This blog post is about a month late. I swear I have not been drinking beer ever since the carnival. Okay, but not every minute of the day at least. Nonetheless, here it is in all of its glory and splendor for your approval.
When planning for my wife’s birthday, I came across an advertisement for the Winter Beer Carnival in Atlanta. From what I understand, this was only the second year that the Carnival has been in existence and I gotta tell you, it was GREAT. One of the biggest problems with beer festivals is that you are too close to the rest of the hopheads around you. The first thing that I noticed was that there was plenty of space.
It was a good thing that we got the VIP tickets to the event because we got in an hour early. There was a container of free water bottles which disappeared within the first hour of the event and was never refilled. It was a good thing that I decided to grab a couple of bottles in between beer stands. That one bottle may have saved me from getting over the top drunk with no return to sanity.
On to the Beer
I tried so many great beers that day. It is one thing that the Winter Beer Carnival in Atlanta really had going for them. Not only did they have most all of the major beers represented, they even had smaller breweries and a whiskey station available. It was truly a sight to behold. I was very happy to see my old friends from the New Belgium Brewery out there with some great Fat Tire. I was disappointed that they did not have very many of their obscure labels and I would have thought that they would have brought something out just for the carnival, but they did not.
I was also happy to see the local favorite, Sweetwater, show up. I did not have any of their beer until much later in the event as they are local and I can get many of their more obscure labels any time that I want to. They did have a good beer that I tried in the VIP tent though I was pretty drunk at that point and I do not remember the name of it.
My stand out favorite was – this is going to shock you right out of your seat – Guinness. They had their Foreign Extra available and it was truly one of the best stouts I had at the Carnival. I liked it so much that I had to buy myself some beer from the liquor store after the carnival was over.
Another standout that I really liked was the Southampton Double White. It was rich and deep without being fruity like many white beers can be. I did go back for this one a few times. It was a treat to have such a great beer on a great day.
One more great beer that we tried that day was the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog. It was a good beer which was smooth and slightly bitter. It had a good clean finish which made you want to come back for more. I would have gone back for more, but once I was in the VIP area, I did not want to leave again.
Now for the Bad Stuff
The main problem with the Carnival was that the beer ran out too fast. This is not just me. Apparently a lot of people complained about this. Most beer festivals have enough to get at least close to the end. This one seemed to have enough beer for about half the crowd that actually showed up. One speculation was that there were too many beers which were given away to the event. One look at Yelp for the event and you will see how many people commented on the fact that they did not pay for their ticket. It made me feel like a chump for paying so much for the VIP tickets.
It is a good thing that I did not need to use the bathroom while I was there. There was only normal mass public port-a-potties to be had. Even in the VIP section there was an insane line to behold. I would have also have thought that there would have been some kind of food to purchase or water available in the VIP area. Instead, if you wanted something you had to leave the VIP area to go out with the rest of the crowd.
I did thoroughly enjoy myself no matter what. I got to try a lot of great beers and I met some cool people. I will definitely get the VIP tickets again next year so that I will be able to try everything that I want without having to worry about the lines. Maybe next time I will make sure to buy some food straightaway so that I will not have to wait an hour in a line for corn dogs. Thank you Winter Beer Carnival. I will see you next year for your third season.