Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival

Cabin Fever craft Beer Festival
It has always been strange that the University City lacks a craft beer festival. The ideal craft beer consumer - young, college-educated - is found all over Morgantown, yet a craft beer festival had not made its way to town. Until now.

Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalThe Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival is North Central West Virginia's premier craft beer festival. I was fortunate enough to receive an invite, and I brought along Bill to check it out.

Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalHeld at Mylan Park, this festival brought in breweries from all over the state. Major players like Berkeley Springs Brewing Company, Big Timber Brewing Company, Brew Keepers, Brewstel, Chestnut Brew Works, Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company, Lost River Brewing Company, Morgantown Brewing Company, Parkersburg Brewing Company, Pubstomper Brewing Company and Sophisticated Hound were all there.

Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalI tried nearly 20 different beers (!), and I was particularly excited to try Parkersburg Brewing Company and Sophisticated Hound Brewing for the first time ever. I also hadn't tried any of the brews from Brewstel. That was really cool. It was crazy busy, and it sold out by mid-afternoon with 1,300 people through the doors! Also got to meet Charles Brockway from Brilliant Stream; check out his post about the event here.

Bolded are the ones I was able to try:

Berkeley Springs Brewing Company (Berkeley Springs)
  • Mountain Man Marzen
  • Hellish Winter IPA
  • Old Oak Stout
  • Vienna Calling
  • Warm Springs Pale Ale
  • Lovers Leap IPA
Big Timber Brewing Company (Elkins)
  • Blonde Ale: Light, Zesty, Brigh, 4% ABV
  • Logger Lager Pils: Noble, Crisp, Dry 5.2% ABV
  • Pale Ale: Refreshing, Floral, Clean, 5.2% ABV
  • IPA: Familiar, Fresh, Piney 6.5% ABV
  • Porter: Chocolate, Coffee, Balanced 6.5% ABV
  • Double Bit IPA: Bold, Juicy, Deceptive 8% ABV
  • Frost Notch Winter Ale: Smoky, Warming, Malty 7.6% ABV
Brew Keepers (Wheeling)
  • Topper Gold: This is an American take on the pale commonwealth beer, British Golden Ale. It is light, clean and crystal clear. Super frothy white head and a dry finish. 5.2% ABV
  • Deathwind Pale Ale: A true west coast pale ale. Although hopped multiple times, only one hop variety provides a wide array of characteristics. From tropical notes to peppery spice. 5.8% ABV
  • Irish Pirate Stout: So think of it as a foreign extra stout and an Irish extra stout mixed together. Huge roasty notes of coffee, toffee and chocolate, but depending on if you are a sweet or salty snacker, you may get them in a different order. 6.8% ABV
Brewstel (Elkins)
  • Downtown Maple Brown Ale: Slightly sweet with nutty and maple notes on the nose. Dark in color but light in body. Finishes dry and asking for another sip. Made with local maple syrup from Cool Hollow Maple Farm. 5.7% ABV
  • House GPA - Golden Pale Ale: A low alcohol pale ale with a solid amount of hop aroma from an Amarillo, Simcoe and Centennial blend. Academia aside, the House GPA is always 4% ABV
  • Ashcat - Amber Ale: Auburn, sweet and medium in body. Hints of Cascade hops and caramel with a mild dry finish. 5.1% ABV
  • And All That Razz - Raspberry Wheat Ale: When you think raspberry beer, what does it usually taste like? Raspberry? We worked at a beer that tastes like beer with a hint of raspberry. 4.4% ABV
Chestnut Brew Works (Morgantown)
  • Halleck Pale Ale: A delectably hoppy beer without the harsh bitterness. Brewed with English floor-malted barley and 'citrusy' American hops. 6% ABV
  • Mo-Bel Prize: A dark Belgian with a strong caramel character and hints of dark fruit. 7.3% ABV
  • Smoke Hole Lager: A German-style Rauchbier brewed with smoked malts. It has a nice solid malt character with hints of smoke in the nose and flavor. 5.7% ABV
  • Snake Hill Saison: A Belgian-style beer brewed with black peppercorn, grains of paradise, orange peel, coriander, cardamom, and ginger. Along with the malt and hops, these spices meld into a citrusy and spicy brew. 5.8% ABV
Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company (Maxwelton)
  • Mothman Black IPA: A hop forward, medium bodied black ale. The strong hop flavor is from the use of the choicest Pacific Northwest hops; lending to a balanced bitterness of citrus and hints of floral. The German 2-row and English Crystal malts offer a touch of roasted toffee and chocolate. 6.7% ABV
  • Devil Anse IPA: A medium bodied American style India Pale Ale. Featuring a blend of Australian and Pacific Northwest hops; lending to a balanced bitterness of citrus and tropical fruit characteristics. The complex hop flavors are balanced by a blend of malts; including American 2-Row, American Pilsner, and British floor malted barley. 6.9% ABV
