All Things Beer 510: Review Of RateBeer Best Beer Festival 2017

craft beer allthingsbeer review ratebeer fest 2017

Best beer festival I’ve ever attended, by far.

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.

Here are my favorite beers from RateBeer Best Beer Fest 2017.

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.

IPA’s still rule the world

Monkish Brewing, Tree House Brewing and Great Notion BrewingThese three breweries served my favorite IPA’s of the night. Their lines were long, and the hype is real.

Longest lines of the night

Toppling Goliath & Side Project Brewing

Some general advice for attending beer festivals

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.

  • Eat a good meal before festival: You don’t want to eat like it’s Thanksgiving, but make sure you put something in your stomach before the epic tastings.
  • Drink plenty of water during event: Make sure to stay hydrated or you will hate yourself that next morning. 75-80 ounces of beer may be consumed, and water will make everything easier.
  • Do your beer homework: Gameplan for the event. Know who and what is pouring and take notes on what is high priority for you.
  • Try everything: Unless it is a festival for a specific style, cleanse the palate with something different. Don’t drink 20 coffee stouts, because sooner or later they will all taste the same. Switch it up and try new beers that you may not be inclined to buy from your local bottle shop.
Check out my YouTube review of the festival.

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I'm a craft beer nerd who lives in Oakland, California. My YouTube channel, All Things Beer 510, is growing fast, bringing a different look and flavor to craft beer reviews. You should follow along, because no style is untouched, and I hold nothing back. Cheers!

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