ACBF 2009 was a success! Being the second year of it's existance (I think) I was impressed. It has definitely gotten more crowded as people get word of how good it is and how fun beer festivals are. The crowd was definitely tame and the beers were excellent. I had originally set out with my list of beers that I didn't want to leave without trying. Unfortunately, I only ended up having 7 of the 13. 3 of them were not even on tap on Friday night (that was upseting) so I only missed 3 really. The line at Allagash was huge. It went from their booth all the way accross the middle of the venue, so I thought I would skip it. I'll just have to trust that it's good and buy it!!
One thing I did notice that was different this year was the lack of head brewers. No Sam Calagione, Garrett Oliver, Drew Brosseau (Mayflower and local favorite beer of mine). I did spot Hugh Sisson (Clipper City) walking around grabbing some samples himself which was pretty cool. Not that I base my experience on celebrity brewer sightings, but it's always cool.
Tow things that were vastly improved upon, and not as important as the beer but still importants, was the food and bathroom situation. Last years lines were ridiculous for both and the porto Johns inside made the whole place smell like crap...litterally! They put the porto's outside this year and they had 2 food stations and multiple cashiers which made it quick and easy to grab some grub!
On the the beers. I am becoming a huge Sixpoint Fan. I was hooked on their Hop Obama last summer, then this winter was introduced to the Sweet Action. This time around I had the Bengali Tiger and I was amazed. It is an old english style IPA with a big malty backbone and a huge hop presence. Perfectly balanced and only having 2 oz.'s made me want more.....lots more! This was by far my favorite beer of the night.
I was however not a fan of the Watermellon Wheat from 21's amendment. This is by no means a knock on 21st Amendment, but I just don't like the watermellon beer combo. Not sure why since I love both by themselves. I noticed this year there was a large amount of American Wheat beers with fruit. I'm not sure if this is the latest push to try and get more women into craft beer but it was noticable. Some of them were very good (Saranac Pomegranite Wheat) and others weren't.
I'd love to hear your experiences if you attended either of the 3 sessions. I know Brew Dudes went Friday as well and Rob went Saturday night so I'm sure he'll be posting as well. Can't wait to read them.