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Monday, August 15, 2011

Julios Belgian Beer Fest

I attended Julio's Liquors annual Belgian Beer fest on Sunday.

This was my first Julio's event, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, c'mon, it's a liquor store, how big can this thing be?

I met my erstwhile drinking buddy Daupha at the door. After getting my BRIGHT lime green wristband (at a liquor store tasting? Hmm), I was handed a tasting glass, a pencil, and a list of all the beers available for tasting.

It was quite the list:
  • 13 tables. 
  • at least 50 some odd beers. 
  • food from the new restaurant across the street
  • All free...
This made me understand the need for a wristband.

We consulted the list. Slightly overwhlemed by the options, we did what anyone would do. We started with table #1, which listed among its many offerings an intriguing Belgian IPA that I wanted to try. As the attendant handed me glass, he asked me for a "ticket".

What ticket I asked? The one on my wristband I was informed. I took a look, and sure enough, there were 10 numbered, pull-off tabs on my BRIGHT lime green wristband. D'oh! So there's the catch. There was a 10 sample limit. This was bad. The first guy barely lined the sample glass, I got minimum taste, and I was down to 9 tabs.

We needed a strategy.

We observed the lines more closely. Proceeding more strategically, we focused our efforts on lines that served more.. reasonable samples, and perhaps, maybe, didn't remember to always take a ticket from you.

After 2 hours of sampling, here's what I've learned about Belgian beers:
  1. "wild" yeast makes beer taste disgusting.
  2. Garlic is pretty good in beer.
  3. "Gale" is a savory herb that is also very good in beer.
  4. unless the beer has garlic or gale in it, all I ever taste in a Belgian beer is the yeast
  5.  After all that sampling of Belgian beers, I went over to the craft beer section and purchased an American IPA 6 pack to bring home.
All in all this was an awesome event- exceptionally well run, with absolutely no issues (an amazing feat given the volume of alcohol consumed), and very educational.

At the end of the day, I learned that without a shadow of a doubt, I just don't like Belgian style beers. I tried in good faith to find one that I could review and recommend, I really did, and while some of them were ok, I can't say that there was even one that really made me want to buy it.  But that's my personal preference. So you probably won't see any Belgian brews in this space in the future. But don't let it stop you from partaking in a Belgian Ale. And if you find a really great, let me know. Maybe that's the one that will convert me. 

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