Add A Comment January 17th, 2013

Columbus Winter Beerfest 2013

Posted by Kyle

Columbus Winter Beerfest

The most enjoyable Columbus Beerfest yet.

Now, I went on record as not being the biggest fan of the Summer Beerfest back in August, when the event was at the LC. There were too many people, in too small a space, and they oversold the VIP tickets. Needless to say, my expectations weren’t very high for the Winter session. But it was back at its usual location, The Greater Columbus Convention Center. And the beer list did look really promising, with a bunch of new breweries. So I went. But I vowed that if this event wasn’t up to snuff, it would be my last from these organizers. Thankfully, the night was great; smooth from beginning to end. Almost.

If it weren’t for the well-intentioned, but misinformed security guard that tried to confiscate our pretzel necklaces, the evening would’ve been a complete success. Luckily, my girlfriend carries a rather large purse, and we smuggled the necklaces in without incident. (The event organizers later tweeted that pretzel necklaces were, indeed, allowed.)

As for the actual fest, it was great. Not too packed — at least not on Friday — lots of friendly people, and tons of great beers. Here’s a short list of some standouts that I got to try for the first time:

#5.  Brewno Black Barleywine from Columbus Brewing Co. / Fat Head’s Brewing

A really delicious, complex mix of hops, coffee, chocolate, and more hops.

#4.  There Will Be Black American Black Ale from Brooklyn Brewery

Bready but crisp. Dark in color, but light in flavor. Hints of citrus and mint.

#3.  Fascist Pig Imperial Red from Finch’s Beer Company

Just a damn good beer. Solid throughout, and packs a bit of an ABV punch.

#2.  Frosted Frog Christmas Ale from Hoppin’ Frog Brewery

Spicy as hell and warms on the way down. Lovely malt character.

But far and away, the best beer of the night — and one of the best I’ve had in a while — was:

#1.  Sexual Chocolate from Barley’s Brewing

So rich, and lusciously complex. Cask-aged with cacao nibs. Absolutely flavor-packed.

I don’t know what the actual numbers were, but I can’t imagine there were more than 2,500 people in the hall at any given time on Friday. We didn’t have to wait in a single line, not even for the limited selections. Saturday, on the other hand, completely sold out. And from what I heard, it was ridiculously packed, with lines the whole night. Although I would’ve loved to have tried some of the Saturday-only offerings — especially, given how good Friday’s were — I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with the mob.

The pretzel necklace incident aside, the group that runs the festival went a long way to redeeming themselves for last Summer. For now. We’ll have to wait and see what happens this August.

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