Beer Fest

Fests | New Belgium DC Tour de Fat

Fests | New Belgium DC Tour de Fat

New Belgium has been hosting Tour de Fat now for over 16 years, and since I’ve heard about it coming to DC, I’ve wanted to attend. DC seems to be their first stop, meaning it’s at the beginning of summer. Every year I’ve wanted to go, it was on a weekend where we had a trip planned. This year however, we had nothing that conflicted, so became high priority. Sadly, DC has been having a record wet spring, including a rain storm passing through the day of the event. Watching the weather closely, I noticed the dark green radar cloud quickly moving away. So I got all my gear together and took the little guy out to see the sights. Events were listed as starting around 10am, so I wanted to get there early, so we could make a day out of it without impacting nap time. We apparently were really early though. Add in the uncertainty of the rain, and it was like a ghost town. A lot of vendors and displays were being set up, while others were being taken down. With the past rain, a lot of events and attractions were canceled, including the bike parade. Seemed most of which were for the kids.

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Photo of Eli in a frame with the main stage and band in the background.

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VIP drinking area, never really got packed.

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Beer lines. Not open yet.

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Beer tokens. $5 per each.

We pushed forward though, and checked out a few of the sights. With no one there, it was great for Eli to be able to toddle around. After checking out the band for a bit, we headed over to Le Tigre to see the yo-yo show. Sadly, this show was canceled and they recommended we head back to the main stage for the fashion show. Figured if we were going to be here for a little bit, it was safe to buy a couple of beers. Seems we were early on that front as well, since beers weren’t being sold till noon. Was able to grab one though, and we started following a group of clowns on a trike back to the main stage for the fashion show. One of the clowns stripped down to his speedos and did some slip and sliding.

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Fashion show with clown slip & slide.

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Cupid on portable karaoke stage.

It was back to Le Tigre at this point. The main stage and Le Tigre were on opposite ends of the venue and required crossing the Yards Park bridge. Didn’t realize I was going to be getting a nice little work out in. We made it to the next show, which was Adam Kuchler. It was a fun little show and had some juggling involved, so the little guy was definitely being entertained. Definitely worth the trip. We saw that there was a puppetry show starting a little later, so we quickly headed to the BBQ Bus for lunch. We grabbed a plate full of BBQ pork, baked beans, and mashed potatoes and headed back to Le Tigre. The puppetry show by Vanessa Valliere wasn’t what we were expecting, not sure a lot of the kids who came into the show understood what was going on. It was a cool concept though, and had some good laughs for the older crowd.

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Adam Kuchler with a juggling act.

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Puppet Show with Vanessa Valliere

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BBQ Bus – Pulled pork, baked beans, & mashed potatoes.

At this point, it was getting close to nap time. So we decided to head out. We missed the slow bike ride and never saw who one the New Belgium bike. By this point, the crowd had grown, and there was a long line for beer. I was out of tokens and realized that they had Carnie Blood on tap, so missed out on that one. Though the rain literally put a damper on things, it was a great event regardless. Now that we know what to expect, we are definitely looking forward to next year, hopefully the weather holds up then.

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More of a crowd and lines for Carnie Blood.

Tour de Fat –
Adam Kuchler –
BBQ Bus –
Vanessa Valliere –

Fests | 2nd Annual Bluegrass, Brew, & BBQ

Fests | 2nd Annual Bluegrass, Brew, & BBQ

It’s been a while since we had gone to a brew fest, we have become a bit particular about them, and try to avoid some of the massive mainstream ones that result in overcrowding rush sampling. We decided to give this one a shot, as my sister-in-law had been there the previous year and gave it a good recommendation. The first good sign of a brew fest is the hours that it runs. There are a lot of them out there that last only three hours. I’m not sure how you are expected to sample 100 different types of beer in that time frame. This one had seven hours of sampling, and with 15 breweries on hand, that becomes very manageable. In fact, we were even able to drink a couple full glasses of the beers we really enjoyed. The second good sign is the pricing. It’s a good deal when you get a sampling glass (13 oz) and ten 3 oz sampling tokens for $22.50 online. Since Red Shedman Farm Brewery is also part of Lingnore Wines, they threw in some free wine sampling as well. They also had wine to purchase, which makes the family battles of beer versus wine fall to the wayside. If you wanted to upgrade, they did offer VIP for $35, which got you double the tokens and a three oz bigger souvenir glass. Honestly, I find that the upgrade typically isn’t really worth it. Especially when you can get five more tokens for $4.

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13 oz Souvenir Glass

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Pork Authority BBQ Truck

Pulling in through the rolling hills, you are quickly reminded that you are on a farm. We lucked out, and our parking spot ended up being right by the entry. There was only one entry point, which resulted in quite the long line wrapping around the fence. This line didn’t seem to die down till we left and they were closing the entry down. Once inside, there was a pavilion area with all the breweries and wine to the left. Beyond the pavilion was a steady sloping hill covered in festival goers and another pavilion for the bands at the bottom. Directly ahead was a barn house, which had wine sampling and other vendors inside. To the right was the food, as well as other odds and ends vendors. After claiming our spot, we grabbed a couple of samples and headed for the BBQ. We got to the fest early, around opening time, but it seems there was a lack of BBQ at this point. Some of our group did recon missions to figure out what others were up and running while one of us staked a spot in the Pork Authority line. There were a couple of other vendors that had pulled pork, such as the Jerk Chicken place, but by the time I had considered moving over there, that line had increased as well. By then, the Falafel line had also become dreadfully long. I waited it out, and after about 30 mins or so, I received my BBQ. It was tasty, but my overall disappointment that a festival have the letters BBQ in it, seemed to be lacking said article continued.

