Sunday, October 23, 2011

Colostomy Bags and Trucker Hats - KC Beerfest 2011

We at the KC Beer Blog have been rather critical of KC Beerfest in years past for the simple reason that it's not a good beer fest if you run out of beer too early. Also, odds are, your beer fest sucks if you have the likes of Shock Top, Corona and Bud Light Lime playing prominent roles. So, when the opportunity arose to attend KC Beerfest* I didn't get that excited about it.

We showed up about 15 minutes before the brewhaha started up and the line to get in was massive. I think as many people as attended Hop Fest were in line already to get into Beerfest. I started to worry that by the time I got in there that the firkin of Tallgrass Real Ale would be gone before I could get to it. I had no reason to worry, this crowd wasn't savvy enough to know what beers to go for. Most were slowed up by the huge Shock Top display and table right at the front of the fest. I don't know about you, but when I encounter a group of people lined up to get at some Shock Top, I take a mental picture of those people and hope to never encounter them again. In any case we got to the firkin and by Nate from Tallgrass' reaction, I was led to believe we were the first to taste the firkin greatness. It certainly wasn't the best beer of the day, but it was one of the few I couldn't go to the store right now and buy.

That's probably the biggest objection to KC Beerfest one could have, assuming they don't run out of beer. There just isn't much there that you can't get any other day. That's a pretty valid argument and not one that I would object to. But, I got to drink some pretty great beers, Saison DuPont, Tank 7, Hoppy Wheat, Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S, Avery Reverend, Brother Thelonious, Schlafly Pumpkin, etc. Nothing wrong with that.

After the first frantic 10 minutes trying to get to some stuff I thought would go fast, I had to go to the bathroom. That's where I had my first encounter with Danner (Boulevard brewer and Gent). I told him I looked for him in the Boulevard party pavillion (really just a tent flap by the Boulevard trailer). He said he wanted to get a poop in before the crowds showed up.

We made a couple of rounds through the fest, located the Hop Rod Rye, tried some raspberry beers and found the Free State Winter Fest IPA. It was wonderful, I can't wait for it to show up in bottles soon. The lady pouring draft beer at the Free State tent was very good at her job, receiving the glass, taking note of what the person wanted, giving it the little jet was, pouring the beer and handing it back. Each transaction taking under 5 seconds. She was really kind of amazing, I took a picture of her but all of my pictures of the day were screwed up by a bad setting on my phone (this story turns tragic soon). We then ran into the dude from The Jackalope News, I knew it because he was wearing a t-shirt. I talked to that guy for a little while probably making it obvious that I'm somewhat of an idiot especially after I'd had a couple of beers.

We headed back over to get some more Tallgrass. Nate from Tallgrass asked us if we'd been over to the 23rd Street Brewery's table. We hadn't. He said we had to try the Nelson IPA as nothing else in the world will want to make you want a cheeseburger more. I like cheeseburgers. We headed that way. But first, I needed another bathroom break. Lines for the portable bathrooms were sparse but were there. I noticed one without a line and showed that it was unoccupied. It wasn't, I got to witness a dude who can't work a lock peeing. I took a step back, saw another "unoccupied" but I was gun shy now. I sheepishly opened the door, no one was there, phew. But, something was in there, in the urinal, it was...a colostomy bag, used. I'm not entirely sure of the social conventions related to colostomy bags so I could be wrong here, but, (and Danner and I put our heads together on this) wouldn't it be more appropriate to dump the bag in the toilet hole (here's the big tragedy, I have on my phone a completely whitewashed picture of a colostomy bag in a urinal instead of having a good picture of a colostomy bag in a toilet to put on this post)? Not at Beerfest.
Josh and Kim opening the Fathead

We made it over to 23rd Street's table and got the IPA brewed with Nelson hops poured by Bucky himself (I guess he's the brewmaster there). It was really good, well worth putting up with the crowd. Well worth putting up with the non beer drinkers drinking beer for a day. It was well worth putting up with hearing things like "I like ales", "I'm going dark, I'm getting a Negra Modelo". Well worth putting up with the guy who loudly proclaimed "I love beer" then when asked by his friend what he was drinking, his response was "Becks". Well worth putting up with the guy who went to the Boulevard tent and asked them for a light beer to which they unflinchingly poured him a Wheat and he seemed disgusted by it. Okay, maybe the Nelson IPA wasn't worth putting up with that guy, he had a trucker hat on. He was the first person to truly disgust me.

