PALOOZA! Slap that word on the end of just about any other word and you instantly think FUN!
WhiskyPalooza? OH HELL YES! That would be SUPER FUN!
Milk Of MagnesiaPalooza? Umm. No. No fun at all!
Of course, there’s always Lollapalooza, which is a super famous Palooza, but to be honest, that doesn’t scream “FUN!” to me. 25 years ago? Maybe. Now, at the ripe old age of 48? Definitely not. As Roger Murtaugh would say…
Now that we’ve ruled out Lollapalooza as a G-LO worthy Palooza, let’s move on to one that I can totally get behind: Pour-A-Palooza 2015! This event, which featured 73 beers from 44 different breweries, took place this past Saturday (July 18, 2015 to be exact) at The PourHouse in Westmont, NJ. Since Limpd wasn’t able to make it due to a scheduling conflict (both of his boys are playing tournament baseball), I reached out to Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast to see if he’d like to join me. As luck would have it, his schedule was free from the heavy lifting of podcast journalism and yard work, so to Pour-A-Palooza we went! And since we were there thanks to scoring some media passes from The PourHouse’s Public Relations firm, we bypassed the long line to get in and spent some time speaking with The PourHouse’s General Manager, Mike Chapman, for a few minutes. He filled us up on Pour-A-Palooza facts like…
- The first Pour-A-Palooza, which took place in the Summer of 2009, had around 20 breweries in attendance.
- Total attendance for this year’s event was expected to be around 500 people.
- Proceeds from the sale of t-shirts and raffle tickets were donated to the local fire company.
- Pour-A-Palooza is meant to be educational. Rather than just bringing their standard issue beers, many of the breweries in attendance bring one-off or experimental beers to showcase their skills at reinterpreting traditional beer styles. Also, those handling the taps are expected to know what they’re pouring and should be prepared to answer any questions from the attendees. We Craft Beer lovers are an inquisitive bunch!
After our brief chat with Mike Chapman, we grabbed a quick bite before perusing and sampling a few of the beers on offer. Past events have featured such food stuffs as American barbecue and a whole roasted pig. This year’s event went with a Latin American fare theme which featured Slow Cooked Pork Tacos, Chicken Tacos, and Pupusas. All three were delicious, and they served as a great base for the Craft Beer explorations to come.
While I would love to say that it was a great day for an outdoor beer event, the truth is that it was a classic Triple H day (Hazy, Hot, and Humid!) in the Delaware Valley, with temps approaching the low 90s and humidity hovering around 90%. Given those oppressive conditions, it’s a good thing that Mark and I were on a tight schedule and could only stay for two hours. On the upside, since this was a Craft Beer event, there was no shortage of hydration opportunities. As you’ll soon see, we took full advantage of these opportunities.
Since our time at the event was limited, we decided to be selective, and only tried beers that we thought would be extra special (and we tried a few old favorites too since we can’t say “No!”). The list was long and tasty…
- Allagash Victor
- Allagash Victoria
- Alltech Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
- Captain Lawrence Reserve Imperial IPA
- Carton Dune Fruit
- Dogfish Head Festina Peche
- Goose Island Sofie
- Great Lakes Lawn Seat
- Kane Mexican Brunch
- Maine Beer Company Peeper
- Neshaminy Creek The Shape of Hops To Come
- Otter Creek Over Easy
- Stone Hi-Fi + Low-Fi
- Stone Chai Imperial Russian Stout
- Unibroue Blanche De Chambly
- Victory Moving Parts #4
While most of the beers that we sampled were really good, if I had to pick one that really stood out, I would go with the Kane Mexican Brunch. Here’s what Kane Brewing has to say about it:
Smooth, creamy, and delicious is what it was, and those sweet sugar and coffee notes that came through in the finish were absolutely spectacular. Per the pourer, Kane Brewing has no intention of bottling this one. That makes me very very sad. I guess I should count my lucky stars that I was able to sample it at all.
My only quibble with this event had to do with the band (as opposed to The Band). Musically speaking, I have no complaints, but the volume was a bit much for my old ears (“turn down your rock and roll music and get off my lawn!”). When the volume is so loud that you can’t hear yourself think, it takes away from the pleasure that I get at events like this, i.e. sharing in the experience with the people around me by discussing what we’re eating and drinking.
Minor quibbles aside, this was a really fun event with a fantastic and delicious selection of food and beer. While it was a bit on the crowded side under the Craft Beer Big Top, everyone was incredibly polite and well behaved, especially when you consider the less than optimal weather conditions (high temperatures and close quarters generally don’t mix). Cheers to all of the good people at The PourHouse for pulling together a superb event. I’m already counting down to Pour-A-Palooza 2016!