To celebrate being awesome and brewing great beer, 2nd Shift threw a party this past Saturday. The 777th annual Criderfest featured over 50 different breweries from all over the country, fun in the sun, beautiful weather, friends, family and most of all, good beer.
Previously held at their old facility in New Haven, this is the first year that Criderfest was held at their new home on Sublette Ave. in St. Louis, and my first opportunity to check out the new digs. I have to say, I was very impressed. Open and airy, the new tasting room is eye candy for the beer lover. The entire space had a great layout, with a wall of barrels separating the brewing area from the bar. 2nd Shift definitely picked a winner in the new building.
Having spent every free moment I had on Thursday and Friday pouring over the beer list and planning my strategy, I divided everything into categories of “must try,” “hopefully will try,” “should try,” and “as long as my liver is still functioning I’ll give it a whirl.” Armed with my commemorative tasting glass, I waded into a sea of great beers. Here are my highlights of the 2017 Criderfest:
Heavy Riff | Vanilla Coffee Underbrown | 6.5% ABV
Velvet Underbrown might be the most well known and beloved brown ale in St. Louis. Heavy Riff upped the deliciousness factor by adding vanilla and coffee, turning this crown favorite into a superstar. Great coffee flavors and just the right amount of vanilla, all while still letting the base beer shine.
Southern Grist | Guava Upside Down Cake | 7.5% ABV
A double IPA brewed with guava, vanilla beans and lactose, this “milkshake” IPA proves why this new style is so popular. Fruity, sweet, hoppy and dangerously drinkable, this beer shows the creativity brewers possess to create something that defies expectations. Well done.
Pipeworks | Saaz-All | 4.6% ABV
Any beer festival I go to I always make sure to stop by Pipework’s booth and check out their wares. This beer stood out to me as it’s not one of their usually high ABV and IBU beers that they’re generally known for, but just a simple, clean, well made Kolsch that’s dry hopped with Saaz hops. Crisp and refreshing, this really hit the spot.
Rock Bridge | Option No. 2 with Cinnamon Toast Crunch | 9.2% ABV
This was one of the highlights of my Criderfest experience. I love Option No. 2 and the addition of Cinnamon Toast Crunch took this beer to an otherworldly level. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee and cereal flavors meld seamlessly to create a decadent treat. I could drink this for breakfast everyday.
Schwerpunkt | Baron Von Dank Nugs | 11% ABV
As soon as I saw this was going to be available on Saturday I knew I had to try it. This Triple IPA was the definition of a juicy IPA. Ultra smooth with a crazy amount of tropical and citrus flavors, this beer proves that Schwerpunkt is a force to be reckoned with. Keep your eyes on them.
Bell’s | Mango Habanero Oberon | 5.8% ABV
Bell’s took their summer staple beer to the next level with the addition of mango and habanero. Perfectly balanced with mango sweetness up front and habanero heat on the finish, this was truly refreshing.
Urban Chestnut | Urban Underdog | 4.7% ABV
People have been praising this beer ever since it hit the market. My first time being able to try it proved that it deserves all of the accolades it receives. Doing what they do so well, Urban Chestnut took a classic beer style and knocked it out of the park. Clean, crisp and flavorful, this proves that lagers aren’t boring.
Against the Grain | Something Special | 14% ABV
I did not expect Against the Grain to bust this one out. My last beer of Criderfest, this bourbon barrel aged ryewine hit all of the high notes. Great caramel, vanilla and barrel flavors, balanced by nice citrus hop flavors, this was a boozy sipper, but was the perfect ending for a great beer festival. Barleywine is life!
In my opinion, Criderfest 2017 was a smashing success. Gorgeous weather, super short beer lines and so many great beers I had a hard time containing myself. This was a highlight in my year in beer so far. Thanks to 2nd Shift, all of the participating breweries, vendors and volunteers for making this event spectacular.
See below for our video recap as well as some photos of the event.