We knew of a secret cooler that we could only access if we could successfully accomplish one Amazing Race type challenge, find the guy in a Green Flash work shirt. We'd been looking all day, probably making everyone who was wearing a work shirt kinda uncomfortable as we stared at them for just a little too long. We were finally rewarded when we found the guy in the Green Flash shirt. First with some Lucky Bucket IPA, a pretty good IPA, and then with a bottle of Nebraska Brewing Company Fathead Barleywine. The Fat Head was marvelous. The Fathead made up for the dunce in a trucker hat. Hell, the Fathead made up for the colostomy bag. It even made up for the visualization I'll always have in my head of Danner squeezing one off in a port a potty.

Josh and Kim cut my finger
We made our way over to the table with Hop Rod Rye and Hoss and stood there draining as much of the Hop Rod Rye as we could before Beerfest shut down. Auntie Anne's had a little wheel of fortune type wheel that we spun and got a free cinammon sugar pretzel. No sugar cinammon pretzel has ever been shared and enjoyed by a couple of guys more in the history of man. An afternoon of beering makes a guy hungry. Then Beerfest ended and not one time was I told that anyone was out of beer. I even think the firkin from Tallgrass made it. At no time did I wait more than one or two people to get a beer and the one time I remember waiting any length of time at all, the beer was being poured by Bucky the brewmaster at 23rd Street Brewery. Most of the pourers had no knowledge about the beer they were pouring, in that sense Beerfest failed and depending on your mileage that may be a huge failure. But, if you were looking for a good time to drink some good beer, you could probably do worse, like maybe every previous KC Beerfest.

I ended the evening by being greeted by an empty house and a weird need for Fritz's chili. I hopped on my bike and rode over but was greeted by a "Closed" sign. So I went to the worst Subway in the metro and had maybe the best footlong BMT that has ever been created. Then, after everyone else got home and the kids all got put to bed, I fell asleep on the couch watching "Horrible Bosses". Sounds like a good day to me.

*Disclosure: I received free tickets to KC Beerfest from a party wanting to sell more tickets to KC Beerfest. This didn't affect my review in any way, but you can be the judge of that.


  1. Really tired of hearing about KC Beerfest running out of beer. The event at the Legends has never run out of beer. The event in Westport sucked, but there is no reason for it to tarnish five or however many years of success there has been at the Legends.

    Otuside of that, Fathead is not that good.

  2. Glad you hit on the Free State Winter. I found it to be one of the top 3 winners. Of course, maybe I was blinded by the efficiency of it all...

  3. He said they DIDN'T run out of beer, Chimpotle. Learn how to read.

  4. Top 3 Beers
    23rd Street Bitter Professor
    Free State Winterfest
    Boris the Crusher

    Was first in line for the Tallgrass Firkin but Nate wanted to get a line going before he tapped it. Excellent little brew; was hoping for some crazy Strawberry HoneyComb dry hopped with Simcoe Halycon.

  5. Bob, I too was looking forward to something like Watermelon Cilantro Halcyon from the Tallgrass firkin, but what they had was still good. I'll have some more info on Tallgrass firkins being available more regularly sometime this week.

    My top 3 (that I'd never had before) were the Winterfest, 23rd Street Nelson IPA (they had a different name on it like Ha Ha IPA but I didn't write it down and don't remember it) and Sam Adams Double Pumpkin which I totally forgot to mention in the post.

    Jackolope, that Free State girl was simply great at her job, I've never seen anything like it. If pouring beer were a sport, she would be a champion.

  6. Hey Anon, when the lead-in to the post is about Beerfest running out of beer, it is implied that this is an event that normally runs out of beer. I pointed out that the Legends event HAS NEVER run out. Get your head out of your ass.

  7. It's was He Haw, a little Simpsons joke that the Brewmaster was shocked that only a few people got. Not my favorite fest but a good way to kill a Saturday. Though I wish they would bring the TV's back to watch College games.

    Winter Fest was great and I hope it holds up in the bottle.

  8. Bags in the urinal aside, it sounds like it went about as I expected. Glad Josh and Kim were spotted doing work, but we didn't mean to snag your finger. We were probably distracted by some of the surrounding douchetrosity. Let me know if you need a replacement - they get a little chewed up after frequent use.

  9. I'm always happy to make the blog. I feel the fest was well organized/executed and had a more laid back feel than in years past. Highlights for me included Green Flash and the new IPA from the Free State boys. Any word on when it hits shelves?

  10. @jeremy - on tap, anytime now and in bottles end of november.