What a brilliant idea. Get 30 brewers together under some tents, charge a reasonable amount ($40) for admission, and provide everyone with a 60 mL tasting glass. Yum. (For the most part.)
Yesterday I went to AleFest 2009 in the shadow of Soldier Field, and in the aftermath of severe thunderstorms. (Note to self: bring dry socks next year.)
I must confess to a slow but perceptible change in the sensitivity of my palatte as the afternoon wore on, but I did come away with some new beers to buy when I can: Southampton IPA from, of all places, Long Island; Emmett's Victory Pale, from West Dundee, Ill.; and Granite City Duke of Wellington IPA, from St. Cloud, Minn.
There weren't as many people there as I would have expected, probably no more than 500 or so, but by 4pm every single one of them was in this line:
This is what happens when 500 people each have about two pints of ale simultaneously.
Excellently fun afternoon. And, given a small amount of discipline and a large amount of time, I did not overindulge. (In fact, more beer than you might guess wound up discreetly feeding grass and trees. Hey, not everyone likes every beer.