Live from Pocono Winter Beerfest 2016

Loyal readers (all 12 of you), I’m reporting live from the front-lines.  That’s right, as I type, I’m here at the Historic Sherman Theater in downtown Stroudsburg, PA, enjoying the live music and fresh brews that are on offer here.  The first act was a solo guitar artist, Adam Jacob.  I paired his able 90s radio-rock covers with a few pours of locally (and I mean locally) homebrewed selections, including a pilsner fermented with Belgian wit-bier yeast and an Imperial walnut stout.  When you homebrew, you can do anything you want, and make the beer YOU want to drink.  Oddly enough, I want to drink it too.  Hats off to Abomination brewing.

A blues band now plays downstairs, amid the mobs and mobs of attendees.  You see, dear readers, I splurged on my ticket, and got the VIP early admission to the event.  It started at 12 noon for me, 1 pm for everyone else.  I was able to have quick chats with the brewers, their reps, and other beer enthusiasts.  Among the “familiar faces” I saw Weyerbacher, Yards, and Long Trail.  To all three I had to compliment them on their product, as I enjoy selling it where I work.  I had a few sips of LT’s SMaSH project (single malt and single hop) that consisted of Pilsner Malt and Galaxy hops.  The result?  A clean, citrusy offering, easily sessionable.  I also had the privilege of trying a fresh glas of their newly released imperial stout- smokey and equally tasty.

It also pleases me to see plenty of people in line for Barley Creek Brewing Co.’s beer, a local here in Stroudsburg.  If you ever drive up to The Crossing Outlet, have lunch at Barley Creek- tasty beer and excellent bar food to accompany it.  I’m currently enjoying my second round of their Belgian Wit.  Spicy, zesty, cloudy, easy to drink and not commit too many typos for this post.

Another highlight goes to Rusty Rail Brewing, in Mifflinburg, PA.  Their Wolf King Warrior (American Stout) is made with cold-brewed coffee.  Very drinkable and smooth.  Lighter body that belies the 8.2% abv.  I’d have more than one sample, but the mass of bodies down on the floor is too much to bear.

This is my first beerfest event, I’ve ever attended, and I’ve got to say, it’s not for me.  While I do like the variety and the small sample size (allowing you to try more than an average flight), the mass of people in this small concert-theater is less than ideal.  Don’t get me started on the cost of a bottle of water here.  Among the beer tables are cigar sellers, smoked meat sellers, baklava, cupcakes, and popcorn.  However, the people I’ve interacted with, from the actual theater staff to the brave souls slinging brew- all friendly and enthusiastic.  But call me crazy- I’d rather visit a brewery or a great beer bar on a slow night, and enjoy the relative serenity of an empty room.

I was tempted to take a gonzo-journalism approach to my experience here, but unlike most journalists out there, I just want to report, and let you decide.  I think anyone that likes good beer should attend an event like this at least once.  If it’s not for you, then more for others, right?

To riff on the words of the most interesting man in the world, “Stay thirsty, my readers.”

This is John, signing off.