Saturday February 16th brought the 2nd annual Dubuque Beer Festival located in the Mystique Ice Arena. Last year’s event was a huge success and from the looks of crowd yesterday, I would say year 2 was just as successful. Lots of high points from the day as well as some things that I think they can work on overall. Thanks to my brother-in-law Tyler for getting us the tickets!
*Live music makes beer events that much better, and the Lonely Goats did not disappoint playing a nice mix of music that paired well with the overall vibe of the day.
*Food- I think a must at any festival, and one thing that the Dubuque Beerfest did better than Coralville’s BrrrFest is having different meat and cheese vendors dishing out samples but also a restaurant parked in the back serving huge burgers, wings, and more.
*Bent River Brewing – stole the show again. Jalapeño Wheat, Uncommon Stout, Raspberry Wheat, Dry-Hopped Pale Ale, all sampled by me and overall the best beers available. I even asked one of their guys to mix their stout with the raspberry wheat for a 1/2 and 1/2 and they happily obliged to create a beer that was the best thing I tasted all day. These guys are the real deal and I’m looking forward to seeing their products on the shelves in Eastern Iowa.
*Potosi Brewing – I’ve been critical of their beers in the past and haven’t really enjoyed much of what they have offered but yesterday they had everyone of their beers on tap and also brought along their Hopsmith IPA, one of their newest offerings. The aroma of this beer was fantastic, with hops greeting you strongly. A very good brew.
*Grumpy Troll- Always like to try beers from these guys based out of Mt. Horeb, WI. Fun guys to talk with and always some fun beers to try.
THE NOT SO GOOD
*Bottled beer vendors- too much of this. I can go buy bottled beer from many of the vendors in the store, I was hoping to see a bigger selection of brewers bring in fresh kegs for us to try instead of opening bottles and giving us a very small sample.
*More Iowa and Wisconsin breweries – Coralville’s BrrFest had a ton of small Iowa breweries and while Dubuque’s had a few, I was hoping for more. I would have liked to see Madhouse, Worth, 515, Confluence, CIB, etc. coming from Iowa and Ale Asylum, Capital, Central Waters, New Glarus pulled down from Wisky, just didn’t happen.
*Toppling Goliath – they were advertised but were not there. My brother-in-law has yet to try their beers and I was bragging them up pretty good, but for whatever reason, they didn’t show.
Overall a great experience, caping the night off with a trip to Monk’s Cafe for a beer and I am looking forward to year 3 of the Dubuque Beer Festival.