It was a rough day, Saturday in northern Virginia, to hold a beer festival: torrential rains, temperatures that began in the 60s and quickly dipped, and strong gusts of wind. Tents threatened to blow over and mud was ankle deep, but nearly 900 souls braved the conditions and enjoyed the beers at the Northern Virginia Fall Brewfest.
To cover losses in case of rain, the organizers had taken out 'rain insurance' several months earlier: 10% of estimated expenses. Good thing! Expected attendance had been 6,000.
What a contrast on Sunday: a crisp autumn day with bright sunshine, fall colors, and cool, clean air. Perfect for beer. (I didn't ask for a crowd estimate, but it appeared greater than Saturday's count.)
On Sunday morning, Bill Madden of Mad Fox schlepped in several bales of straw to cover the mud behind the table for his volunteers, and to provide a less mucky footpath to the tent. Taking his cue, I purchased bales of straw at nearby church's pumpkin patch. Bull Run Park wardens initially were aghast at the straw cover, but by the early afternoon had seen the utility of protecting what remained of the turf, and acquiesced.
Crowd favorites included the Williamsburg Aleworks Bourbon Coffee Stout, Allagash Fluxus, Capitol City's Organic Belgian Trippel, Clipper City's The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Delerium Tremens, and the temporary tattoos at the Flying Dog tent. (View the complete list of beers here.)
Oh, and mud wrestling...
- More photos here.
- The caskman frowned. There was no cask ale.
- Caveat lector: I work for a wine/beer wholesaler in northern Virginia that distributes Flying Dog, Allagash, and Clipper City, among others. In fact, that's why I was there at the festival, also bringing beers from Otter Creek, The Raven, and Gaffel.