I like to be super-meta, so when we hit up Naval Bagels off Rowe Blvd., for breakfast before the Annapolis Craft Beer and Music Festival, I ordered the Naval Bagel. Once I was full of salmon-y, carb-y goodness and had totally recovered from the shock of finding a complete wine, beer and liquor store in the Rite Aid next door (?!), it was onto the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for all the beer.
It was a total blast. I got to see some old favorites, like Port City Brewing and Bold Rock. I made plans for Oct. 21. I met Pope Blairius, leader of the Church of Beertology. Flying Dog gave me a straight-up beergasm with their impossible-to-find seasonal, The Fear. (Seriously, I’d put that bad boy up there with my other favorites.) I got to see Ben give a talk on the “Gonzo roots of Flying Dog and the culture of craft beer.” Even the lines were pretty much non-existent. The only exception was, of course, the food line — but really? Eat before you go, guys. It’s a BEER festival. Like an of-age boy scout, you should be prepared.
Okay, that’s enough exposition — let’s get down to it. I tasted a lot of beers, and here’s what I thought:
The beers that just got me: The Fear by Flying Dog, 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Bear by Boulevard, Shed Mountain Ale by Otter Creek, Blackwing Lager by Union and Pumpkin Ale by Smuttynose.
Old reliables: Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter by Starr Hill, Virginia Draft by Bold Rock, Bare Ass Blonde by DuClaw and Porter by Port City.
You win points just for the name: Draft Punk by Oliver Breweries and Golden Sex Panther by Burley Oak.
Not bad, but not great: Oktoberfish by Flying Fish, Dreamweaver Wheat by Tröegs, Headwaters Pale Ale by Victory, and Duckpin Pale Ale by Union.
The letdowns: The Great Pumpkin by Heavy Seas and Magic Hefeweizen by Eastern Shore Brewing.
Obviously, I didn’t get to try everything — and I want to try things like the Great Pumpkin by Heavy Seas again. But it’s impossible with large-scale events like this. I even missed out on one of my favorites, Fordham Brewing, because they were the other exception to the no-line rule the couple of times I swung around their way. Plus, it’s easy to cross from Classy Beer Taster to having serious, legitimate concerns about being able to say the alphabet in the correct order if you’re not careful. And being the proper gal that I am, I had to draw the line somewhere.
It was so great to see beer lovers in ANNAPOLIS for once, and I’m already pretty stoked about next year. But next up? Being an Expert Cheesologist at Fordham & Dominion’s Cheesetoberfest and the Pumpkin Beer Fest on Oct. 21.
I know I already said it, but I freakin’ love fall.