The Initial Scene
You couldn’t have asked for better weather. At 10am, there was a little chill to the air and overcast sky. Perfect beer drinking weather in my opinion. There were pouring stations spread all over Stone Brewing’s World Bistro and Gardens, and lines didn’t seem that long. The first beers I wanted to try were Stone’s Barrel Aged offerings that will hopefully one day be on sale, Saison du BUFF aged in red wine barrels and Highway 78 Aged in Scotch Barrels were quite the treat. The biggest attraction at that point was Bottle Line 1, which had some of the rarer Belgium sours.
Food was very tasty and obtainable. As I had hoped, The Duck Burritos made their appearance, as well as the house soft pretzels. There was no lack of water either, as Stone setup these cool looking water coolers with ice in every corner.
Compare and Contrast to Other Festivals
As the clouds went away and the temperature raised, it was warm but not hot. Compared to Sour Fest or their Anniversary Celebration, this was what I would consider to be chill. I had anticipated a festival with strong barrel aged beer to get loud and rowdy. I based this assumption on what I’ve seen at a few other “Strong Ale” festivals over the past few years. This event was very unique. By 2 hours into the event, things got a little louder, but then by hour 3, it got much quieter. There was a bit of a lull or haze over the entire crowd as it wound down. I’m sure there were a few one off incidents, but generally speaking it was a festival full of behaved folks, and nothing you should be intimidated about attending next year.
Big thanks to entire Team Stone , Dr. Bill and Randy Clemens. They have event coordination down pat.