Vancouver Brewfest 2012

August 16, 2012

August 10-11, 2012 was the first ever Vancouver Brewfest. Since it was the first one, my husband Burtle and I signed up to do a shift pouring some beer. Well, after a few organizing snafus, we got there and looked at the list of brewers. I thought this thing would be Burtle’s choosing, but he didn’t feel strong enough about selecting any of the breweries to be a server for, so I choose Woodchuck Cider. If you recall, I had stood next to Woodchuck at the 2012 Portland Cider Summit.

At this event, Woodchuck was the only cider, and there was one local winery there. We quickly discovered we were very popular with significant others who got drug along to the festival, but don’t care for beer or are gluten intolerant. Burtle also discovered that you can pour a pitcher of cider without minding it, as it will not get all foamy like beer will.

We were serving two ciders for Woodchuck – the granny smith and the amber. Unfortunately, the tap handle for the amber says hard cider, while the granny smith does not. Therefore, we had people ask for the hard cider, the apple cider, and other combinations not realizing both fit the bill. Another thing was that people would ask us which one was better. Well, we weren’t allowed to drink yet, so we hadn’t tasted them to form an opinion. Besides, who was to say that our taste would match that person’s? So instead of answering the question we asked, we just gave them the flavor profile told to us by Woodchuck’s representative. The granny smith was a paler cider that was slightly drier and tarter, while the amber cider, which was amber in color, was made from apples like Macintosh and was sweeter. Both were 5% ABV. This allowed people to make up their own minds as to which one they might like to try. However, most people gravitated to the amber, as I think they thought the granny smith would be not sweet, which it still is. Anyway, when our shift was over, we finally had some ourselves. I found the granny smith to be a bit bland despite being told it was supposed to be tarter (you want tart – drink what I make!). The amber ended up having more of a flavor profile.

So after our shift, we had a peanut butter bacon cheeseburger (the bacon with peanut butter was good together, the rest was eh) and then started drinking some beer. We had some beer from the new guys in town: Mt Tabor, Heathen, and Loowit. Most all the beers there were from Washington and Oregon and a few from California. In fact, Woodchuck was the outsider from Vermont. Still, Vancouver is supposed to be Portland’s biggest suburb, but we have very few brewies. Portland has 51 breweries http://oregonbeer.org/facts/, and we have four with rumors of another one coming online soon.  Then again, you don’t hear of Beaverton having a brewfest. They are either usually in Portland or Salem.

It was good that they had a lot of smaller breweries and some up and comings. Burtle thought the quality wasn’t quite there on some of the breweries, but thought they would improve with experience. They also had some well-known local names, though we didn’t really try any of theirs.

The final count was about 5,000 people, which is apparently enough for them to plan again next year. I’m glad. We were there at like 8pm on Friday, and you barely had to wait in line. I mean, we go to so many brew fests super early to avoid the lines, and it was so weird for us to be at one late and still get our wish. The live bands they had picked out were really good, and they had a good selection of food.

Further reading:

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