Peoria International Beer Fest 2010 Re-Cap
What happens when you don’t attend the nations most hyped beer festival? You get to attend one of craft beers most overlooked beer festival. Sure, Dark Lord Day is huge for a reason. Supposedly Dark Lord the brew is phenomenal, the atmosphere is eclectic, and you can only buy the stuff once a year (not counting ebay). I plan on attending this craft beer mecca sooner rather than later, but this year I wasn’t on my game. I didn’t plan ahead, suffer through server failures for Golden Tickets, or stand in line for hours waiting to purchase beer for $25 bucks a bottle. Instead, I bought tickets for $.75 a pop, never waited in line, and was able to sample from 335 different brews; All thanks to Peoria Jaycee’s and their 18th Annual Peoria International Beer Fest.
I arrived at 1:00 pm Saturday, waited in line for appoximately 5 minutes, was awarded my tasting glass, and was off. Beer fest took place indoors and outdoors with two large exhibit halls
holding the majority of the beers and a handful of tents outside in between buildings. Each table held anywhere from 4-8 brews. Most took one ticket to sample and more exotic brews took two tickets. Needless to say, $10 got you 8 tickets, people gave away tickets, and you could win tickets playing baggo and suplying an email address (which isn’t spam, it actually helps keep you informed as to next years PIBF). So, for no more than $10 (plus the $15 entry fee) you could sample anything you had your eyes on and never need to hit up an ATM.
Aside from the beer their was free beef jerky, just don’t take too much as they are only “samples,” as a colleague of mine did and suffered the wrath of the man sitting there. Also offered was a large selection of beer glasses for purchase, beer signs, mirrors, bottle openers, t-shir
ts, and free stuff all over. I myself snagged free coasters, stickers, and walked away with no less than four new beer glasses. Unfotunately I walked out without the one glass I wanted to purchase and that was a Kölsch glass. I love this style and as summer nears I have been looking forward to drinking a refreshing Kölsch out of it’s proper vessel. I guess after the commemorative Raging Bitch glass, the gorgeous Ommegang stemmed glass, and Jever Pilsner flute I just plain forgot.
Here’s a rundown of the brews I sampled…the ones I remember anyway. I must admit that by the end of the night it was a struggle to name what was currently in my 4 ounce taster. So, in no particular order:
Pyramid Curve Ball
Rhodell Whiskey Dick
Rhodell Honey Vanilla Pilsner
Hurry Hard Amber Ale
Beam Me Up Bourbon Brown
Boulder Hazed and Infused
Tommyknocker Oak Aged Butt Bock
O’Fallon Wheach Peach Wheat
Great Divide Samurai
Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Victory Wild Devil
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout
Left Hand Moo-Tooth
Left Hand Polestar Pilsner
Left Hand JuJu Ginger
Left Hand Sawtooth
Victory Storm King
Victory Hop Devil
Now, I’m sure there were others I sampled from a friend, or can’t remember, but this list should be a good estimate. Of all the beers I tried, I remember being most impressed by O’Fallon Wheach, Victory Wild Devil, and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. The two homebrews (Hurry Hard Amber and Beam Me Up Bourbon) were equally impressive.
The rain was off and on all day until about 7pm when it poured the remainder of the event. This wasn’t a huge deal as we were stuck inside buildings filled with BEER. Overall I must say that I feel this years event was a huge success. I feel I can safely estimate that thousands were in attendance and I encountered very few rude or overly drunk patrons. One Peoria Beer Fest staple is the wave of “oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh” that rolls across the event at the epicenter of a dropped tasting glass. One individual suffered this embarrassment and promptly put his head down and exited the room out of shame. I’m sure he returned, but nevertheless, it’s quite a sight to see and hear the roar move across a large exhibit hall packed with beer fans. My group of friends mad sure we never endured the same mockery by securing our glasses firmly.
I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but that okay because Im only forgetting things because I made sure to enjoy myself. There was tons of fantastic beer, great people, and cheerful atmnosphere. There isn’t much more one could want out of a beer fest. After hearing horror stories from this years DLD I feel very comfortable with my decision to attend the “other” April 24th, 2010 beer festival.
Check out pictures provided by myself and friends after the jump!