Top of the Hops-Lafayette Beer Feltival
The "Top of the Hops-Lafayette Beer Festival" was a huge success as hundreds of craft beer enthusiasts can attest to. A great time was had by all as they wandered from table to table sampling over 120 world-class beers.
A very informative Festival Guide was passed out to each person when they entered the venue, along with a small tasting mug. The guide listed all the great beers available for sampling with tasting notes for each beer. Festival goers then simply sampled the beers they wanted and checked off the beers that they enjoyed. With so many choices the guide really comes in handy when you want to go to one of the fine beer stores in Lafayette to purchase your "new favorite beers".
VIP tickets were available which included a serve-yourself buffet of fine Louisiana staples such as crawfish ettouffe, fried catfish, jambalaya, and small meat pies. A lounge area was available as well as special "VIP beers". The whole VIP area was sponsored by Party Central.
Local food vendors were also set-up to sell food so no one was sampling on an empty stomach. Many people took a break to play some of the games which were set-up near the Nite Town main stage. Great music played in the background as festival goers enjoyed sampling everything from Belgians to Barleywines.
For those that were interested in making their own beer at home, the local homebrew club, The Dead Yeast Society, was available at a booth with some basic equipment and lots of free advice and information. If anyone is interested, check out their website here.
There were so many beers there it was impossible to try them all, but I'm sure a few tried. Taxis were available for those that "almost" succeded in sampling all 120 beers.
Probably the best thing about the event was the chance to learn about some of the great craft beers made in the US and around the world. Samuel Adams put on a very educational "Brew University" with topics ranging from how to taste beer and pair beer and food to how to brew your own beer at home. The Brew-U was one of the most popular parts of the festival and all seats were filled for each class. Brew-U attendees were also treated to a new Samuel Adams glass which you may have seen advertised in magazines and on television.
There was so much going on that I'm sure I've left out something. It was simply impossible not to learn something about craft beer at the event. For those who will only drink their American Light Lagers and think all dark beers are strong and bitter, I hope you can see that there are many many great beers available, and some are being made right here in Acadiana. Look for Parish Brewing Company's line of beers coming out soon, Bayou Teche Brewery's fine LA 31 beer, NOLA's wonderful line of beers, and of course Abita Brewing Company's selection of fine handcrafted beers made in Abita Springs, Louisiana.
Let us hope the inaugural event will become an annual one. Thanks to all those Lafayette craft beer affectionados who showed up, the craft beer scene is alive and well in Acadiana.