RateBeer is a website that was founded back in early 2000 as a forum for beer nerds to talk about, debate and rate beer. Along with Beer Advocate, RateBeer ushered in a new appreciation for craft beer, as their rating system is something that many people go to when checking out or checking for new beers.
RateBeer now has a festival where 30-40 world class breweries pour rare beers, followed by an award show the next day. Very similar to the annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF), I can see Santa Rosa, Ca (Location of festival) becoming the next Denver when it comes to huge beer festivals in America. This year’s festival was everything I expected and more.
Cycle Brewing: Pallet 1 — Barrel Aged Stout with coffee and cinnamon — This beer was crazy good and my third favorite stout of the night.
Cycle Brewing: Christmas Stout — Barrel Aged Stout with Cognac, Bourbon, and Bitters — Tasted like a Manhattan, aroma on this beer was sick.
J. Wakefield: Brush — Stout with Vanilla Beans, Cocoa Nibs, Hazelnut, Marshmallow, and Ancho Chilies — Tasted like the best fudge brownie ever and the best beer of the night for me.
De Garde Brewing and American Solera Brewing: Boysen Premier and Peach Fellowship — Maybe the best sour/wild ales I have had over the past year.
Toppling Goliath & Side Project Brewing
Just remember four things to help you navigate through the night because as fun as these festivals are, they can be overwhelming if taken lightly.