Today Emily gives us a report on her weekend at the 19th Annual Mountain Brewers Festival:
This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to drive down to Idaho Falls to experience a craft beer extravaganza. June 1st was the 19th Annual Mountain Brewers Festival. Now, beerfests are fun in their own, but this one was a whole new level of anything that I’ve ever experienced. Imagine walking up to lines that are literally 15-20 people wide and 4 blocks long. Now imagine two of those, but the second one is twice is wide. Intense. People are walking up carrying chairs, umbrellas, bags of food, beer (I would say true enthusiasts if it weren’t for the Busch Light in their hands). As it nears 12 when the gates open, the lines continue to grow. Volunteers are walking around with signs telling the 7,000 participants to have their ID’s ready and directing them to the correct line.
Then the gates open and roar of the crowd drowns out any and all other sounds in the area. The lines start moving in and within minutes, we are in beer heaven. There are 135 breweries present, each with anywhere between 2-5 styles of beer. For 5 hours, it is a free for all. Live music playing on one corner of the racetrack, the smell of BBQ, pizza, crawfish and cajun food coming from another. And then there are the two giants tent that cover the breweries and their delicious craft beers. Some brewers are wearing their silver and gold metals from the competition the night before around their neck, others are taking their turns walking around sampling the other beers in their tents.
Every style of beer imaginable was represented. Porters, stouts, IPAs, APA’s, Pales, Blondes, Sours, Casks, Firkin Casks, Belgiums, Wheats, Fruit styes, Cream styles, one offs, year rounds. There was swag everywhere, shirts, hats, sunglasses, stick on tattoos, beads. Every few minutes, for no particular reason, the crowd would break out into cheers and whoops and hollers in almost a baseball wave-like fashion. At some point as you’re waiting to fill your taster cup up with another delicious concoction, you’d see yet another brewery take one of their beautiful kegs off the line and put in under the table. Another one bites the dust.
5 hours later and people are dancing and singing their way to their designated ride, whether it be a cab or a bus, or to sleep it off in their camper, leaving the racetrack in another glorious, successful beerfest shamble. Until next year Mountain Brewers Fest, until next year. Note to self next year, don’t forget the sunscreen.