City Paper's 15th Annual Brew Fest

Ryan Rom

The 15th Annual City Paper Brew Fest was a big success this past Saturday.  With another sell-out of more than 1,000 people, the event was planned and executed perfectly.  As the clock struck 1 PM, Ocean City’s own DJ Batman started the music and the line (already wrapped half way around Broadway Square) started pouring in.  (Pictures Available Here)

After about a 10 minute wait, we got our sample cup and headed in.  The first booth to greet you was a Jim Beam tent serving up Pucker Vodka.  Some of you might recognize DeKuyper’s Pucker brand from their series of cordials, schnapps and liqueurs.  The bartender Teresa greeted us with a smile; “You here for the Pucker, MotherF*$#er?”  The Pucker was mixed with Sprite and had a candy taste.  I thought Smarties, but my girlfriend said Gobstoppers.  Either way, I wasn’t a big fan.  I can see if being a big hit for shots, bombs and fruity cocktails.  As far as I was concerned, the real star at the Beam booth was Teresa herself.  The 21+ crowd on hand LOVED her.   Be on the lookout for Pucker Vodka on bar shelves soon.

About an hour into Brew Fest there started to be lines to deal with.  I have to say that each booth did extremely well moving people along.  It’s a bit easier to pour beer when you have a 2-3 ounce fill line and no monetary transactions.  An hour and a half into Brew Fest is when you could see people starting to loosen up and enjoy their buzz.  At no point did I see anyone getting out of line or angry which is always a great thing.

The Baltimore area was represented heavily as you might expect.  Most of our area’s all-star breweries were all in attendance.  Heavy Seas, Old Dominion, Fordham, Brewer’s Art, DuClaw, Flying Dog Evolution, Oliver's and Stillwater Artisanal were all serving up their favorites.   The biggest surprise was Brewer’s Art’s placement; in the back corner.  While this confused me at first, I grew to love it because their understated tent was often overlooked and allowed me easy access to Resurrection and Ozzy in the later hours of Brew Fest.

A lot of breweries took the opportunity to show off their spring or upcoming summer brews.  My favorites were Evolution’s Sprung and Newcastle’s Summer Ale.  Evo’s ale was light and aromatic; brewed with honey, hibiscus and chamomile.  This was perfect for the beautiful spring day we had.  Newcastle Brown has been one of my favorites for a long time, so trying their Summer Ale was really a delight for me.  It was lighter than it’s brown counterpart, but still had a strong Newcastle flavor.  Though I hadn’t seen it before, I am told it was released last year.

It was a perfect day to enjoy the beauty of Fells Point and enjoy lots of great beer.  I saw a lot of people stepping out of Broadway Square to enjoy some of Fells’ favorite eateries.  You could find a good number of people walking around with BOP Pizza as well as Stuggy’s hotdogs.  The only regret of the day was getting to Stillwater’s booth just as they ran out of brew.  I have yet to try their beer but they were voted the #2 New Brewer in the World 2011 by  I can’t wait to get my hands on some. 

See you next year, Brew Fest!

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