Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Taste the Rarity 2016 at Wiseacre Brewing

Anyone who knows me knows I love beer, especially when I get to try new and fun (and sometimes weird) things.

A couple of weekends ago, Sloan and I went to a beer festival at one of my favorite Memphis breweries, Wiseacre.

(Also, when I moved here in 2009, there were NO breweries except Ghost River, and definitely no tap rooms. Four for you, Memphis, you go Memphis.)

Wiseacre has a great tap room and a wide variety of beers - almost anyone can find something they like, and it's in a great location.

Their annual beer festival, Taste the Rarity, is a huge collection of breweries both local and from all over the country. While it's not as big as Cooper-Young Beer Fest, it's still got a lot of great beers, food trucks, and entertainment. For $50, you get entrance and a commemorative tasting glass.

I tried a LOT of beers, most of which are things I can't get here or can only get in really limited release. I did try the Wiseacre Unicornucopia, which wasn't totally my style, but it's a very good beer that I just didn't love. Mostly though, I focused on the beers that we don't get in Memphis.

(via Wiseacre's Twitter)

(Because I'm a t-shirt fiend, I did buy the awesome color-changing shirt. I have a problem.)

Sloan was all about Three Floyds from Munster, IN. Seriously, he talks about their beer a lot, and now I see why. Zombie Dust may be the best pale ale I've ever had.

I also loved Indeed Brewing out of Minneapolis. When I go to beer fests, I want to try the weirdest stuff people have - I can drink a normal beer any day, but of COURSE I want to try that Lavender Sunflower Honey Dates Honey Ale that you're calling LSD! Actually, as weird as it sounds, I would buy this one for sure. It was definitely all of those flavors, but I LOVE lavender, so I didn't mind - plus the people working the Indeed booth were super nice.

We decided after a bit of drinking and listening to the Grizzline that we needed some food. Luckily, my favorite food truck, Gourmade, was there! We split the Mambo No. 5, which is basically tater tots covered in mac and cheese, braised short rib, green onions, and angel tears.

Mambo No. 5 with LSD Honey Ale from Indeed.

While we were eating, we got to talking to another couple who are from Richmond. Turns out he is Jay Bayer, owner of Saison and a huge proponent of the Richmond local beer, wine, and food scene - so fun to talk to another person who has the same passions we do (including early American history and the history of food and drink)! He recommended we try the Richmond brewery he was there with, Hardywood Park, and they definitely did not disappoint!

I tried the Spirit Braid, a farmhouse style ale with citrus, and Sloan had the Foolery, a bourbon barrel aged milk stout (stouts just aren't my bag, but he loved it). Spirit Braid was insanely good - I could close my eyes and imagine I was sitting on a front porch somewhere with absolutely nothing to do all day. Perfect.

We tried several other beers, including ones from Sun King (the rudest people there, so I'm not going to link them, but decent beer), Haymarket, and 2nd Shift (a favorite of mine), but I had to go by my favorite brewery's booth at some point that day: Jackalope.

I fell in love with Jackalope a Cooper-Young Beer Fest last year, and they didn't disappoint at Taste the Rarity. Super nice people based out of Nashville, they're really willing to talk about their beers and events, which is fun when you're at an event like this. And believe it or not, they had something even stranger than the LSD from Indeed - Birthday Cake.

Birthday Cake was a wheat beer brewed with Jasmine tea and vanilla. They also had a personal favorite, Bearwalker, but I mean...birthday cake.

It tasted like cake. Like beer and cake and happiness all rolled into one glass.

My happy place.

Only two small gripes about the festival as a whole.

At $50 a ticket, we were surprised at how quickly most beers ran out. We stayed from 3:30ish until 5, and literally almost every booth was out of at least one beer. For a fest that goes from 3-7 that just seemed like poor planning. I think selling fewer tickets, even if that made them slightly more expensive, would be the way to go - it was super crowded, more so than is comfortable.

Second, and this is probably not even really a fair criticism, some of the vendors were really not very nice. It was hot, and there were some very drunk people, but you're here representing your brewery and the craft beer industry in general - be a little nicer.

Other than that, it was great! Definitely going back next year!

1 comment:

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