So I found myself at Brew-Ha-Ha, messenger bag filled with the proper beer review supplies - notebook, pen, copy of INtake to impress the ladies... well, the copy of INtake belonged to Chris, but I could sense his motives.
As we worked our way through the 15 or so booths, I decided that instead of writing down everything, I'd just wait for something to jump out and grab my taste buds, and that would be the beer I reviewed. Near the end of the day nothing had stood out, and the only thing I had written down was "Jim is a lightweight".
That's why I wouldn't let you see the notebook, Jim. And I'm only teasing.
Gina and I had the pleasure of bringing out a couple of my non-beer geek friends, and it was interesting to see their reactions to the samples - it wasn't too long ago that I puckered up when tasting an IPA or based my beer choices on their resemblance to something Miller brewed. As the day went on, our guests found a few things they liked; so perhaps a door was opened.
Another thing worth noting was that the last thing I tried was Barley Island's Bourbon Barrel Stout - a beer I gave a 3 mug review back in April - and found it to have more appeal this time. I guess that it proves that you should give everything a second chance, because I'd give the Stout a higher rating now, perhaps somewhere between 3.5 mugs and 4 mugs. I was also pleased with the samples I had from Clipper City's stable of beers, though I couldn't tell you why.
I'd say a brew festival isn't really the best place to review beer - everything sort of blurs together after a little while. But that's not to say it's a lost cause. In fact, I think it's a great experience, and a great way to get to know styles of beer. For the uninitiated, it's a chance to sample a little bit of everything and find a path to work your way down. For the beer geek, it's a good excuse to expand your knowledge of the varieties from familiar breweries. And if nothing else, it's a great excuse to get a little drunk. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that.