Fresh Hop Alefest Volunteer

Because I’m a member of the OBC, I occasionally have the chance to volunteer at beer festivals. Legally I can’t pour, but someone has to collect the money and give people glasses or t-shirts and generally be pleasant.

For some reason, it’s easier for me to be pleasant to strangers when they’re about to have a pint.

It was a nice day, and the festival took place outside of Hopworks in their parking lot. Now, after standing on concrete for five hours I’m pretty sure anyone would start to get a little grouchy. Especially since everyone else gets to drink beer, and the volunteers don’t as we are working. Well, at least not until the very end.

But my reward was twofold; first, I got to try some of the beers that were leftover. My impressions are not entirely accurate I think, because in some cases the beer had been poured and then stored in growlers. Basically; the beers were a touch old, but I’m not complaining. What’s really unfortunate is that I lost my program sheet, so I don’t remember all the details of the beers I drank, but the internet is good to me sometimes. (The beer I’m sad I missed; Hoptimus Prime)

The Black Flag imperial stout was not as dense as I would have thought, but was still very good. Hopworks’ Fest of Fury was the freshest beer, and was run through a Randall (a setup can be seen to the left) and was also excellent. I also had the Killer Green, and it tasted exactly like marijuana.  It was almost unnerving, because with that kind of similarity I had to ask; is this beer, uh, legal? ‘Cause it’s really tasty.

I was not so impressed with Roots’Hoppapotamus, but I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t like it, or because it was just old. Roots is hit or miss with me, so I’ll have to give it another chance. Fortunately, their brewery is not too far from my domicile so the opportunity is there, I just don’t take advantage as often as I ought to.

The real treat for me though was getting to see Hopworks’ brewery area. Check out this refrigeration unit!

Tap lines going to bar
tap lines going to bar
Long shot of Hopworks refrigerated area
Long shot of refirgerated area

I love this stuff, because it lets me get into all those secret places you wouldn’t find otherwise, and see how they work. Not just brewing either; the roofs and basements of buildings, locked passages that are used for maintence, the metal doors in sidewalks that lead to stairwells or ramps that are used for storage, electronics, or who knows what.  I wonder if volunteering more would get me access to those hidden passages…