That, in short, is what happened over the weekend at the bigger, bolder Bend Brewfest, which ramped up its number of participating breweries this year, and, in turn, had a huge turnout. I made my way down to the fest for a few hours of tasting and, of course, conversation with the throngs who'd come out from in town, as well as far away, including one Midwestern couple who'd traveled to Bend for their honeymoon expressly because of the Brewfest.
There were plenty of the usual suspects at the festival (no surprise, but the line for Mirror Pond never really materialized) from around the Northwest, but there were also some brews that I'd yet to taste, or really hear much about. One of those was the IPA served up by Phat Matt's Brewing Co., a new Redmond-based brewery that I had never heard of until I caught a glimpse of owner Matthew Mulder being interviewed on television on Thursday evening. Keep an eye out for Phat Matt's brews. The IPAis excellently hopped and precisely crisp and word is that Phat Matt's beers will appear on local taps in the coming weeks.
Much of my emphasis was on the out-of-town beers that I figured I might not have a chance to taste after the festival passed, including 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon - which could go up next to Boneyard's Girl Beer for best fruity beer. Another star was Bayern's Dumpstatruck Summerbock. Although I'm not a big bock fan, this brew turned out to be one of my favorites with its refreshing yet still fulfilling build.
My "I Told You So" award (it's not a real award, just FYI) would have to go to Ninkasi's Maiden the Shade, which I'd been urged to try all summer, only to hold off until the Brewfest and decide its summery hoppiness was downright genius. Hopworks Urban Brewing's Rise Up Red and Lagunitas' Little Sumpin' Sumpin' were another two that still stand out in my mind, my taste buds watering with the mere typing of their names.
I could go on and on about the other dozen or so beers I imbibed over the weekend, but I won't torture you thus. You're welcome.