Guess who was pouring at the World Beer Festival in Raleigh on last weekend? Me!
Along with other volunteers, I spent the afternoon session pouring three Sam Adams selections in the Art of Beer area. The tent where I poured featured beers chosen for their malt, hops or yeast features. So I had three beers made with different styles of malt:
Cinder Bock: A very smooth rauch bock with a touch of sweetness and smokiness, this brew was made with smoked malt. With alcohol content of about 9.4 percent, this beer is one of Sam Adams’ Limited Edition Collection.
Cherry Wheat Ale: Made with a traditional two-row malt, this beer is a summer wheat, with the added flavor of cherries from Michigan. From the Sam Adams’ Brewmasters Collection, this beer is slightly sweet with 5.4 percent alcohol content.
Griffin’s Bow : Truly amazing! No one could really describe this beer. Made with toasted malt, this beer had a complex flavor, with hints of toffee and caramel. Also from the Limited Education Collection, this beer had an alcohol content of 10 percent.
The Art of Beer tents also had food – chocolate, cheese and more — and beer pairings and keg beer demonstrations.
The NC Brewers tent was really hopping, with lots of favorite local craft brewers serving up their favorites. A partial list is posted here.
There was also the larger tent for non-NC craft brewers (see a complete list here), as well as food vendors and live music.
The afternoon crowd was fun and seemed genuinely interested in learning about beer. One patron of past festivals told me that she preferred the afternoon session to evening because the crowd was more interested in enjoying the beer, than having a party. (Okay, truthfully, by the end, a few patrons came by asking, “Whacha got left?”)
Festival organizers control excessive drinking by limiting pourers to two ounces for most beers — marked by a line on the guests’ class — and one ounce for demonstrations. And it seemed to work – didn’t see any falling-down drunks.
So I know you’re wondering how much I got to drink? Well, we were told not to drink, but we were encouraged to taste the beers we were pouring — in a thimble-sized cup.
It was fun, and I’d do it again. I have a bad feeling I’ll miss the “thank you party,” but that’s okay. If you missed this one, look for the World Beer Festival in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Oct. 6, now in its 17th year!