I almost didn’t go to Brewfest this year because I was in a completely different time zone and continent when the tickets went on sale. Luckily Julie, my twin (if you’re just starting to follow along), got tickets for us and her boyfriend.
We drove up Saturday morning and arrived around 11, giving us perfect time to check into our hotel and get down to the waterfront. Doors opened at 11:30 but the beer didn’t start pouring until 12. We found some shade to wait in since it was HOT.
This year I aimed to pace myself since last year I went a bit hard on the IPAs. With the hotter weather I was also craving lighter, fruitier beers so the sours and goses were right up my alley. My favorite for seven years in a row goes to a Canadian brewery, Dieu Du ciel. Their Solstice beer is amazing.
Each pour is 3 ounces which equates to about 3.5 beers throughout the day. The tents I frequented this year were:
Idletyme: Pink n Pale (fermented with grapefruit)
Prohibition Pig: Watermelon Swine Cooler (wheat ale with watermelon and blackberries)
14th Star: Raspberry Vermonter Weiss (sour ale with raspberry purée)
1st Republic: Everything but the Thorns (wheat beer with blackberries)
A La Fut: Double Kapi (7.5% sour DIPA with mosaic and Citra hops)
Dieu Du Ciel: Solstice (raspberry sour wheat ale)
Fiddlehead: Ghost Hits (pale ale with lactose and vanilla beans and hops to make a creamsicle flavor)
J’ville: Blueberry Saison
Kingdom: Vampire Juice (sour ale with cherries)
Magic Hat: Laughing Stock (7.9% DIPA with grapefruit, mango and papaya)
Magic Hat: Spanish Lady (margarita inspired gose)
Miller: Strawberry Bubble Gum IPA
Otter Creak: Tangerine Tangent IPA
Zero Gravity: Bing Bing (said to be similar to Conehead)
I know I’m missing at least one since I had a few extra tickets beyond the standard 15. Some of my favorites were Double Kapi from A La Fut and the Spanish Lady at Magic Hat.
Each year I run into people I hadn’t planned on seeing. This year it was Alex and Steven. I used to work with Steven and through him I also met Alex. It was great to join forces as we conquered Brewfest and to see some old friends.
I’ve only done the day session a few times and normally go to the evening session, but this year I rather enjoyed myself. Drinking in the day gave me a sunburn, but also time to relax after and enjoy my beloved city. I walked along Church Street a few times, went to foam to buy their DIPAs that I can’t find in Massachusetts, met up with a bunch of old friends, and sat by the water. I don’t think I ever took advantage of the water enough while I lived there. And now that I’m gone it was all I wanted to look at. The calm water, the cool mountains, and the setting sun. It’s a place like no other.
A lot has changed over the years and I love that Brewfest gives me a reason to go back and visit. The bike path is gorgeous and well groomed. There’s a new sailing center. Some restaurants have changed and some haven’t. And the people have changed. A lot of my friends have left, but so many come back for this event. Burlington will forever hold a place in my heart for all its beauty and for being the place where I found myself and grew up. I know it wouldn’t be the same if I moved back, but it’s still one of my favorite places to visit.