A few nights ago St. Peter gave me a tiny glimpse into what Heaven must look like. And it involves a lot of beer. I have never kept it a secret that I really like beer. I mean, really, really, really like beer. I would have to thank my dear old Dad for that. I still remember being about 3 years old and begging sips from my Dad's can of Schaffer. So, you see, beer and I, we go WAY back. But, I digress...
In a spur of the moment decision, I decided on Thursday to check Craigslist and I scored 4 tickets to the Great American Beer Festival. I called my Dad to brag a bit, and to hopefully entice him and The Zaz to come out for a quick weekend. Which is exactly what they did. Within a couple of hours, they were on the road, and I was making preparations. Little did I know what an awesome night we were all in for.
I met the Craigslist man downtown, got our tickets and then we went to wait in the line that wrapped almost the entire way around the convention center. Oh, Tom Petty, you were so right when you said, "The wai-ai-ting is the hardest part." But, finally, the line did start moving and within 20 minutes we were in the doors.
I want to point out here, that we went into the GABF with the best of intentions. The Zaz and Pop had a notebook, as did Bowser and I, to write down favorites and take notes about all of the beers we tried. We had each picked a "theme" to try...mine was wheat beers. We planned to try from different regions and compare our favorites. However, once we made it through the doors, we heard a chorus of angels singing from Heaven and then complete mayhem ensued.
We traded in our tickets for our tasting cups (you only taste 1 ounce of barley pop at a time) and then we instantly ran in four different directions looking for the closest beverage to try. Within seconds our carefully planned strategy existed no more. You may think that it would be impossible to get tipsy off of one ounce of beer at a time, but I must beg to differ. Think way back to your days of college (or high school, or your early 20s). Remember Power Hour? One ounce of beer every minute for 60 minutes. This was kind of like that, only it was one ounce of beer every minute for 4 full hours.
We tried lagers from Louisiana, ales from Arizona, ports from Pennsylvania, and wheats from Wisconsin. All in all there were more than 2,000 beers to sample. We didn't even come close to trying everything there, although we all put in a fairly good effort.
Some highlights from the evening...
~There was a lemon-basil wheat from New Orleans that I was especially partial to, and I'm pretty sure the brewmaster thinks I am nuts now. (I don't think it would be wise for me to go into detail at this point.)
~Someone puked in the middle of the floor and Bowser and my Dad stood there for about 20 minutes watching and laughing hysterically as unsuspecting beer-lovers wiped out in the chunky mess.
~Pretzel necklaces. After doing a bit of research on the GABF, Bowser informed me that everyone wears pretzel necklaces. At first, I thought he was crazy, but we bought pretzels and made ourselves some edible jewelry. And they were AWESOME. They looked great, and once the beer munchies set in, we were glad to have them.
~Bowser was walking behind a man in liederhosen and PBR suspenders. PBR Guy turned around and said, "Hey, I lost my tasting cup." So Bowser replied, "Man that sucks! Can you get another one?" PBR Guy looked at Bowser and slowly said, "Dude, you are not who I wanted to talk to, but I appreciate your genuine concern for my loss." Then he walked away with his arms in the air and shouted "I love this place!"
~I met the fabulous Mom from "Mommy Needs A Cocktail." She was selling some of her completely, unequivocally awesome t-shirts. Of which I bought three because I just couldn't decide which one I liked best. I highly recommend her blog and her store...it's like we are soul mates...we just think alike. Thanks so much, Ms. K!
~This might not be so much of a highlight, as a warning. Don't try the Kriek. It is some kind of Belgium cherry brew. And it tasted like one of the kids threw up in my mouth. In fact, the only thing that actually got written down in my little beer notebook was, "NEVER, EVER DRINK KREIK-VOMIT." That, my friends, was a direct quote.
~At one point in the night we found the Karaoke stage. I took a potty break and when I came back, I couldn't find my parents. I asked Bowswer, "Where are The Zaz and Pop?" He replied, "Up on stage singing Man-Eater." Lord help us all.
I want to thank my lovely, lovely friend, FK for offering to drive downtown and bring our intoxicated tushies home. I can't even imagine how amusing (or maybe annoying?) that drive was, but thank you so much my darling FK!
And now, I am fully convinced there is a Heaven, and that I should try a little bit harder to make it there. Because it must be a full-time Beer Festival. I'm already counting down till next year.