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Blue Octane Bluegrass Band

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Covered hill of festival goers

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Pano from the bottom of the hill

The music was great, and there were plenty of areas for families to play. The beer tasting lines tended to be long, but moved pretty quickly. It was nice that there were a bunch of different styles represented, as I’ve been to plenty of festivals that are overloaded on IPA. So other than being a bit packed and desire for more BBQ, this was a nice festival. It was made even better by the awesome weather we had that day, and the fun atmosphere that the crowd helped create. A couple of days later, we saw notes that the festival planners are going to try and take care of some of the lines and lack of BBQ for next years event. So will definitely add this to our list of festivals worth visiting.

Red Shedman Farm Brewery
13601 Glissans Mill Road
Mt. Airy, MD 21771
301.831.5889 or 410.795.6432

Participating Breweries
Red Shedman
Frey’s Brewing
Manor Hill
Peabody Heights
Ruhlman Brewery
Barley & Hops
Mad Science
Brewer’s Alley
Full Tilt
Smoketown Brewing
Ocean City
Monocacy Brewing
Jailbreak Brewing
Antietam Brewery

Live Music
Man About A Horse
Letitia VanSant
Haint Blue
Blue Octane
Ampersand Stringband

Second Annual VT Alumni Beer Fest & Hiking

Second Annual VT Alumni Beer Fest & Hiking

June 26-28, 2015

We headed down mid afternoon Friday to Blacksburg, Virginia in preparation for an early morning before heading to the Beer fest.  The drive down saw some periods of rain, and plenty of traffic.  Seems many are getting a jumpstart on their Independence Day Holiday, lots of RVs and roof packed vehicles.  After a bit of baby uncomfort on the way down, we pulled into town around 8pm.  We grabbed a quick dinner and settled for the night.  Only main disturbances were my disagreeing stomach from something eaten previously, and a over tired little one.

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Heidi taking a break on the Virginia Tech Drillfield.

The next morning, we were up early, the norm now, so grabbed some breakfast and headed to campus.  Decided to throw the ball with Heidi a bit in hopes of tiring her out.  Eli was onto his nap at this point, so we just kept throwing.  There was a dampness in the air, and an occasional sprinkle but not the rain that was forecasted.  After a quick visit to a university bookstore to update our school swag and an additional umbrella, we dropped Heidi off at the hotel and headed to the beer fest.  We met Mark and Virginia in the parking lot and were admitted early.  There were only about twenty breweries there, but a decent mix of locals (Bulls & Bones, Roanoke Rail) and bigger craft names (Sierra Nevada and New Belgium).  We did spot a ShockTop tent and there was plenty of Bud and Miller advertisements.  Only a few food vendors.  One of which was a pizza vendor, we ordered the Jack & Balls, a pizza with all meats and veggies available, topped with meatballs.  It didn’t last long and inspired our partners to grab one for themselves.  The souvenir glass was a shaker pint, and there was plenty of stickers, bottle openers, and other merch up for grabs.  With entry, the bracelet had 15 samples on it.  Some of these pours however went above the 4 oz line (helped slightly by our new free beer coozie covering up part of the glass) resulting in Linda and I having to pass our bracelets on.  Time for another nap.  We met up later at Mellow Mushroom, for yup, more pizza.  The app showed up late, but everything was pretty good.  A little on the pricey side, especially for Blacksburg, but worked none the less.  We were headed for an early night.

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Cool Natty Greene draft handle and excited beer volunteer.

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View of a portion of the beer fest.

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Jack & Balls Pizza

Sunday morning was another early morning and breakfast.  After running some errands around town, we met up with our partners and headed north.  We decided after a few nap time hours on Route 11, we would hit a hike.  The day was beautiful with perfect skies and a nice breeze.  We stopped at the Belfast Trail outside of Natural Bridge.  Parking was minimal, but pulling up on the side of the road is not a concern for the 4Runner.  The trail heads to the Devil’s Marbleyard, which exposes itself after almost a mile and a half of gradual and then more extreme upward slope.  It literally looked as if someone’s dump truck accidentally tipped over or something.  I stayed at the base with Eli as the others explored further.  Seems I’ll have to try this one again based on the pics.  Eli and I played with tree bark, dirt, and leaves after a snack.  The downward trip was much simpler and went smoothly.

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The start of the hike.

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Made it to the top.

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Lots of rocks heading up.

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View from the top.

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Linda and Heidi posing with the Marbleyard.

We decided during the descent that lunch and beer were in order, hopefully together.  Sadly, Devil’s Backbone lodge was a bit out of the way, so we grabbed burgers, shakes, and donuts at Pure Eats in Lexington.  Great little joint and we got to eat outside.  Then we stopped in at Devil’s Backbone Outpost brewery for a flight.  Since we had Heidi, he took advantage of their beer garden, which has a great shaded view of the mountains.  I picked up a couple of bottles of 16 Point IPA for the cellar and this was where we parted ways.  The remainder of the journey proved to be quiet, and we got home in time for buddy’s bed time.

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Fermentation tanks.

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Flights in the beer garden.

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View from the beer garden.

Was a nice little trip, though journeys like this leave me yearning for more.


VT Beer Fest
Holtzman Alumni Center Lawn & Terrace

Devil’s Marbleyard
106 East Washington Street
Lexington, VA 24450

Pure Eats
107 North Main Street
Lexington, VA 24450

Devil’s Backbone Brewery (Outpost)
50 Northwind Lane
Lexington, VA 24450