Many brew fests try, but this Connecticut classic absolutely delivers. This is a story of craft beer, food trucks and inspiration.
Beer festivals are like Jam Band shows. The crowd is like a bunch of Deadheads. They’re loyal to the purpose and pride of chasing the most interesting and well made brews. They don’t have time for run of the mill, and they all seem to know each other, by sight if not by name. The big ones get known by nicknames. That’s a pretty good measure of how your festival measures up. Most of them take place outside of CT and many outside of New England, while the festivals that take place here have in past years been somewhat unknown on the national circuit.
Crazy Brew Bash changed that. For seven years, the iconic liquor store has taken its show on the road and performed with a killer set of breweries, distillers and food trucks.
Easy Arrival and Departure
I’m like the commercial where The 30-something starts becoming their parents so I will start with the dorkiest good thing about Brew Bash: parking is a breeze, easy to get in and out, with the main drag through town being adjacent to the parking lot.
The Passion of Craft was in the Air
Andrea Reyes pours the prized Kentucky Bourbon Stout from Founders Brewing
They won’t tell you this: but some of the events they do every year are “have to” instead of “want to”. I could feel from every single solitary brand representative that the Crazy Bash is an event that they pride themselves on attending and shining at.
This event was about more than tasting… I couldn’t make it two or three steps without seeing an old friend, or witnessing others reuniting with beer buds from events past, and there was an electric element at work that caused folks who didn’t know each other from a hole in a Cheerio to become fast friends, exchange numbers and make plans to see each other at a brewery or concert down the road.
The Gold Standard
Even the legends brought their A game and sold their beers like they were trying to prove a point
Some other events would be wise to take notes from this one because all of the brand reps were dialed in and knowledgeable about their product, brand culture and where they fit in the larger craft beer horizon. They recommended others besides themselves to check out, and I saw more than one lend a helping hand to a beginner who was uninitiated to craft beer!
A wild example from the Bloody Mary Competition
My partner in tasting went up to each brewer and said “NO IPA!”. He was met with smiles and enthusiasm while they assisted him in finding another beer to love. This is huge. We are still so caught up in the Age of Haze that we sometimes forget that the world doesn’t run on Citra Hops alone-but Brew Bash saw brewers bring out many styles and varieties. I found a common answer when I asked brewers about their favorite thing to make: Pilsner. Their eyes got wistful when they told me that there’s nothing to hide behind when producing lager styles and they were proud to display their skill and dynamic range.
Stay tuned for profiles of breweries, food trucks and more... because right now, I have to go feed my very upset dachshunds.