Saturday was beautiful: 73 degrees Fahrenheit, blue skies, live music, and fifteen Ohio breweries (most of them from Columbus). Twenty bucks got me a pint glass, ten tasting tickets, and a $5 North Market coupon. This was my first time attending (though this is the seventh year for the festival), and while I thought the $20 price tag was a bit steep initially, I had a wonderful time and will be sure to attend in the years to come. Take note though, ten tasting tickets will only net you five beer samples. Most cost two tickets with the option to fill your glass for six. With 5 oz samples and extra tickets at 2 for $1, this is actually a better deal than drinking at the bar.
To contrast with AleFest, the Columbus Microbrew Festival was more intimate yet felt more like a festival. There was a sense of Columbus community and pride, with a number of C-town brewmasters making an appearance and bringing out some of their finest brews. I talked with Angelo Signorino from Barley’s, Patrick Kelleher of Neil House Brewery, and Trevor Williams of Hoof Hearted Brewing.
I didn’t get a chance to try every beer (or I would have died), but of the many I tried a few really stuck out. CBC’s cracker-dry hop bomb, Bodhi, was great as usual. Thirsty Dog surprised me with their funky-fruity saison, with strong aromas of banana and cherry taste. Weasel Boy Brewing’s Alpineweisse Weizenbock has got to be one of the biggest banana bombs I’ve ever had. Elevator stole the show with their Wicked Goat, the conclusion of their barrel aged series. This beer starts out as Three Frogs IPA and then spends nine months cozied up in a Woodford Reserve bourbon barrel. A barrel aged IPA? Yes, really. Try it while it’s still available. Bottles will hit shelves the first week of October.