So if you’re wondering who the chump was walking around asking for half pours of most things, that was me.
Of course the eight-ounce pours actually came in handy once the VIP hour was over because the place got utterly packed and many of lines were long enough that a tall glass could be slowly savored during the wait. This was my only complaint about the event: it was oversold. Over 20 minutes in line for anything other than a really special beer is simply unnecessary. It made for some fun socializing, but I think anyone who wasn’t VIP would have been hard-pressed to get in their 25 tastings.
Of course, people really wanting to avoid lines could have paid our friends at Coors a visit...
Yeah, yeah. What of the beer, you ask? As with any festival, if you do it right, there are both hits and misses. My favorite of the more unique beers was the Espresso IPA from Rock Bottom. It’s just like it sounds and while I wouldn’t want to make a night of it, what I had was great. Of the more standard beers, I must confess the best thing I drank was something I’d had before. That’s very poor form at a beer festival, but we don’t get Bear Republic in Louisville (if somebody want to correct me on this it would be most, most welcome), so when I saw that Racer 5, I was powerless against it. Truly a perfect IPA, and if I had better access, it could well unseat Two Hearted as my top beer.
But enough crazy talk. Overall, I think there were a few growing pains evident here, but it has the potential to be an excellent event. So mark your calendars, y’all and we’ll take a convoy up I-71 next year.