by Matt Brasch
Celebrating its fifth year, the Lansdale Beer Tasting Festival was held on Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 27, 2014. With almost 125 breweries and over 300 different beers under two tents that were reminiscent of Oktoberfest and perfect June weather, this festival was truly impressive.
The weekend began with the “Brewmasters Series,”a beer pairing dinner that showcased beers from Victory Brewing, Weyerbacher Brewing, and of course, Lansdale’s own Round Guys Brewing. For each of the eight courses, Victory’s Head Brewer Bill Covaleski and Brewer Chris Reilly from Weyerbacher introduced their beers as they were brought to the table with the food pairing presented by the Blue Dog Pub. Courses of note were the Victory Liberty Bell Ringer Double IPA (brewed for Philly Beer Week 2014) paired with an all beef smoked hot sausage slider topped with a smoked bacon-pineapple-mango relish, and the Weyerbacher Merry Monks with a homemade cranberry and blood orange bread pudding. Round Guys Head Brewer Scott Rudich also introduced several beers, including his specially brewed “Lansdale Beer Festival 5th Anniversary Ale,”an imperial red ale that was a nice break between courses. The Brewmasters Series provided a wonderful opportunity to talk with the brewers in a relaxed atmosphere and set the tone for the next day.
On Saturday, the Festival opened at 12:00 pm for a limited ticket VIP session during which the attendees were able to move quickly from brewery to brewery without the larger crowd that came with the general session. In addition to the easier access and food from the Blue Dog, some breweries had beer during the VIP session that they did not serve at the general session, such as Troegs Scratch #145 Double IPA and Bullfrog Brewing’s Plaga Roja, a sour saison brewed with cherries. “Bottle row”was another VIP session treat – a long row of tables with volunteers pouring fantastic bottled beers. The first station in the row offered two bottles – Russian River Consecration and Nogne / Jolly Pumpkin / Stone Special Holiday Ale (2013) – not a bad way to start!
The general session was sold out, but because of the large number of breweries, the lines were manageable. In fact, about an hour into the general session, Port Brewing had no line, even though they were serving their wonderful Mongo IPA. The Lansdale Area Fundraising Society, the group that organized the festival, should be commended on the success of the charitable event. The Lansdale Beer Tasting Festival should definitely be added to every craft beer fan’s calendar for summer 2015!
FRIDAY NIGHT PHOTOS