It took me forever to commit, but with some urging from my wife I finally decided to run against the grain of my homebody life and ventured out to Beericana this past weekend. The marketing premise of Beericana was quite simple – craft beer, live music, and food trucks. The thought, planning, an execution, however, had a lot more depth. Here’s a mission statement, of sorts, from the folks behind the event, 919 Beer:
True craft beer festivals are put on for breweries to share their product and their love of their profession, as well as to provide a fun and educational experience for the consumer.
Not being a discerning or interested beer connoisseur myself, I can’t fairly judge their success with that specific mission. What I can say, however, is that for someone who just wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather, listen to good music, and sample a few craft brews at my own leisurely pace – the event was flawless and I can’t imagine a better venue. Having free water available was icing on the cake. Food truck lines were as long as I’ve come to expect – but outside of having fifty or more in the lineup, I’m not sure how you avoid that. We tried CJ’s Street Food for the first time and it’s definitely a truck that I’ll be keeping an eye on with my mobile food radar.
As for the brews, here’s what I sampled and my best recollection of what I thought of each. Remember, I’m not really a beer guy, so don’t laugh at my amateurish short sample list; but do take it with a grain of salt:
Sub Noir, Eccentrica (Ginger Tripel): Quite gingery. I could see myself having a mug of this every once in a while, but never wanting to make an evening out of it.
Highland, Oatmeal Porter: I tried to avoid “sampling” familiar brews, but there were a couple I just couldn’t resist. This has been a favorite of mine for a while and it certainly didn’t disappoint here. I’m glad the sizes are samples, because I could have easily ended my afternoon with a full glass (I’m an unabashed lightweight when it comes to beer).
Bombshell, Coconut Stout: I don’t like coconut, but I decided to give this a try. It definitely tasted like coconut, but it wasn’t too overpowering for me and I mostly enjoyed it. Nice twist.
Lagunitas, Imperial Red: This wasn’t bad, but was my least favorite of the beers that I sampled. I promise it wasn’t because the brewery is from California :).
Big Boss, Harvest Time (Pumpkin ale): It’s pumpkin time everywhere, so it might as well be Harvest Time as well. This is another brew I’ve tried before and I was quickly reminded how much I love it. Probably my favorite of the day, but I’m not really sure it’s fair to give it the top spot.
Brueprint, Bruenette (Brown Ale): On the relatively rare occasion when I have a beer on a night, it’s typically a brown ale of some sort. The Bruenette certainly isn’t going to supplant Bad Penny as my go-to, but it was good enough and might be nice for a change every once in a while if I happen upon it in a bottle shop.
Deep River, Double D’s Watermelon Lager: I love watermelon – probably in an unhealthy way, but I actually tend to hate watermelon flavored things. This was the last beer I tasted, which could have had a negative impact on my overall experience. I’m happy to say the lager was quite pleasant – just enough watermelon to know it was there, and not enough to bring back painful memories of watermelon Jolly Ranchers.
So that’s that. Definitely a short list, but the event was well worth the trip and ticket just for the experience. I hope this trip out to Holly Springs becomes an annual tradition.
See Also: Jordan Rogers breaks down Beericana for Raleigh & Co.