We arrived at Mohave Count Fairgrounds punctually. The sun shades were placed on the dash and windows rolled down fractionally as our group debouched from the car. The sun was far from shy on this hot Saturday afternoon. With temperature was in the mid to low 90s we were anticipating a few hours of good beer. It didn’t take long to present our admission tickets and get our sampling tickets and then we were inside the Fairgrounds for the fifth Mohave County Beer Festival.
There were six of us. A variety of perspectives. A variety of tastes. Alas for you, readers, you only get mine.
My imbibing began at the Black Bridge booth. Because local.
Poppin’ Cherries. Black Bridge Brewery
This is Stout Chocula with cherry extract added. It’s dark and, surprisingly, seemed undercarbonated. A function of temp? Ah, well, it did not adversely impact the beer. The cherry flavor is not domineering making this a sessionable stout, I feel, that doesn’t completely fill you up. I would be back to the B3 tent throughout the afternoon.
Cucumber Sour. 10 Barrel Brewing
10 Barrel had two beers available, both sours. I am not sure what drew me to the cucumber rather than the raspberry. The beer is like a vegan tart. The cucumber flavor hits right away, and then the sour chases it off like a jaded spouse. It’s not picklish, as one might suspect (it’s a thought I harbored, briefly). It’s a salad with an attitude. Very refreshing for the summer, actually.
Redlands Red. Hangar 24
It’s red. Dry and IPA like. Bready finish.
Mariner Double IPA. College Street
This was offered at the Rickety Cricket brewery’s booth. It is another Kingman brewery due to open in the downtown area. Alas, they had none of their own beers to sample. The owner mentioned that they are heavily involved in construction. Still, I would have liked to have tried their creations. Beer first, I told him, everything else will follow. But I understand they are busy. Next year they should be there.
So, on to the Mariner … it is very, very, dry with a strong malt presence and no hops aroma evident. Interesting for an IPA. I was told there was apricot, but I believe a server was confused. No apricot. Tough beer.
Trip in the Woods. Sierra Nevada
Holy fantastic, Beerman. So, this was not the usual Sierra Nevada conglomeration of hops. The light brown body had caramel and vanilla from oak barrel aging. Really good! It’s nominated for Favorite Beer of Fest.
Breakside IPA. Breakside Brewery
Well done. No fruit. Straight, dankish IPA.
Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Belching Beaver
Not as weird as you might think upon first hearing the name. Peanut butter is evident but not dominant. Medium body. Worth a second round. Nominee for Favorite Beer of Fest.
Sunbru. Four Peaks
Kolsch. Still good, but … AmBev. Or AB Inbev. Whatever that giant conglomerate is called.
Hollywood Blondie. Golden Road
Whoa. Okay, I love Belgians (fine, their beer; I don’t personally know any Belgians). But this version, this was hard. Hard to drink. It was like expired vinegar. Old, wooden, musty, wrong. I honestly could not drink the whole thing.
Selene Saison. Victory Brewing
Victory Brewing has been around the craft world for a while; I’ve heard the name and always associated it with good things. They are now part of Artisanal Brewing Ventures. So that’s private equity. Kinda like what Dogfish Head is doing. I do not know a great deal about the business structure but Selene Saison was utterly beautiful. A dark, roasty saison with a little funk and a little smoke. That heavily roasted characters wraps around the rye it seems and gives it a bacon characteristic. I don’t even like rye. But I do for this beer. Another nomination for Favorite Beer of Fest.
Tart Ten was another offering from Victory and it was good and all, but no Selene.
What else can be said about this year’s beer festival? It had better music. The Swillers were the featured band. They have good energy and play the crowd really well. Good range of music. Their interpretations are fast and eclectic and approachable. Gotta love it. The food was meh. There is a lot of opportunity to improve in the food vendor arena.
It didn’t seem as populated this year, either, and last year I noted that the crowd was down from the previous year. I have no statistics to bear this out, just my impressions. I now want said stats since that seems to be a bad trend. It wasa fairly quiet crowd that did not ebb and flow in noise and population as last year.
Also, aside from the Black Bridge group it didn’t seem that there were any other brewers on site. It was all just volunteers from the area serving bottled or canned offerings. No kegs, no cool side-of-the-booth chinwags with other brewers. Seems like a bad trend.
Well, anyway … here’s what everyone’s been waiting for … Bottled Roger’s Favorite Beer of Fest …
Let’s recap the nominees:
- Trip In the Woods
- Peanut Butter Milk Stout
- Selene Saison
The clear and unequivocal winner was … Selene Saison.