Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Bern Beer Festival

Yesterday we hopped in the car with our friends Danny and Nicole, for an adventure to New Bern, North Carolina for a fun day of beer sampling.  We bought our tickets ahead of time online through the Beer Army web site, and actually received a $5 extra discount for registering our e-mail address with Beer Army. So, tickets that would have cost $50 at the door, actually only cost us $35 when we paid online.

After driving up to New Bern, we walked the short half-mile walk across the bridge to the convention center where the Brew Fest was being held. Here is the neat view from the bridge.

When we got there, there was a line forming outside for people awaiting the building's 5:00 opening. Some people had made pretzel necklaces to snack on in between beer tastings, which I thought was a pretty cool idea. If we ever go again, I will definitely be making one of those to bring along!

The beer festival contributed a portion of their proceeds toward building a Museum of the Marine in Jacksonville, which I thought was pretty interesting!

We talked to the guys that help run the Museum of the Marine fundraising, and it sounds like it will be a pretty neat museum to learn more about the history, traditions, and future of the USMC. Dustin liked that you can buy brick stones with your name that would then be put in the path to the museum. They are $150 each, but it would be kind of neat to leave a mark after being stationed at Lejeune for his first duty station. Here is Dustin posing with some of the old Marine uniforms.

The beer fest kind of reminded me of a bridal show, probably because both are held in big convention centers with lots of crowded booths. We each received souvenir glasses and were off to try our 2 oz. samples of 100+ craft beers.


I started out trying some funky-sounding beers, but after a few gross ones (blueberry, yuk!) I decided to just try ones that were similar to something I have liked before. A few of my favorites from the day were the Natty Greene's Brewing Company and their Wildflower Witbier. It reminded me a lot of Blue Moon, but a little bit sweeter. I hat my first experience with hard cider and loved it! The Vermont Hard Cider Company had a booth set up with their Woodchuck Cider. The Granny Smith Apple was very tart and delicious, and they also made a neat layered drink called the Black Velvet, where it is a layer of cider, topped with a layer of Guinness beer. My absolute favorite of the night was the Gold Ale by Heavy Seas Beer out of Baltimore, MD. It was light and easy to drink, and since they were a pirate themed beer, they gave out free eye patches as well!


I think Nicole and I went for quality over quantity, but they guys seemed to go the opposite route, if you catch my drift. Our night ended with some late night sandwiches at a nearby restaurant, hailing a cab back to the hotel, and generally trying to avoid someone getting hit by a car late at night.

This morning we woke up, had some quick continental breakfast at the hotel (where I discovered some super-delicious cherry amaretto creamer), and headed back to Jacksonville. Dustin has three final exams and an 8-page paper to finish today since it is the last day of the semester, so I foresee that I will spend the rest of the day catching up on laundry and working on some stuff for school!


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