A Beer Festival From the Other Side

I recently had my first experience of being on the other side of the action at a beer festival. I was tasked with pouring three beers from Prairie Artisanal Ales at the second annual Vlamis Liquors Craft Beer Festival. I arrived at 11:00 am an hour before the festival began and set up my station. People began trickling in around 11:30 and some stopped by to say hello and ask what I was pouring. While only having three options they were all very interesting choices with Bomb! and Funky Gold Mosaic in bottles and Tulsa Twister on draft. I had to tell several people to stop back at 12 when the festival officially began, because I didn't want to cut to far into the couple of cases of bottles I had to sample.

At 12 the band fired up and classic rock covers started being propelled at me. Attendees began flowing up to my booth, and the samples started flowing out. People were generally excited and even more excited to sample Bomb! one of the few stouts at the event. Several people requested larger pours, but unfortunately I wouldn't have enough to go around if I started dumping whole bottles in everyone's glasses. Word seemed to spread quickly among the festival goers as more and more people came up and said that they heard there was a really good stout that they needed to try. Despite trying to be conservative all of my samples of Bomb! were gone by 1.

Accurate Representation of How I Pour Imperial Stout Samples
Interestingly a similar fate befell the Funky Gold Mosaic. Few seemed interested at first, but as time passed and word spread more and more people came stating that a friend told them they needed to try "that sour beer". Around two my samples of Funky Gold Mosaic were gone, and the pace of the event really started to slow down for me. People were still interested in trying the Tulsa Twister, but very few people seemed impressed. It didn't help that the keg became agitated in transit and was pouring with mountainous amounts of head even for a sour beer. Kegs started kicking all around as 3 neared.

Dramatization of Festival Revelry 
Once 3 rolled around and the festival was over, I stopped by some brewery's tents to do some quick networking. As I made it back to my station and began to clean up I reflected on working my first beer festival which was more chaotic than the tastings I had run. I found the live band, while decent musicians, made it difficult for me to talk to people as they asked questions. Only a handful of people of had heard of Prairie, so there were plenty of questions about the beer and the brewery. Many people remarked that either Bomb! or Funky Gold Mosaic were their favorite beers of the festival and even more were dismayed when I told them how rare they are. It was difficult balancing responding to people's inquiries about the beers (especially sours) with a helpful answer and keeping the line moving.

I wasn't dressed this nicely. 


The main aspect that would improve my experience working for a beer festival would be being employed by a brewery or distributor, so I was actually representing the beer I was pouring. While it was certainly fine I spent a decent amount of time explaining that I don't work for Prairie and why they probably didn't have a representative there. I was also occasionally asked about what other beers were at the festival and some logistical questions which I just had no answer for. I'm sure this is fairly common at events, but I do always like knowing what is going on. I hope that this was the first of many festivals that I work. If anyone out there reading needs some help you know where to reach me!


No Casks Were Tapped During This Writing 









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About Colin Smith

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.

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