This week we asked our resident sipster Zak to recap his whirlwind tour up the east coast with bar boss Derrick to the Extreme Beer Fest. In between sampling the literal truckload of beers they brought, he sent us over the below.
Last weekend, we drove up to pour some of our heady brews at the 2014 Extreme Beer Fest in Boston, MA hosted by Beer Advocate and Dogfish Head. Talk about extreme–the average ABV of the beers there was 9%!
There were beers from all over the country and styles that ranged from the lightest of session ales (0.3% ABV to be exact) to the most tart of sours to even a porter made with a smoked pig head (eyes and all) tossed in the boil. A truly one of a kind experience.
When we got the invite to pour our tasty brews at Extreme Beer Fest, we were faced with a slight challenge. Our beer is not distributed in Massachusetts (yet) and the shipping cost was astronomical to get all our beer up there. Solution…we’ll take it ourselves and make it into a road trip deemed Tour de Funk! Both [SweetWater Bar Boss] Derrick and myself hopped in our tie-dye van and began the long journey to Boston.
We didn’t want to drive 18 hours straight and show up to the fest beat tired from the epic drive. Instead, we armed ourselves with a video camera, multiple cities to stop in and a goal to spread as much SweetWater love as possible. The end result – Many a hand kissed, many a baby shaken and enough hangovers to kill an average man.
Stopping in Charlotte and Richmond the first day, we got a grasp of life on the road driving through an ice storm and learning that the van’s headlights are cocked about 45 degrees to the right. Not sure what happened to this thing before we got in it, but multiple Bonnaroo’s and countless beer fests are most likely the culprit.
We spent the day in Richmond visiting all kinds of bars, restaurants and specialty beer stores hanging with the people that we love most, the ones drinking our beer! From Richmond we went out to Washington DC, said hey to Mr. Obama and started hitting the local beer spots in Arlington and Alexandria, VA as well as DC proper to show some love.
We always thought folks in Atlanta were number one at drinking our tasty brews, but those Virginia and DC folks may give us a run for our money. Fantastic beer selections everywhere we went, 420 stickers everywhere and the people were all very easy on the eyes. Can’t wait to go back!
From DC, it was time to make the long trip to Boston. We drove through Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey then took our boat of a van through the middle of NYC–talk about white knuckle driving! Also, no one gave us a heads up on how many tolls there are in these states, and no toll operator would do a trade for beer. Unbelievable! After flying through Connecticut on CT-15, we finally made it to our destination, BAAASTAN!
The city itself was gorgeous and the location of the beer fest couldn’t have been better. Right on the water (inside of course) for the perfect Boston feel. There were three total sessions, all of which were sold out, so we knew we had a lot beers to pour ahead of us. The venue space was huge and filled with brewers from all over. With a line wrapped around the building, you could feel the excitement in the air.
All three sessions were a blast! Tons of beer geeks cruising from booth to booth trying the weirdest of the weird and checking off bucket list beers they thought they would never try. Every brewery involved were to only bring beers that are not readily available in the market, 1 offs and the most strange creations they could come up with.
We came equipped with Red Hot Momma, 2012 Festive Ale, 2013 Happy Ending and our coveted 16th anniversary brew. Needless to say, we poured lots of beer. It was amazing to see how much love we received from folks that had never heard of us as well as gleaming smiles from those who had left the south for jobs up north, missing their favorite local brewery, and discovering that we were there, ready to serve.
After all three sessions over two days were finally complete, Derrick and myself hopped back in the tie-dye van and began our long journey back home. With our livers quite punished we B-lined it back to Atlanta to the thing we love most, a big pint of Atlanta’s finest craft brew. Looking forward to the next one and can’t wait to see all you Bostonians again at next year’s Extreme Beer Fest.