On February 17th, 2018, Hermitage Brewing hosted the 9th Annual Meet the Brewers event on their premises. The crowds showed up early, and arriving at 1pm, as the gates were opening, many were greeted with a very long line. The line moved relatively briskly, and before long we were inside with our four-ounce taster glass in hand, ready to try some local craft beer.
This year’s event was moved inside the very large sour annex, as opposed to last year’s event which was held outdoors under a tent. According to patrons at last year’s event, moving inside was a big improvement in terms of space and comfort.
Lots to taste
Over 30 breweries lined the inside walls of the cask warehouse and each brewery had at least two brews to try. Definitely more beer than one can safely drink in one afternoon. But that didn’t stop a lot of people from trying. With that in mind and a focus on tasting it would have been nice if more brewers had set out dump buckets. With so much to try, brewers shouldn’t be discouraged by people tasting and dumping.
Quest to find the best
We started out in a linear fashion, moving along the wall, but soon found ourselves moving back and forth across the room, seeking out breweries we recognized or searching for beers that had buzz. Early into our day, we found what would ultimately come to be our favorite of the day. We were already fans of New World Ales, and brewer Mark Denari was serving up his “It’s Always Hazy in the Bay” double IPA. Hazy and juicy, this beer is a perfect balance of hops and malt. We spent most of the day looking for a more enjoyable beer, but found ourselves just coming back for more.
There were some notable contenders however. Santa Clara Valley’s “Alum Rock” is a very nice malty double IPA. Some new discoveries that pleasantly surprised us were High Water Brewing, New Bohemia, and Half Moon Bay Brewing. And we would be remise not mentioning the high quality of the host brewery’s beer Hermitage. Hoptopia and Idaho were both very appreciated.
Actually Meeting some brewers
For many, drinking beer was the focus of this event, whereas for me this was an opportunity to meet some brewers. I had originally hoped to potentially get some video and sound bites, but I quickly realized it wasn’t the venue for that. I did however touch base with a number of brewers and/or breweries and was able to arrange for future opportunities to get some video and interviews at their locations. It was pretty much a win for me, as I found at least nine breweries interested in me coming in to shoot some video with them. Expect videos to start rolling out in mid to late March.
Mark your calendars for next year
Overall, Meet the Brewers was a great event. Some of the people I went with said it was the best beer event they have been to. It was well organized with a wide variety to choose from. Certainly an event to put on the calendar for next year.