First and foremost: the Go West Beer Fest did not disappoint, in fact it blew it out of park. Ok. We got that out of the way– now for the amazingness of this party. The event sold out and volunteers were turning people away at the door. By 6:40 a line had formed and I knew this was going to be something special, despite this being my third time attending. As in years past, the state societies make a high quality event that showcases the depth of craft beer from their home states.
Organized by the Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State Societies this event brought over 700 westerners together to celebrate their amazing craft beer. New to this year’s group was Nevada, following the addition of Colorado from last year. The beer list was as diverse as the states themselves:
Eastern Market is a a tight fit for so many attendees but everyone seemed to be in a jovial mood and enjoying each others’ camaraderie. As a true Pacific Northwesterner (I’ve bounced around several Western states) it’s nice to catch up with friends and colleagues I really only see socially at events like these. There’s just something we all have in common.
While, I wasn’t lucky enough to try every brew, Idaho’s Laughing Dog Brewery was VERY popular and the half pours of beer were quite generous. Of those I did try, I very much enjoyed the Elysian Immortal IPA from Washington, and I don’t like IPAs. It was a great beer with my slice of veggie (onion, olives, mushrooms and green peppers) pizza from DC Slices (ahhh-mazing crust BTWs)– this is the kind of pizza you fold in half to eat properly. The beer balanced well with the sweetness of the tomato sauce and wasn’t overly bitter between bites.
I am a much bigger fan of hefes and found great delight in the Montanan Miner’s Gold Hefeweizen by Lewis and Clark Brewing, as well as the Brewer’s Cabinet Headwall Hefe from Nevada. The Headwall Hefe was definitely fruity which I very much enjoyed. I will say it might be a bit more appropriate for a warmer day than the 40 or so degrees outside that night. Serious kudos to the Montana station for holding down the patio area. Didn’t even need ice to keep the beer cold.
The hubby is a serious beer drinker and was impressed by Great Basin Brewing Company Outlaw Milk Stout. When asked his for thoughts, “a smooth, creamy finish”. I believe him. I also heard good things about Oregon’s Omission Gluten Free IPA, which boggles my mind. How do you make a beer without gluten? They have a proprietary process but I am still quite curious.
I also saw an amazing sandwich come out of Dirty South Deli that, looking on their menu now, must have been the Birdman. It looked AMAZING, all I could see without tackling the person walking away (awkward) was Thanksgiving in a bun. The hosts were smart to have both trucks and two tables per state to accommodate such a large crowd. The 2015 Go West Beer Fest was a huge success and I am excited to see what they bring for 2016!