(A day late due to traveling, but still have my lingering, happy mood).
Life is good.
I visited my most favorite city and had a lovely, long weekend in Charleston. I made a point to check in with as many friends as I could possibly fit in. As a result of being on the go, I didn’t have much time for listening to loads of new music, but I tried to squeeze in a little, here and there.
A big part of my weekend was a fun beer festival, Brewvival. It was my first one ever, so I had no expectations. I was primarily there to catch up with friends, but if you have been following me for a while, you know that I have to chat with just about everyone at a festival.
Apparently Brewvival is a really big deal that has drawn thousands of people for many years, all in the interest of sampling special batches of craft beer. The mission of the festival is to be “an intimate showcase for fantastic one-offs and rare beers, from across the nation and beyond.”
Brewvival is a joint venture and vision sponsored by COAST Brewing Company and Edmund’s Oast. This was its seventh year and from what I understand it was one of the perfect weather years. I checked the forecast ahead of time and it actually said “Abundant Sunshine”! I knew it was going to be spectacular. I have to admit the tickets were a bit pricey, but all of those specialty brews were purchased outright, so I felt really good about the fact that the breweries would make their cost. I am all about supporting the small guy and the entrepreneur.
As we entered, we were given a wonderful Brewvival 2016 glass for tasting. This lovely little glass is a true collectible and friends have saved theirs from year to year. How cool is that?
As we came upon the giant tent of brews, we were a bit overwhelmed and felt as if we need a little guidance. We immediately came upon pros, or a couple that seemed to know what they were doing.
This is Alyssa and Jack. They stood out among the crowd because of their matching tees, and when I approached them they were carefully checking off their Brewvival card. Their heads were close together and they were in concentration and discussion mode. The card listed all of the beers available. It overwhelmed me a bit, so I interrupted them and consulted them about their impressive ranking system.
Stars and checks and swaps (meaning the brewery was going to bring on a new one when one was empty). It was quite elaborate and thoughtful. Wow! Not only was the creation of the small batch beer a science, but experienced festival goers made it a science to drink and sip, as well.
It was time to start tasting. As we were deciding where to get in line, I stumbled upon another innovative couple.
I wish I snapped a close up pic of their ‘lean to’ seats. They were Schwinn bike seats attached to walking canes.
Have seat, will travel!
How fun is that? Greenville natives, Amy and Jacob came to Charleston Brewvival completely prepared. I wish I had spotted them at the end of the day…..balance is not my strong suit and I wondered how well those stools were working as the day wore on.
If you have never been to a beer festival before, then let me educate you on the pretzel necklace. Apparently this is a ‘thing’ and it helps to clear your palate between brews and honestly, I think it helps to soak up the alcohol of some of those exotic flavors. The pretzel is a nibbling favorite. Sammy was fully prepared!
I think he might be getting his money worth in beer, don’t cha know.
This is when my cute friend, Judy, insisted on capturing a photo of me and Hal at our first Brewvival. We were excited to get in line and let the fun begin.
The best thing about this festival are the incredible flavors of course, but a close runner-up might be meeting and chatting with the people you are standing with in line. Matt and Eric were definitely giving me pointers on the experience. Having fun, right?
It was such a gorgeous spring day, I couldn’t possibly stay huddled under the tent all day. I ventured out and about to find my friends and listen to the bands that were playing. As I was determining the best chair placement, I bumped into Trevor. He was all decked out for Oktoberfest in February! He was especially proud he was donning a traditional Munich Alpine hat and authentic Lederhosen.
Because the festival hours were 12-5, I arrived on the hungry side, and after setting my chair near the music stage, I headed over to the food trucks. This specialty seemed to be the most popular, from Hotlinks Homemade Sausage.
I am a veggie gal, so I had to seek out an option suited to my diet. Thank heaven for Roti Rolls and their yummy veggie option.
So while waiting in the long food line, I had the pleasure of meeting Vivian and her crew Wilton and Adam.
Apparently they have a sweet convenience store, The Hot Spot, in Spartanburg, SC with a special room of craft beers called the Hop Spot! I loved their tees, ‘Beer Geek’ . On October 15th, they are sponsoring another fun beer festival as well….food and music included. Check it out if you are anywhere near Spartanburg, SC.
So as I ate my yummy food, I had to sit a spell and listen to the band playing. They were the Steady Hand String Band. The Charleston band was perfect for the event because they were a talented Americana Bluegrass band and easy on the ears. If I hadn’t been so hungry, it would be square dancing time! Here is their latest tune, “Liza Jane”. Enjoy!
Fortified, I was ready to tackle some more tastes, I spotted a fun couple with a checklist of favorite beers and wondered what they might recommend. Chase and Ashley were really working their way through the list quite strategically with a grading system, A-C, mostly.
Next year, I think I might tie a pen to my pretzel necklace so I can mark my card and remember which beers were the most flavorful, intriguing, or just dog gone good. With my broken hand, I had to abandon the idea of keeping up this year. At Ashley’s recommendation, I did rush over to try Revelry’s Ramblin Rubus. It had a red/pinkish tint and a sweet flavor, so I think it had strawberries involved in the process. I am glad I tried a rare one that also proved to be a good one. I have to admit, some tastes went down much smoother than others. There was one beer that appealed to many, but when some took a sip, their facial expressions changed dramatically. I could kick myself for not capturing those screwed up and twisted faces with my camera.
As I reminisce about my great visit, this song played in my head. It suits my mood perfectly because it is upbeat, but at the same time questions why so much time gets in the way of dear friends. The song is by a band named WIN WIN out of New York. It is a fun one that I have been listening to on repeat and one I think you might enjoy. It definitely reminds me not to wait so long before gathering with friends….but isn’t it also funny that with some friends, it can feel as if no time has passed at all.
WIN WIN-Been So Long
Wow, with so many interesting people and such an incredibly fun event, I have way too much to share in just one post. So, be sure to stay tuned for part two of Brewvival 2016.
Cheers for now, y’all!