Sunday, June 1, 2008

Great Things Come in Small Batches at Odell

Odell Small Batch Festival 2008It's Beer Festival season! Sometimes you need look no further than your local brewery to find a weekend beer event. This weekend was no exception. The city of Fort Collins Colorado had the 1st of many beer festivals this weekend. This one was sponsored by the Odell Brewing Company as they hosted the 2nd annual Small Batch Beer Festival on May 31, 2008. This fest was held on a near picture perfect day. Plenty of sunshine, lots of thirsty beer fans, a great stage with live music, some food, and oh yes, over 23 different Odell beers to choose from.

You could tell the moment you arrived that this event was going to be extremely popular. The Odell brewery has a lot of empty land surrounding their brewing facility and allowed hundred of cars and nearly 1000 bicycles to park just outside it's doors. The enormous Odell parking lot was roped off and dozens of tents, beer trucks and food booths were set up to accommodate between 3000 to 4000 beer fans. The festival was a one day event and ran from 3pm until 7pm. I managed to show up just as the event was starting and already there was a long line of folks waiting to get their ID's checked and yellow festival wristbands put on. Entrance into the festival was FREE but it did cost you $3 a piece for a beer token which got you 10-oz of any Odell beer your heart desired.

At the back of the parking lot was a large portable stage that was rolled in. There were two live bands scheduled to play including Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams and also Jalan Crossland. The music was lively and everyone seemed to enjoy the mood that it set. Also spread throughout the festival were a series of beer booths. Each booth seemed to have a mix of different beers. The following beers were available on tap:

Colorado Stream Lager, Bobby, Stone Barn, Hop Light, Auto Pilot Dark Lager, Bourbon Barrel Stout, Quick Wit, Tall Tale Brown Ale, Double IPA, Hop Scotch, Market Ale, Town Pump Pail Ale, Viking Malt Liquor, Double Pilsner, Imperial Stout, Nitro IPA, Nitro Levity, Odell IPA, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Easy Street Wheat, 90 Shilling, Levity and Cutthroat Porter.

On a warm 80 degree afternoon, surprisingly, their Imperial Stout was the first beer to go empty. That beer is one of my favorite Odell beers, however, I was there to sample their smaller, on-site only beers. Most of the attendees were reaching for the lighter beers. I went with these beers: Double Pilsner, Hop Light, Viking Malt Liquor and the Stone Barn.

My first brew was the Double Pilsner, a single batch recent seasonal release that was light, refreshing but a big 8.1% ABV with 40 IBUs. Don't ask me why I went with big beers today. I should know better than to hit those first thing. It was extremely good though. I followed that up with a brew called Hop Light. The only thing light about it was the color of the beer. Everything else was big including the hops. I couldn't tell you what the ABV was but it was a nice follow-up to the double pilsner.

My third brew was one that I chose mostly out of curiosity. I picked the Viking Malt Liquor. I was warned as soon as I was handed the beer that this brew was a whopper coming in at over 9.1% ABV. Woah. It was damn good too, but boy did I start feeling the buzz after that brew. Don't let the name Malt Liquor fool ya. It was a darn tasty brew with a big kick! My final beer of the afternoon was the Stone Barn, an amber style brew. This was the darkest beer I had for the day. I was really getting into the crowd and the music by then. Good thing Odell's started handing out free bags of pretzels. I was really starting to get hungry and I hadn't had dinner yet. There were fresh pizzas available in booths here also for those wanting to eat something.

Last year, Odell's gave you a free beer token if you rode your bike to the festival. Guess what? Look how many bikes showed up this year! There must have been nearly 1000 bikes there by the middle of the 4 hour festival. The number of bikes out numbered the cars by far this year. Way to go Green everybody! If this trend continues they may end up running out of beer sooner next year.

I must have taken over 60 pictures during the festival. It was fun seeing everyone having a great time. In particular, I saw so many interesting t-shirts. I just had to take some pictures of all of these. Click on the picture to the left for a montage of many of the t-shirts being displayed. Most of the attendees were young, 21-mid thirties. I felt like one of the oldest there. Many brought their kids too. Odell provided non-alcohol beverages for them.

I had a blast at the Odell Small Batch Beer Festival. I only wish I could have stayed longer. It was fun to see all of the people and talk about beer. It was a place to show off tattoos, get some sun and enjoy the bounty that Odell's provided. A big thanks go out to all of the Odell employees and the dozens of volunteers that made this event possible. I sure hope they continue to do this again next year.

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- Odell taps it's Woodcut series.
- Odell drops, adds beers.
- CSU brewing class debuts beer at Odell.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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