Monday, April 27, 2009

Hershey Biergarten: The Review

Ok, so as you read in my previous post, a group of us when to Hershey Gardens for a Biergarten fundraiser for The Milton S. Hershey Foundation. It was to be a three hour tour. A three hour tour.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

We are going to break this up into the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Because when you are putting on an event with this kind of audience draw it nevers goes off flawlessly.

The Good: 10 beer tents, as advertised and I drank samplings from all but 2 of them. Why did I stop at 8? Because Sam Adams was one of the 10, and I know that I love Sam Adams Boston Lager so it just seemed that I was wasting time drinking something that I was already familiar with. Lancaster Brewing was also there with their Rare Rooster brew, and their Shoo-Fly Porter. I got to try the Rare Rooster Ale which was very crisp, with a real nice mouth feel, and a smooth malty back taste. An excellent summer beer.

First up for me was Marzoni's Brick Oven and Brewing Company out of Duncansville, Pa. I had their Maibock beer, which is a strong spring beer also known as a transitional beer. Transitional in that it is a beer that is between the strong beers of winter, and the milder beers of the summer. This was a really nice, crisp beer with just a hint of hops, and a very nice malt back taste. A perfect beer for me, because I just am not a huge hop fan.

On to Bavarian Barbarian Brewing. Headbangers Brown is what I tasted from these guys. Another favorite of mine due to its rich nutty, malty flavor with just a hint of hops to keep it balance. Next up from these guys was Steel Drivin' Stout. A very nice stout that drinks

On to Bullfrog Brewery. I had a couple of tastings of their Inspiration Red, because I just couldn't get enough of the first one. The taste of this red is that good. Another smooth, malty beer, easy on the hops but hit my tastes dead on.

By this time I had had 6 beers and it all started to get hazy. Troeg's was my next stop, if I remember correctly, and I tried their Organic Rugged Trail and liked very much. It is an organic take on their original Rugged Trail which is a nut brown. Very smooth, very tasty, and great after a day of being outside.

So are you wondering if I had any beers that I didn't particularly like? Oh yes I did, padawan. So let's get to them right now, shall we?

Barbarian was serving a Blueberry ale that was just weak. It was extremely lightly hopped along with lightly malted so that the blueberry flavor could come through. And it just didn't do it. Very watery.

Magic Hat was there with #9, and Circus Boy. I tried Circus Boy first because of a friend who has been bugging me to try it. Circus Boy is a hefeweizen, but in my opinion is was pretty weak. Not much character. Quite unlike #9, a pale ale with that uses cascade, and columbus hops. You can really taste the cascade hops in this brew. Not a favorite, but it is one of those beers that is a refreshing difference.

Now lets talk about The Bad. First off Sly Fox was listed as one of the breweries in attendance. They weren't there. That was disappointing to me as I was really looking forward to tasting their brews. The layout of the event was a little crowded also. The tents were stacked pretty close to one another, so that when you were waiting in line, you were right on top of folks who were waiting in line for the next tent. I got to meet some nice people in the lines, but still, it was hot and I could have used a little breathing room. Other than Gettysburg Pretzel and Snack Company, there was only one other food vendor. Just one more would have been sufficient to take care of those of us who really didn't want to wait in any more lines.

And The Ugly. If you advertise an event to last a certain amount of time, it should be running on all cylinders for that amount of time. And unfortunately, the Biergarten did not. By 3pm all but 2 breweries had run out of beer. How could you run out of beer at a beer festival? Lack of planning, and lack of concern for your guests is how I see it. And in talking to a couple of other folks who were there, they agree. As a matter of fact I talked to a DJ from KISS 99,3 who was attending with some of her friends and she was saying the same thing. Kate said that last year most of the vendors were open until 4:30, and unfortunately she didn't see herself coming back next year.

Me? I do see myself going next year, but I will be very interested in seeing any changes that will be made.

By the way, the only brewers that were open until 4pm were Lancaster Brewing, and Magic Hat. They were paying attention.

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