A delighted crowd of semi-professional beer drinkers convened last Saturday for the 6th annual East Nashville Beer Festival. The weather was sunny and cool, the lines were mostly short, and the mood was mingling and warm.
For our part, the red-striped and offset Woodland Wine Merchant tent quickly established a reputation as an outpost of all things Old World: classics, collabs and mashups from across the pond.
Primarily, the festival is focused on American craft beer, with a strong showing of local and regional breweries. The national mainstays held their own, but the young Nashville upstarts made their presence felt.
Michigan-based Founder's Brewing brought a keg of their epic, always anticipated KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout), which garnered the most hype and the longest line. It kicked quickly but not before spreading belly laughter across the land.
Bearded Iris brought four delicious brews, including their tropical dazzler, Habit, and an especially lively batch of their brett-pale, Persona. It made me particularly keen on watching their development over the next year. Lots of potential in what I've tasted so far.
At 2pm Will pops and pours a grandiose 3-liter of St.Feuillen Tripel. Our way of saying, yes, this day is special.
The festival has matured over its six years. This iteration felt seamless, not the sprawling madness of a thousand drunks that it could be, but more like an even-keeled revelry of like minds, in a kind setting, imbibing the history within each glass.
Jon dropping knowledge. Jared stone -cold representing. The crowd lining up for old-school legends.
If an event of this scale runs its full course without major catastrophe, it's basically an epic feat of cooperation and quiet skill. The women and men who worked behind the scenes, who ensured our beers got where they needed to be (in your glass!), dialed in the equipment so the beers showed their best, who chopped and stacked and served up a bevvy of delicious hot food, who volunteered their time pulling taps relentlessly for the masses, who studied and sipped and toasted the conviviality of the day -- they are the heroes of this tale.
So hat's off to you, tireless workers, and bottom's up!