Beervana. The epic Sioux Falls original rare beer festival that was once highlighted by Surly Darkness continues to evolve and impress every year. Despite being set on the same weekend as GABF, the Great American Beer Festival, in Denver, Beervana shines brightly on its own. Once again Monks House of Ale Repute pulled out all of the stops tapping rare beer they have been collecting and securing from their loyal distributors, 70 beers to be exact.
The setup was similar to last year but yet, something was different. You see this year at Beervana three new local breweries made their debut, Take 16, Fernson and WoodGrain. Each brought their own unique beer to serve up to festival goers showing that they too belong in this rare event. In fact, WoodGrains Imperial Milk Stout was even the first keg to empty. Not Deschutes Black Butte XXIV or Abyss 2013 and not even Surly Darkness 2013.
So why does that matter? What does that even mean? It means the local brewery scene is strong and growing stronger every year. Local brewerys are seeing the value of being at the festival and more importantly being there to talk to beer drinkers directly and get them excited for more local beer. It should also be mentioned that Gandy Dancer had many oaked, smoked and special infused beers to share. Wooden Legs Brewing Company brought Outcast Barkeywine and Miner Brewing poured a Pumpkin Cranberry Farmhouse Ale. They were the shiny new local breweries that appeared to get more attention than the Beervana regulars Crow Peak, Brau Brothers, Surly, Grand Teton, Fulton, Indeed and Dark Horse who all had amazing beer. Yes this was Founders first time too but for some reason I was personally drawn to the locals.
We were also introduced to Woody, Woody T. Barrel to be exact. This mobile tavern was piloted by Jordan Miller and is Deschutes Brewings gargantuan wooden keg on a trailer that hops from beer fest to beer fest all across the country. He’s been rolling around for eight years and has been to 25 of the 29 states that they distribute to. Next stop for Woody is Pennsylvania, a new market they just opened up for the brewery then back through Ohio and south to Texas. The best part about Woody was the beer he had on tap, Black Butte XXIV and XXVII, Abyss 2013 and 2014 as well as bottles of Conflux Series #1, Collage. He even had is own music complete with a disco ball. So was I jealous that I missed GABF this year? Not a chance.
Derek Soukup, reporting on Beervana for the SoDak Beer Blog