Brew Fest confessions

There’s nothing like making a rookie mistake in a field where you’re supposed to be a pro.

I did this afternoon at the Waterbury Brew Fest. Early admittance gave me and my special ladyfriend a chance to roam Library Park and its eight tents — some with about a dozen brewers and distributors, others with just a few — for an hour with a “VIP” crowd of probably about a few hundred people.

Like a man transported from a desert to a water fountain, I dove in. I had my plan: start with Founder’s Breakfast Stout and wing it from there. Wing it we did. We hit the mostly-Connecticut beer tent, the foreign-beer tent, the tent that had a lot of beers on tap that I haven’t tried in a while. We went everywhere but the $10-extra Belgian tents… I just wasn’t in the mood.

Here’s a very quick glimpse at my gluttony, with reviews. Remember, I only downed 3-ounce pours.

Stony Creek (Conn.) 203 IPA. Very light for an IPA, and will disappoint anyone expecting boldness.

Blue Point (NY) Pumpkin Ale. Not very pumpkinny, but it was still OK.

Thomas Hooker (Conn.) Watermellon Ale. Really nice, actually. I didn’t expect it to be. Best watermellon from them yet.

Newcastle (UK) Werewolf Blood Red Ale. Disappointing, and fairly bland. Stick to their brown.

Sam Smith (UK) Organic Apricot. Effervescent, but ultimately too thin.

Long Trail (Vermont) Imperial Pumpkin. Quite a bang at first, with a trickle of a finish.

Tullycross Tavern (Conn.) Irish Red. This was a satisfying red with a pleasant malty backbone.

SBC (Conn.) CT Pale Ale. A nice touch of citrus. Bolder than the Stony Creek IPA.

Maltose Express (Conn.) Bloobs Bluberry Ale. From the homebrew supply shop’s own recipe; like a train of blueberry juice ramming into the back of your car.

Crabby’s (Scotland) Ginger Beer. Wonderful. One of the best of the whole day. Served with a fresh lime.

Founders (Mich.) Breakfast Stout. Just right. Thick, chewy coffee with a sweetish finish.

Sebago (Maine) Lake Trout Stout. Rather mild and ultimately a bit too thin.

Peak Organic (Maine) Pomegranate Wheat. Really bold and refreshing with a solid nose.

Boston Beer Co. (Mass.) New World Tripel. From Sam Adams’ Barrell Room Collection, this Belgian-style treat is heavy and yeasty. I had it too early in the mix and it weighed me down.

New England (Conn.) Elm City Pilsner. An inoffensive and thirst-quenching lager.

Old Burnside (Conn.) Hopt’Scot. This IPA was way too strong for me. It was overwhelmingly bitter.

Tatra (Poland) Malt. This was a so-so beer with a curiously chalky taste that was oppressive after a while.

Firefly Brewing (Conn.) Amber. Clean tasting and balanced, but didn’t leave much of an impression.

Boss (Poland) Light Honey/Dark Honey/Pumpkin Seed. Frankly, these were all offputting, although I applaud their courage. The honey ones literally attracted bees and were so murky that I felt like I’d drunk a pound of the stuff with a few sips. The Pumpkin Seed was brassy and unsatisfying.

Back East Brewing (Conn.) Octoberfest. The best Octoberfest I’ve had in a long time. Clean lager with a nice handful of spices in the finish.

Thanks all, folks!

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