- Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:07 pm
I was pretty impressed by the whole event, having poured on Friday night and tasted on Saturday afternoon. Yes it was too crowded. Next year's venue change should rectify that a bit. And it was too bad about the tutored tastings, but again, a venue change should help.
I think the sample size was reasonable. If you wanted a 100 ml pour, you just had to ask. I don't think the price point could have been moved very easily - I imagine that if BrewFest went with 100 ml pours only, then it just would have doubled the price per pour, and no gain really for anyone.
The one big change that I would recommend would be a push on knowledgeable (e.g. Beer Club member) volunteers. I would love to see every pour station with an active informed Beer Club member behind the counter, so that when someone asks "Do you know what hops are in this?" there might be a sensible answer. Although the volunteers that did help out were a great asset, they weren't necessarily beer guys or gals.
So I would recommend an early call for volunteers, and if you help out at a session, maybe you get a code or something for a discount to another session's ticket. Or you get an early-early bird shot at a VIP ticket. Or a free pint glass, or 10 tokens or I don't know, something. Personally, I was happy to pour just to help make it a success, but we could probably get more knowledgeable volunteers with an incentive. And that way it does become a bit more of a "stop to discuss the beer" event. The VIP session I poured at was a bit more laid back, with people chatting and discussing, especially since I knew what I was talking about (for the most part).
Overall, I think people had a good time and I do believe we made a difference in beer culture. I served a LOT of people Duchesse de Bourgogne for the first time and nearly all of them were amazed, wondering if they could buy it at NLC. The number of people expressly looking for sours was very cool.
It was also fun to meet some forum members who I didn't know, plus old friends, coworkers, former students, everybody. Next time I'm wearing a button with my forum name and Untappd handle so I can shake a few more hands.
The next beer you try might be the best beer you will ever have.
Check out my Untappd profile: https://untappd.com/user/shorlin