Monday, May 10, 2010

14th Annual Legendary Boonville Beer Fest

 "The bahlest steinber hornin', chiggrul gormin', tidrick in the heelch of the Boont Region!"

A picture perfect day in Anderson Valley just off the Mendocino Coast line. I was so stoked to go to Anderson Valley's Beerfest for the week I even went as far as fasting and a psyllium husk cleanse to prepare for my favorite carb-loaded indulgence. The night before I stopped over in Petaluma to visit the Lagunitas Brewing company, just off the 101 and the 116 highways. I would like to say a couple things about this brewery, number one their Censored IPA was simply fantastic and paired with their local cheese plate, I spoiled myself silly. There was a band and a painter outside and my most favorite part of the entire ordeal aside from great beer and wonderful atmosphere I got to have my best friend, I.P.A, the Shiba Inu with me in the dog friendly beer garden. However, not to take anything away from Lagunitas but I must continue with my talk of the Beerfest!

We arrived in Boonville at about 9AM or so and took a quick snooze in the car since my husband and I were still recovering. We were woken up by the *ding*ding* of my iPhone when my friend Kelley mentioned that I should have camped out so I could have just continued with the cereal of champions at 6AM-- after all recovery is for amateurs.

After a quick jaunt around Boonville with the pooch to see the guys playing a round of disc golf at Anderson Valley Brewing Co. I noticed the line growing and headed to stand in line where I was entertained by what I think was the Humboldt State U. Band until 1PM. It was $50 at the door and $40 in advance, this one time fee gave you unlimited sampling of all the beers between 1PM and 5PM!!!

They herded the very thirsty (and excited) crowd in only to frantically look for the lady with the tasting glasses so I could get mine and start tasting. After all the formalities of getting in and grabbing my glass I feasted my eyes on over 100 beers from over 50 brewers. I didn't know where to start however I quickly made up my mind and started with Stone. They brought their Stone IPA, the Sublimely Self-Righteous and I think Ruination or Levitation I forgot which, however I decided to start out with their Stone IPA and scoot on down the line to pick up an Old Chub from Oskar Blues along with some shwag! With all the commotion it was difficult to make all of the brews (however hard I may have tried) however some of my favorite brewer's were there including Dogfish Head,Napa Smith (which I have recently tried at the Culinary Institute in Napa), Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Bear Republic. Also some smaller Micro's like San Clemente's Pizza Port and to my surprise we learned there is in fact a brewery in Tustin of all places (which they say has a wonderful little barley wine called Blizzard of Oz).

After about an hour and a half in, the lines became blurred and people were milling about with their brews all with happy smiles on their faces. I was very impressed and relieved at the lack of 5-0, everyone appeared to be on good behavior even with all the kissing and the passed-out, cat-naps on the lawn, and the couple of badges that were there were in good humor with the "Don't taze me, bro!"'s and "Can I hold your gun, man?!"'s and such.

For entertainment there were a couple local musicians including MoodAlice which played some very fun Bossa Novas. The overall atmosphere was indeed a big beer-loving party. Although I can't for the life of me figure out why on earth so many people were drinking bud and coors in the camping area and in line. IT'S A BEERFEST! WITH BEER! Why would you DO that? I mean, would you take a Budget Gourmet with you to an open house at Paris' Cordon Bleu? Perhaps if you are trying to catch the business end of a cleaver-- but come on people... if you're here you should know better!

I will be completely honest, I started to take notes on the beers I was trying but well...hehehe it goes like this- I don't remember how many beers I tried! I know, how can I write about beer if I don't remember what beer I had. I hang my head in shame at this however, it was all for SCIENCE I swear!

The "last call" was 5PM and I was happy to note that the beer was indeed running out. Some of the booths had run out closer to 4:30. Thankfully was no rioting at the thought that Beerfest was concluding as I had predicted in my own fantasy, perhaps it was the excitement of hitting up the camping ground to visit with old friends and classmates from Mendocino that kept people together. Bon fires, music and "hobneelch" as the boont would say, continued well into the morning till the last drop had been consumed. I feel that the 14th Annual Legendary Boonville Beerfest was a wonderful success and I can't wait till next year to go again! Advice to first timers: bring a tent and some food and do spend the night it is all part of the experience!


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