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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It Poured at Hogtown Craft Beer Festival (Beer, that is...)



The forecast for the 4th Annual Hogtown Craft Beer Festival last Saturday, April 18, called for rain and storms.  Little by little, hour by hour, the forecast improved, and it turned out to be a beautiful day for some beer sampling and meeting new and old friends. 






This is my third year attending the Fest, and, since I wasn't setting up a vendor tent this time around, I decided to start the day off with the Hogtown 5k Beer Run, a benefit for Climb for Cancer Foundation




The run was held in the picturesque Haile Plantation area of Gainesville, and the route consisted mainly of trails through the woods. It looked like a good time was had by all. Afterwards, the announcer informed everyone that over $25,000 had been raised for cancer through this run and sponsorships.  Good news!

It said "beer run," right?  Adult runners had their choice of two beers, Wild Night or Stump Knocker, offered by our friends at SwampHead Brewery. And, that's how my day started, before noon, already with a Wild Night!


Hey, I finished in pretty decent time! (Well, for me)


Back to the hotel for a shower, and then out the door to Beerfest!  The Fest was held in a new location this year, on the grounds of the Tioga Town Center.  The setup was the recognizable format of breweries grouped in "pods."  Organized by the Hogtown Brewers (the local homebrew club), the fest featured over 110 breweries and over 300 beers, ciders, meads and wines, including local, Florida, regional, national, and international names. The Enchanted Beer Forest provided shade. I met a number of old friends, and met some new ones, I think. Talked a lot about beer.  And, oh yeah, sampled a few, too.  The fest tickets sold out via online sales, so if you hesitated, you missed out.  Around 1400 beer enthusiasts seemed to have a pretty good time.

I liked the new venue. It was spread out enough so that attendees could move around, and the pods were close enough to maneuver around pretty easily.   Mark your calendars for next Spring, and be sure to put this one on.  It's one that you don't want to miss!





Waiting for check-in.  It moved pretty quickly.







At check-in, pick up the Passport, with all the info you needed ...pods, breweries, beers, etc.









A friendly type pouring some Bold City Brewery Killer Whale, right after entry...

And, speaking of Bold City Brewery.... I met up with Regina and Whit, who were pouring the brews under the tent...















Of course, I sampled a number of beers. Here is Day Trippin Session IPA from SwampHead. Very refreshing.
















Always fun hanging around with the guys from Engine 15 Brewing Company...even if he did photobomb this one!
















Motorworks Brewing's Roll Cage Red.
Nice, balanced red ale, leaning a bit more on the malty side. Some citrus overtones. 6.5ABV.  This was a good one. 







And, how about Motorworks' Cruiser Kolsch...Very fresh, with just a light, subtle fruit flavor.I liked this one a lot. 4.8 ABV.  









Aardwolf Brewing's Pale Ale... a Belgian ale that I thought was quite pleasant and balanced.









And, the afternoon just wouldn't have been complete without some shenanigans with Beer in Florida writer Gerard!

















Draftzilla was its own pod!











Tomoka Brewing Co. was here. Good talking to Peter and Jen again!  This is McCarthy Irish Red, a good solid red ale at 5% ABV. 














I finally got to try Intuition Ale Works' One Spark Kolsch, which was tapped at the One Spark Fest in Jacksonville. Nice lighter ale, which is easy-drinking, anytime.








And, I thought the guys at Proof Brewing knocked it out of the park with Creatures in the Dark, Russian Imperial Stout. This hearty brew comes in at 8% ABV, with chocolate and vanilla. Was a Gold Medal Winner at FL Best Beer Championship in 2014.





And, that's an empty glass at the end of the fest.  

Thanks Hogtown Craft Beer Fest for the hospitality!

See you next year, Gainesville!