Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fest Report: Parkville Microbrew Fest

Radius Brewing Co's Boysenberry Gose--my
favorite of the fest
I have corrected a major deficiency in my life--I've finally attended the Parkville Microbrew Fest! Yes--it's true--I must admit...I had never been. But now I've set my life straight. I have always heard that Parkville was one of, or the best festival in KC. However, as a Parkville virgin, I feel like I can make some unbiased observations.

The Good

There are a couple of things this festival excels at: organization and festival grounds setup. Because the festival is in the English Landing Park, they have plenty of room to spread out, making it easier to manage lines at the entry and brewery tables. They make the most of their space by arranging the brewery tables in a giant U shape in a grassy lawn bigger than a football field. There's enough space that even with 2000+ people at the fest, there's room to set up lawn chairs out in the middle of the tasting area.

The bathrooms and music stage are set up centrally to the fest, so you could hear the music all throughout and it would only take you a minute or two from any location to get to the bathroom. And with about 100 Johnny's, there were virtually no lines for bathrooms.

The professionals.
You can also easily come and go from the festival area to other parts of the park. They had vendors and food tents set up outside the tasting grounds and they also have a playground, a disc golf course, and lots of other park amenities that you could use if you (or your kid or your dog) needed a break from beer for a few minutes. And of course, the tasting area is just steps away from the MO River--It's really just a beautiful setting for a beer fest.

The Bad

There really isn't much to knock this festival for. The only two things that I could probably nitpick are the location of the fest and the parking. Location because it's a pretty long drive for me to get to this fest and probably most of you readers out there too. But you get the good with the bad--it's an amazing setting for a festival, but a long drive. Meh. 

Parking was pretty unorganized, but I think in the end I might have walked 5 minutes from my parking space to the fest entrance. It would have helped to have a few more parking attendants there to tell you where to drive to find the overflow parking. 

Blind Tiger Brewery doing it right!

The Beer

Of all the things this festival is, a beer nerd's pantheon it is not. They bring in a ton of breweries every year, but for the most part these breweries bring their more standard, year-round brews. Your whale hunting expedition is probably better served at Boulevardia or Strong Ale Fest. But with 350+ beers on the festival grounds, that's not to say there wasn't some excellent beer hiding around. (Or not hiding--the line for Perennial was about 100 people deep when I walked by. As much as I would have liked some, I had to pass.)

I did find some hidden gems though. I finally was able to try out Zip Lines brews and their IPA is fantastic. I was also surprised to find that I really liked Empyrean's Peanut Butter Porter--I've never thought peanut butter and beer should ever be put together, but this beer was pretty excellent. 

My best of show goes to Radius' Boysenberry Gose--perfect amount of acidity, great berry flavor, and fantastic color. Overall it was just the perfect beer to be drinking out on the festival grounds. 

The Bottom Line

This is my new favorite beer fest in KC, especially for the dirt cheap price tag of $30. Next year, I'm planning on showing up at 11am, spreading out the sun shade, lawn chairs, picnic blanket, and the rest of the setup and making a proper day out of it.

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