It was a beautiful Fall day on Martha’s Vineyard. A chill in the air, and the sight of 50 breweries and their creations all under one tent, stirred my soul. No, but seriously, you could immediately tell the Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival was going to be a success.
I arrived to Washington Park in Oak Bluffs where the event was being held at 1:00 p.m., and there was quite a line formed, waiting to get in. That’s a good sign. At 2:00 p.m. when general admission entrance began, there was a huge line.
Walking into the tent, I was immediately smitten. There were four rows of craft breweries right in front of me, and like any good researcher, I dove right in.
There were so many beers to choose from. It was like a candy store for beer enthusiasts. I began with some of my favorites including Magic Hat, Ballast Point, Stoneface and Troegs. They may be brands I’ve had before, but each brewery brought so many different choices, it was fantastic to experiment a bit.
In between the familiar breweries, I discovered so many new ones. A new fav was Mighty Squirell and its IPL, India Pale Lager. As a big IPA fan, I was delighted with the flavor of this hybrid between and IPA and a lager. I would have never tried this one on my own.
I also found a great Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout. With my slight dabbling into bourbon and whiskey, I found that this was a great beer, with subtle bourbon notes, a smooth drinkable stout, great for Fall evenings.
I also discovered Wormtown Brewery and Clown Shoes (the name chosen because the owner wanted to have something familiar but humorous). Though a strange name, I have to say I enjoyed their Barisia Breakfast Brown Ale made with coffee. Browns, stouts and porters with coffee are a favorite of mine. At Wormtown, I found that I had to be happy when drinking their Be Hoppy, West Coast style IPA.
At Traveler’s (and Coney Island Brewery) tables, you could sample cupcakes made with their brews. Also, noteworthy was Traveler’s Cherry Cream Ale. It tasted like black cherry soda which I used to love as a kid. I was only allowed to have it when were taking our family camping trips, so it brought back great childhood memories.
The most surprising brewery was Brown’s. Based in Troy, New York. This is the brewery from my youth. My husband (we were not married yet), and I would go on Friday nights with his fraternity brothers almost weekly. I still to this day try to visit whenever I go back home. Seeing Brown’s made me smile and feel even little bit of local pride.
Of course I had to visits our local talent: Offshore Ale, Bad Martha, and Wash Ashore. Did you know that Wash Ashore is about to have a new ale release? Rumor has it that it will happen in October
Bad Martha had a table in the main tent and one in the VIP tent. The beer in the VIP tent was really good, a Bourbon Barrel Age American Strong Ale. It was really strong and definitely more of a sipping style beer, and not one for mass consumption. However, I enjoyed it just the same.
That’s the great thing about a festival like this, you can go out of your comfort zone and it’s OK. You can drink it, dump, and if you did not like it, never see it again.
Offshore had my all time favorite IPA – Lazy Frog, along with it’s little brother, their session IPA. Brewer Neil Atkins and his wife, Courtney, were feeling the love at the festival. An event like this, held locally, is a brewer’s dream.
Yes, there were new things to try all throughout the tents. However, there were some ones that I personally really enjoyed. Beer is a tough thing, it’s so subjective. What I like, might not be even close to what your favorite beer profile might be.
In the VIP tent, Magic Hat Brewery was serving up beer from growlers of beer that had just finished fermenting the night before. A number of us ladies fell head over heals for the raspberry stout they had. Only available at the brewery in Vermont, this was a special treat!
I also discovered an interesting porter from Ballast Point, a Peppermint Victory at Sea Porter. Sure to be a favorite after pumpkin season when I start in on the peppermint holiday regime. It’s like it sounds, a porter with notes of crisp, refreshing peppermint. I liked it.
My all time favorite of day was Guinness’ The 1798. This double stout is limited edition, and costs about $44 a bottle. It’s sold like wine. It was so smooth, complex, I had to have seconds and even snuck in a third sample. I loved it.
Worthy of a note because of the humor of it was bRosé cider by Citizen Cider. It was a tasty cider, not too sweet, a little dry, but the name makes it fun too. I like ciders, but I am definitely more a beer girl.
I could go on and on about the beers that were there, but I have to mention the other great aspects. There was music all throughout the event, Crooked Coast, Chandler Blues Band and more. People gathered on the park lawn, sipping craft beers, listening to great local music and soaking up the Fall sun. It was so nice.
The Art Cliff food truck was there with yummy bites, and the Oak Bluffs Fish Market had a great raw bar set up, shucking Katama Bay oysters to order.
For the first Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival, I would say it was a huge success. Were there some bumps? Yes, I missed having buckets to pour out beers that were not my favorite, and of course I would love to see recycling set up, but all in all, I say cheers to event founder, Erin Bayer Santos, for bringing the magic.
How it took until 2016 for this great event to happen, I have no idea. However, it is sure to grow and become even better each passing year. I know I had a blast, and am getting a big group of friends together for next year’s! I also want to mention that I thought the tasting glass was really cute, and that this festival brought together a great mix of locals and visitors! So fun!
You can learn more about the Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival on Facebook. And don’t forget to “Like” Point B Realty on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.