If you didn't make it out to the Mesa Strong Beer Festival at the Mesa Amphitheater this weekend, shame on you. You missed out on a chance to meet some new friends, get embarrassingly drunk with some old ones and, lest we forget to mention the most important aspect, drink some delicious beer!
Participants may have been armed with palette-cleansing pretzel necklaces and only the tiniest of plastic cups, but make no mistake: the brews poured all day long.
Brew Review was out in full force with a crack team (read: drunken New Times comrades) to try as many beers as possible. While we won't be giving them the full review treatment this time around, consider these brews on the hit list for upcoming articles. For now, here are our first hand impressions of these beers taken from the illegible notes we scrawled into our notebooks as the day wore on.
Brewery: Oak Creek Brewery Brew: King Crimson Impression: King Crimson is a hefty beer with notes of plums. It's as spicy as it is smooth, like a fine cigar.
Brewery: Barrio Brewing Co. Brew: N.C.A.A.L.E. (NC Double Ale) Impression: NC Double Ale's flavor was a bit watered-down. What flavor was present tasted of citrus with a double shot of hops.
Brewery: Pizza Port Solana Beach Brew: Lou P. Lin Double I.P.A. Impression: With distinct pear and pineapple notes, this brew kept us coming back. The back end of each sip ended sour. Delicious.
Brewery: Stone Brewing Brew: 11th Anniversary Brown Ale Impression: Powerful and delicious. Stone Brewing really knocked this one out of the park with a dark and spicy finish.
Brewery: Old World Brewery Brew: Belgian White Ale Impression: Participant Robin Zenno told us this brew was "the bomb." We agree.
Brewery: Stone Brewing Brew: Old Guardian Impression: This brew is aged for two years in bourbon barrels. It was a force to be reckoned with in the mouth, but ultimately won us over; something no other bourbon beer has been able to do.
Brewery: Lost Abbey Brewing Brew: Serpent Stout Impression: When we walked up, the very large man serving this stuff told all the ladies in line it was "serpent love." Even though we're a bunch of dudes, he agreed to serve it to us as long as didn't mind him checkin' out the ladies while he did so. Despite our gender, we liked serpent "love" stout for having an almost chocolate flavor and high alcohol content.
Brewery: Dog Fish Head Brewing Brew: Stout Impression: Easily one of the better beers at the Festival. It was full-flavored but not heavy, dark but not bitter. This was damn near a perfect brew.
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So there you have it. Sure, we tried other brews, but even we can't decipher what remains on these brew splattered pages.
If you missed out this weekend, make you way to Tempe Beach Park next weekend for the Great Arizona Beer Festival. We'll be there tiny glasses in hand.