2010 NH Brew Fest

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First off, allow me to introduce myself…again. When I started blogging back in March I intended to be the ‘Phantom Gourmet’ or the Charlie from Charlie’s Angels. I didn’t want to show my face and leave the mystery wide open. Now that I have been blogging and loving beer through words for 6+ months, I have met a lot of people who are not afraid to show their love for beer and show who they are, so here I am! Get used to this face :). I was the one with the ‘Will Run for Beer’ shirt which received a comment from every table I stopped at.

Yesterday was my girlfriends birthday and it just so happened to fall on the NH Brew Fest. We decided to celebrate her birthday at the fest (all her idea I swear!) and it could not have been a better day for it!

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Truth be told this was my first ever Brew festival so I had no clue how to approach it. At 1pm the gates opened and the flood of thirst festival goers ran to the 20+ brewers to sample their offerings. My friends and I started with a random table and decided to go in a circle, sampling a little form each table. We started with the Kennebunkport Brewing Co. table and I was impressed. I sampled their 2009 Prelude Christmas beer and I was impressed. When it comes to spiced beers I am hesitant but this brew was well done. The next beer of note was from Green Flash and there Hop Head Red and it was very good! Green Flash, although from California, has a lot of distributors making their way to the East Coast so their beers will be easy to find now. The two reps were very knowledgeable and encouraged me to check out their site to find out where I can pick up more from them. Then I found the one.

Before yesterday when I heard of the town Gardner I instantly think of the furniture outlets and Route 2, and now I only think of one thing, great beer. The woman behind the taps of the Gardner Ale House insisted I try the Octoberfest first before sampling the other brews they offered, so I did. The taste is unlike any other Octoberfest I have had to date and it made me double take at the glass and the tap handle to confirm I was indeed drinking the Octoberfest. I said thank you and moved on. Thorughout the rest of the fest, sampling beer after beer, from Brooklyn to Alligash, Mercury to Boulder Beer and 5+ other Octoberfests, I couldn’t get Gardner out of my head. There wasn’t a beer there that had the same effect on me. Sure there were some great brews (Hazed & Infused from Boulder and the aforementioned Hop Hed Read) will be in my fridge as soon as I find em. I also had some great beer from Elm City and Brooklyn, but the stand out award winner of the day was Gardner Ale House.

Award Winning Photo

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I went back to the both to tell them of their prize, which isn’t worth anything because I don’t have awards to give, but I wanted to make a point to go back to their booth and tell them they were my pick of the festival. They were glad they made an impact and told me to come down to the Ale House and check out the inner workings when I get a chance. I will take them up on their offer!

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The other stand out of the day was a last minute surprise from Woodstock Inn. As I mention all the time, I am not a Pumpkin Beer fan but the last sample of the day was from Woodstock and their Autumn Brew. Perfect balance of spice made me realize there is still hope in the world for more pumpkin brews to change my opinion, thanks Woodstock! I obviously took a photo with them as I did with Gardner to show appreciation. I also made sure to stop at the Smuttynose table to congratulate them on winning CAMRA’s 2010 Michael Jackson Award at the Great British Beer Festival for their Big A IPA.

All in all it was a great time and I can’t wait til next year! If you have a moment check out the photo’s I took under the Drink Here link above (or click here)

Hope you all had a good weekend!