The KC Beerfest happened yesterday in Westport. Happened is most cordial word I can use to describe the event. In case you hadn't heard yet, the event ended a little earlier than expected... about two and a half hours earlier than
expected advertised. No, there wasn't a freak thunderstorm or underage flash mob, but rather a beer shortage. I've heard different stories about what caused the shortage but they all follow a common theme: someone didn't bring the amount of beer they were supposed to.
I got to Westport just after 1pm and made my way around the Boulevard and Odell tables before moseying down Westport road through Founders, Saison Dupont, Left Hand and Tallgrass. I got a glass of Odell Mountain Reserve and Tallgrass Oasis during this first pass. Not bad stuff, the Oasis was surprising good. I was expecting a light summer lager but it was a hoppy red mouthful.
Finally, around 2 or 2:15 I walk over to the last set of tables and notice that one whole side of the street is empty.... I mean there was nothing on the tables at all. I couldn't tell what I'd missed, that's how long they'd been out of beer. The far side of the street still had some bottles so I walked over and saw a few New Belgium beers, Schlafly Pale and Strangford Lough. The crowd was packed around the last two or three poor volunteers that still had beer left. I managed to get a pour of Strangford's St. Patrick's Ale. It was scotchy and had a little caramel flavor. By the time I'd gotten my St. Pat's pour the other beers on that block had completely run out. The place was picked so clean that I even saw someone run off with a cardboard cutout of The Most Interesting Man.
I heard from one person that only one case of beer per style showed up that morning, while someone else had told me that a distributor completely pulled out of the event without giving the organizers a heads up.
So it was now about 2:30pm, an hour and a half after the event opened to the public, and one third of the tables were now out of beer. The crowd understandably dispersed and headed toward the tables that still had beer. Keep in mind that even though a third of the beer was gone, a third of the crowd didn't just go home... So now the remaining tables were even busier and running out of beer at a rapidly increasing rate as more people keep showing up. I decided to cut my losses at this point and make my way over to Boulevard and grab a Saison-Brett before it ran out. The girl pouring the Saison-Brett handed me a glass that was filled to the brim! Unfortunately, it was all foam...
We hung around until about 3pm, grabbing a falafel sandwich from the Jerusalem Cafe truck (which was parked in front of Jerusalem Cafe oddly enough...) and watching the disappointed beer drinkers wander around in a sober stupor. It was like a bizarro warzone... Finally, we just went to Murray's for ice cream which ended up being the best decision of the day. I got the Bacon Maple Walnut ice cream and forgot all about the beerfest, seriously it was that good.
Walking back through Westport around 3:30 it looked like Tallgrass and Boulevard were the only ones with beer left. It's worth noting that the event was sold as running from 1pm to 5pm... I left around 3:30ish because there was no point in staying any longer. As surprised as I was that beer ran out early (this isn't the first time this has happened at a KC Beerfest) I was even more surprised there weren't any fights or people making a scene. I'll credit the lack of beer to contributing to the crowd's mild temper.