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Get Real Belgian Festival 2011

Posted in Food and Drinks on July 11th, 2011

On Saturday night I went with some friends to the evening session of the Get Real Belgian Festival at the Altman Building in New York City. The price was a bit steep compared to other beer festivals I have been to, but there was a discount code for 20% off and many people got last minute tickets with Groupon. I think it was worth the price, because the event was crowded but not oversold. I like the idea of paying extra to have room to breathe, to move through the crowd, and not have to wait on ridiculous lines for everything.

I tasted many of the beers and I think I’m really starting to get the hang of the idea of tasting versus drinking. I definitely poured out more samples at this festival than I had ever done previously, and it’s not because there were more bad beers. The sample glasses were a little bigger than what I was used to (and actually made of glass!) and this often resulted in a larger pour. It wasn’t worth the calories/sobriety/stomachache to drink so much of a beer I didn’t absolutely love.

A lot of craft brewers I’m a fan of were there, like Allagash and Ommegang, as well as beers from home brewers, which I though was a really great opportunity for the brewers and festival goers alike. My favorite beer of the night was the Harbinger Saison from Sixpoint, it was just perfect. I also tasted my first Flanders Red Ale, which was an entirely different gustatory experience, that I don’t know if I will seek out again. But I never thought I would like the hoppier beers and they are growing on me, so who knows?

The festival also included some delicious food from Petite Abeille, great tunes from Lifted Crew and I spent some time perusing the brochures and fliers at the Belgian Tourism table. A beer pilgrimage is definitely on my bucket list.

My friends and I checked out the seminar on pairing beer and chocolate. The presenter was knowledgeable and very interesting, but even though he had a microphone the crowd was talking over him. I’ve got nothing against a little cheer and rowdiness at a beer festival, but why would you do while a class is going on? That’s what the main floor is for, really.

Overall, I had a wonderful time. Get Real is planning an “All American Craft Ale Festival” in September and I am looking forward to another well done event showcasing great beer.

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5 Responses to “Get Real Belgian Festival 2011”

  1. Ceetar Says:

    The Brouwerij Bockor N.V. Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge (the Flanders Red) was my favorite.

    The first one i tried, the Goose Island Pepe Nero was very good too.

    and everything Sixpoint is obviously wonderful. I didn’t try the Saison, but I did try the Buzz that was in the back. A Belgian Pale Ale.

  2. MissCherryPi Says:

    The Buzz was fabulous too!

  3. MissCherryPi Says:

    Also, I meant to write about the Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout. It was way too dark for me to finish my generous pour, but I feel like I could savor a pint over the course of a large meal. It was very strongly flavored.

  4. Ceetar Says:

    Yeah, I find Imperial Stouts, particularly Russian Imperials (is there a difference? hmm) to be very very heavy. Definitely a beer that would be better in a small dose or with a nice heavy meal.

  5. Ebonmuse Says:

    I still haven’t found any stouts or IPAs that I really like, but I did find out that almost any dubbel or tripel is delicious. I especially enjoyed Ommegang’s Abbey Ale and The Bruery’s Trade Winds Tripel.

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