As if there was any doubt that I was going to have a good time, as we were waiting for the gates to open there were a few gentlemen dressed in their Colonial best acting as sentries and helping directing cars. This pleased me to no end. Everyone got their little sampling glass and the four hour free for all had begun. The event was held right along the Delaware River in a heavily wooded area of the park, not what I had imagined but it ended up being a great location. The breweries were set up in a long line of tables with food carts, tables, and plenty of water stations throughout the rest of the event area. Of course there was the obligatory porta-potty compound at the far end that got progressively more crowded as the day went on. I was glad to see the band set up on a stage totally separate from the rest of the tents and what not, they were a little more than background noise. The whole layout of the event really made for a great day, everything was so spread out and lines never got to be unbearable. There was plenty of space for everyone to hang out if they weren't getting more beer, I was worried it was going to be handled like the Yardley Beer Fest under one large and inconvenient tent. They really seemed to be very well organized and knew what they were doing with an event of this size and I say kudos to everyone who put it together.
As I've said before, the list of breweries represented at this festival was really impressive. It's a testament to the Philadelphia area that a first-time-out festival like this was one was able to get such a variety of breweries. Sure you had your usual suspects and local favorites but there were some breweries like BrewDog, Firestone Walker, Dark Horse and Cigar City that aren't always represented at these smaller events. Luckily with a distributor like Bella Vista, this is changing and won't be as uncommon as it may be now. There was one brewery that I missed out on trying, East Coast Beer Company. One of the region's newest breweries coming out of Point Pleasant, New Jersey wasn't set up right away and once they were a huge line formed to try this new brewery's Beach Haus Classic American Pilsner. I just didn't feel like spending that much time waiting around for 2 oz. of it and I'm sure it'll find it's way into my glass at some point in the near future.
There weren't too many beers being served that I hadn't had before but that doesn't detract from what was available. I got to share some of my favorites with others who hadn't ever had them and got to give some other beers another shot. I was also able to check off Nebraska on my Red, White, & Brew page with Nebraska Brewing Company's EOS Wheat, a hefeweizen I would love to try again. Things always get a bit blurry towards the end of these things and your tastebuds end up working overtime trying to sift through all the different beers.
All in all this was a pretty successful beer fest, one that Bucks County is lucky to have and will hopefully stick around for years to come. The crowd seemed to be relatively idiot-free as well with the short, stout, and slurring Rangers fan who was a little too enthusiastic over the sight of a dark beer in some folks' glasses. There's always gotta be that guy.
If you're in the area and missed out on this, make sure you get your tickets early next year!