  • Wild Trail Pale Ale: A medium bodied golden-amber ale. Featuring the choicest hops from the Pacific Northwest; lending to a robust mango, tangerine, and piney flavor. As well as dry hopped to add a slight floral and hoppy note. 5.7% ABV
  • Steel Driving Stout: A full-bodied, American Stout; featuring a blend of German Malts and English Specialty Malts; lending to a rich roastiness with hints of chocolate The addition of Columbus Hops offers a slight hop aroma and dry roasted bitterness. 5.9% ABV
Lost River Brewing Co. (Wardensville)
  • Black Ale: A Light bodied dark beer similar in style ot a British porter. Notes of dark chocolate and coffee are prevalent. 5% ABV
  • West Virginia Common: A lager brewed at ale temperatures. A light bodied easy drinking beer with floral additions late in the boil. 4.5% ABV
Morgantown Brewing Company (Morgantown)
  • Zack Morgan IPA: A beautiful copper brew ripe with citrus aroma from legendary American Cascade hops. The nice, initial hop bite fades to reveal the perfect subtleties of a well-rounded India Pale Ale. Notice hints of orchard fruit crispness that will leave the palate begging for more. 6.7% ABV
  • Coal City Stout: A dry stout that opens with a creamy wave that rolls off the tongue to unveil slight bittersweet chocolate and espresso undertones. A big bold brown head tops this midnight black brew, which features a light body, low hop bitterness and grainy goodness throughout. 4.1% ABV
  • First Shift Coffee Porter: A robust porter full of deep malty chocolateness, that features a huge coffee aroma and flavor. Aged on dark French roast for five months, this brew is sure to put some pep in your step. 5.6% ABV
  • 80 Shilling Scotch Ale: A traditional Scottish session beer reflecting indigenous ingredients (water, malt), with less hops than their English counterparts (due to the need to import them). Long, cool fermentations are traditionally used in Scottish brewing. 4.9% ABV
  • Old Morgantown Amber: Traditional American Amber Ale with a seductive auburn complexion. A mild caramel sweetness leads to an exquisite balancing act of malt and hops before a smooth and pleasantly floral and earthy ending. 5.8% ABV
Parkersburg Brewing Company (Parkersburg) 
  • From Ash & Ember: This is no ordinary ale... brewed with a foolish amount of dark malts to yield rich flavors of coffee, toast and caramel. But don't be fooled by the darkness of this beer. A qcuik whiff and a savoring sip take your senses on a flight of citrus, floral, and earthy hops. 7.1% ABV
  • Palooka Pale Ale: Prepare to be sucker-punched with a left hook from outta nowhere! This American Pale Ale is a KO for those seeking the elusive hop. We love to push the limits and our pale ale is no different. Blurring the lines between pale ale and IPA, this beer packs a combination of citrusy hops and biscuity malt countered with floral and grapefruit aromas. 5.7% ABV
  • Citrus Tsunami Grapefruit IPA: This gnarly Grapefruit IPA is for all you Dudes, Beach Bunnies, Hodads, and Goofy-Footers! Our Citrus Tsunami is no ankle buster. We blend light American pale malts for a subtle sweetness and then overwhelm the malt background with a tidal wave of citrusy hop bitterness, flavors, and aroma. So get your toes on the nose and grab a pint to catch the Tsunami. Hang Loose! 7.2% ABV
  • Cell Block 304 Brown Ale: A unique American Brown Ale that overtly breaks the laws of style. American malts are combined with British specialty malts to build the backbone of this brown ale. Criminally hopped with English bittering hops, this beer balances bitter earthiness with dark toasty malts and orange blossom honey. 5.6% ABV
Pubstomper Brewing Company (Morgantown)
  • El Dorado American Ale: Single hop, single malt with El Dorado hops and Simpson's Golden Promise malt. Full bodied, resinous aroma with notes of pineapple and mango. 5% ABV
  • Centennial Single-hop American White Indian Pale Ale: Citrusy Centennial hops over a hazy wheat body brewed with sweet orange peel coriander. 7% ABV
  • Pubstomper Pale Ale: A dank, citrusy Imperial Indian Pale Ale brewed and canned in Morgantown, WV. It features a combination of CTZ and Cascade hops over a backbone of crisp barley and white wheat. 8% ABV
Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalSophisticated Hound Brewing Company (Princeton)
  • Racer 8 American Stout: roasted Barley American Stout with hints of Caramel and Coffee Flavors. 5% ABV
  • 1863 Pale Ale: American Pale Ale with a Crisp Citrus finish. 5.8% ABV
  • RYEbellion Brown Ale: A lightly hopped American Brown Ale brewed with Rye grains, and honey. 6% ABV
The Rambling Root (Fairmont)
  • COMING SOON, but they did have some sweet giveaways and pretzel necklaces, which I proudly wore around for the remainder of the festival. 
Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalIn addition to the crazy amazing beer, they also had a bunch of food vendors available. I ended up getting a few hot dogs (because after beer, who doesn't want a hot dog?), and tried a smoked pulled pork slider with apple coleslaw from Bar-B-Qued Beast, which was very tasty. 

Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalCabin Fever craft Beer FestivalFood vendors included: Bar-B-Qued Beast, Chara Hummus, Garcia's Latin Market, Mylan Concessions, Old Goat Kettle Korn, Parks Specialty Peanuts, Sassy Gals Gourmet Treats, The Frosted Mug and Two Fat Cousins Barbecue Sauce. 

Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalIt was also very cool that Brewstel did a beer/food pairing menu throughout the afternoon. 
  • 1 p.m. Happy Nancy Chicken & Bacon Wrap with Red Pepper Goat Sauce paired with Downtown Maple Brown Ale
  • 3 p.m. Fajita-ish Pork Tacos with homemade slaw paired with House GPA - Golden Pale Ale
  • 5 p.m. Crossroads Chicken Drummies (2) with hot sauce bar paired with Ashcat - Amber Ale
  • Dark Chocoalte-covered pretzels paired with And All That Razz..-Raspberry Wheat Ale
Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalThere were a variety of other vendors, too, like Loving WV and RevIVeU, which was doing breathalyzers. That is such a cool, smart idea. I did it and made sure my BAC was low enough to drive home after this. Very smart - that plus the free waters. When do you ever get FREE waters at an event? It's rare.

Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalAND, AND, AND because there were a bunch of drunk adults, there were awesome games like giant jenga (which I won), giant cards, giant checkers, cornhole, beer pong and good music.

Cabin Fever craft Beer FestivalI have never had more fun at a craft beer festival. They're always fun, but this one was so smart, so well-thought-out, and had a real high-quality selection of West Virginia breweries. They were out there talking about their passion and upcoming projects. I love that the focus was on our local folks and promoting the craft beer industry in the state. As someone who works in marketing, I understand the attention to detail, and it's the small touches that really make this shine. We had really solid breweries, the food was good (though I always think there could be more), the free water, the breathalyzers, the fun games ... it really made for a fun event for all of us to share our love for craft beer.