Well, I’m a little out of my element here. We of the WC tasting crew braved the second annual Winter KraftBrew Beer Fest in San Jose this past weekend. Though we pride ourselves on being locavores, beer as they say, “is a whole different animal.” Frankly, I felt out of my depth.
Held at the San Jose Women’s Club, the location couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s on the same street with what looked like at least a dozen fraternities connected to San Jose State U. I was having flashbacks to my college days. As you can probably imagine, this “free” event was mobbed. We stood in line for admission for more than half an hour, followed by lines to buy tickets which you exchange for beer samples, lines for beer and lines for the limited food selection. I like people watching, so this didn’t really bother me all that much. Plus, a couple weeks ago I decided to grow a beard, so there was huge opportunity to look at various facial hair styles while waiting. Beer drinkers do seem to like whiskers.
We were part of a group of around six or eight—the numbers kept changing as people came and left. So between us we probably tried at least three dozen ales, porters and stouts. I didn’t keep close track of the tastes or the names. My first, was it the Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre Gavrouche Biere de Garde, or did Hegui try that one? Whichever it was had the nickname “Terrible” which sounded right to me. At any rate, the young guy pouring, who happened to be sporting a crazy long blond Three Musketeers-style mustache, said it was sort of like a beer version of pinot noir. That sounded promising. And it was good: kind of grapey.
After a while they started to blend together: that’s really bitter, very chocolaty, smells like stale coffee, has no taste at all, sort of fizzy like fermented tomatoes, etc. You get the idea. I’m just not a beer person. I did like this Santa Cruz IPA though I didn’t write down the name, so will probably have trouble finding it again.
It was a gorgeous night with clear skies. The moon was this huge crescent shape and Venus was very bright. People were really schmoozing and flirting with one another. This was a kid-friendly event, which is sort of weird when you think about it, but we saw several. I was aghast to observe a very pregnant woman with one of the children. I think that she must have been the designated driver for the flushed bearded guy that was hanging around them, glass in hand. Just a guess.
They ran out of French fries, if you can believe it. Who goes to a beer fest without French fries? We ended up having pizza afterward, but with a local zinfandel instead of more of the brewed stuff. I know: I’m incorrigible.