One of the premiere beer festivals in St. Louis, Microfest was held this past Friday and Saturday in Forest Park. Not only could you sample over 600 beers from 125 different breweries, but there was live music, food, a silent auction and fun for the whole family. Proceeds from the fest go to Lift For Life Gym, which provides a positive alternative to drugs, violence and gangs for inner-city youth. It’s always a good feeling to be able to drink great beer and help others in the community at the same time.
The VIP ticket gets you a bigger tasting glass, access to exclusive beers not available to the general admission, and a BBQ meal. The bigger tasting glass is nice at home, but samples are still just 2 ounce pours so you don’t get more of each beer. There were roughly 30-40 beers exclusively available in the VIP tent which I would say this is its greatest benefit. The food choices were pretty good: rib tips, chicken wings, and The Brown – ham and turkey sandwich smothered in gravy. They also had a TV set up in the back of a SUV with Kentucky Derby on so all of your senses were stimulated.
When I first entered the tent right after the event started (1pm), it was packed. The food line was long and it took quite a bit of time to get a sample of anything. After trying a couple beers, I went into the main tasting area for about two hours. I went back to the tent to get some food and it had opened up a lot. No waiting for many of the beers and food line went quickly. For next year, I’d definitely say to go to the main area first and wait for the VIP tent to clear out on its own.
Another cool thing about Microfest is the inclusion of homebrewers. At Saturday’s session, the Garage Brewers Society and the STL Hops Homebrew club were well represented. This goes to show that just because they don’t brew on a professional scale doesn’t mean they can’t churn out tasty brews.
Since there were so many great Missouri breweries in attendance, I chose to focus on keeping it local, as I knew that this might be the only chance I’d get to sample their wares. So, with all of that said, let’s set the scene: the weather was gorgeous, spirits were light, and the beer was flowing freely. Here’s my list of top tummy ticklers:
Missouri Beer Company’s English Dark Mild (3.8% ABV, 16 IBU) – Perfect example of the style. A malt lover’s dream, this beer had notes of toffee, caramel and a nice toastiness. Keep an eye on these guys.
Main and Mill Thin Mint Stout (5.8% ABV, 60 IBU) – Basically, liquid Girl Scout cookies. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer so appropriately named. Outstanding.
Griesedieck Brothers Dry-Hopped Mild Pale Ale (5.0% ABV, 37 IBU) – This beer was a great example of the importance of balance. A great caramel malt base gave way to a crisp hop finish at the end. Griesedieck Brothers really don’t get the respect they deserve. Make sure you check out their new facility in North St. Louis, hopefully opening soon.
Exit Six TBFIE (7.1% ABV, 68 IBU) – If you like juicy IPA’s, this is the beer for you. The color and flavor of this beer had me thinking they had swapped my beer for orange juice. Dangerously easy drinking.
Uinta Lime Pilsner (5.3% ABV, ? IBU) – In the past few weeks, I’ve had at least five people tell me how great this beer is. When I saw it was available at Microfest, I knew I had to sample it. Another great example of balance. The pilsner base beer was easily detectable, with the perfect amount of lime. Delicious and refreshing. This beer will be my new best friend in the upcoming St. Louis summer.
St. Nicholas Soill IPA (7.2% ABV, ? IBU) – This beer was deliciously dank. Tons of resinous hops, with pineapple and mango flavors leaping out of the glass. Very impressive IPA from this small Southern Illinois brewery.
Modern Brewery Green Goliath (9.0% ABV, 90 IBU) – Since Citrapolis is one of my favorite IPA’s, I knew I had to give Green Goliath a shot. Hopped with Mosaic, Galaxy and Simcoe, this beast was luscious, fruity, well balanced and a hop lovers dream.
Heavy Riff Instant Crush – Great saison! I recently discovered apricot beer at the Ferguson Beer festival. It’s more subtle than a citrus fruit in your beer. Makes it a lot smoother of a drink
Urban Chestnut Underdog – Has Urban Chestnut ever gone wrong? I always like seeing more lagers in the craft beer scene.
Boulevard Tequila Barrel Lime Gose – I had to get this the day after Cinco de Mayo! Sweet and refreshing. There was just a hint of tequila for those that don’t do well with it.
Blue Point Summer Ale – If you’re going to be outside doing any yard work this summer, I suggest you have a couple of these ready to cool you down. It was crisp with a little bit of tartness.
Overall, the festival was well run and well organized. There was really no wait for beers and the crowd seemed happy to be outside, enjoying the sun and some well deserved beers, in light of recent events. So, let’s all raise a glass to Microfest and all of the organizers, sponsors, volunteers and the great breweries that attended this years event.