Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Utah beer fest review

This year I served as a volunteer. I was assigned as a token cashier for the Uinta brewing organic line up. I basically made sure that tokens were collected for each beer poured. Easy stuff.

Here is my assessment.

My booth clearly wins the award for best decorations!
Things started off slowly. About 45 minutes into the festival things were picking up quite a bit. My line moved pretty well with someone dedicated to pouring each of the four beers available in my line.

After my shift was over I got to wander around the festival for a few hours. There was a pretty good size and diverse crowd. The first thing I noticed after making it around the whole venue was that these people wanted real beer! Any tent that was serving beer over 4% had huge lines. And remember this is a pay per pour event, and those bigger beers cost more. Over at Uinta we had three tents. One for organics, one for the standard line up, and the last was for the full strength Crooked line. My line for organic beer had about 4x the people come through it as compared to the standard line up. However the line for Crooked beer did 10 times the pours as the other two combined (or so it seemed). The story was the same everywhere else. People want those beer styles you just cannot make at 4.0% or less.
It's clear there are still things to improve, but it was much better than previous attempts. Some of these issues have to do with the lines. Some of the lines were taking up to 15 minutes. Yes, that is clearly better than in the past, but they are still the longest lines I have seen at any beer festival I have been to. 15 minutes is kind of a long wait for a sample.

There was a clear focus on line management, and you could tell things were much better in that regard. The biggest issue causing these lines is somewhat out of the hands of the organizers. It's the stupid laws and the fact that we can't really get out of state brewers in here. More choice would bring all the lines down.

The Brew Crew!
The last thing I would love to see is more of the breweries bringing in special edition beers. I heard that one the few out of state breweries, Full Sail, did that this year. Come on Utah brewers! Lets see some new beers introduced or brewed just for the festival next year!

Free 1 liter flip top bottles. Another volunteer perk thanks to the bottle recycling program run by Salt City Brew Supply. Those guys are awesome!

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