The 4th annual Conshohocken Beer Festival returned to A. A. Garthwaite Stadium in Conshohocken on Saturday, October 14th. This yearly event benefits the local Conshohocken Plymouth Whitemarsh Rotary and is managed by MoreThanTheCurve.com.
The Conshohocken Plymouth Whitemarsh Rotary supports local organizations such as the Colonial Neighborhood Council, local libraries, Simon’s Fund, as well as other charities and local students.
Although this was a fantastic event, there was one small drawback that must be mentioned. This event was packed with people. But it’s for a good cause, and the breweries there are all top notch.
People seemed to gravitate to certain breweries more than others anyway, so you could always go fill up at a shorter line, and then head over to the more popular brewery (or one of the breweries with a single tap or single server) – the breweries that had two lines and two people pouring moved twice as fast, obviously.
There are a few other tricks to long lines. The best one was the double fisting of beer samples. This festival didn’t have any official drink glass, instead using disposable plastic cups (completely fine as this is a charity event).
People were grabbing two plain plastic cups a piece and getting double fills, or a fill of each of the two beers offered by each brewer. They would then have more than enough beer to get them through the next line, as well as being able to immediately try two beers right away.
There were also long lines at the restrooms, which did take a while to get through. Not much that can be done about that apart from greatly increasing the number of portable toilets, but again, this is a charity event and I can be a little patient for charity.
Not a day-killer for sure. Just keep that in mind, and don’t wait until the last second to hit that bathroom line.
Those small drawbacks aside, I think this is one hell of a local beer festival. And it is a lot better than other events that have a lot more money behind them, like the Xfinity beer festival series in Philadelphia. Those just feel like a money grab.
This event, on the other hand, benefiting the local community through the Rotary, the location, and even the vendors themselves, it was very enjoyable and giving over that ticket fee didn’t feel so bad. It had a much more personal and local feel.
At other festivals I met a lot of distributors and wholesalers who were pouring the beers they sold, but at this festival, most of the people working were actually from the local breweries, and knew what they were talking about when it came to their beer.
We were told stories about the beers, we tried pre-releases and limited releases you can usually only get by visiting the brewery itself. This festival was especially great for learning about local breweries you’d otherwise never hear of, there were even a few breweries that haven’t even opened their doors yet. Kudos to the organizers for getting them in too!
There were many benefits to this local festival. If you want to try some amazing local beer from some of the best breweries within 200 miles, you should come by next year.
I think I got lucky with the beers the breweries brought that day, because I had so many standouts this time around. I have six in total that I will absolutely have to get again. Not that there weren’t a ton of other fantastic beers – I just know I can’t go profiling 50+ beers here in the post. So without further ado, here are my six favorite finds at the Conshohocken Beer Festival this year:
Trust the Process India Pale Ale
Brewed with American grown Barley & Wheat and creamy British rolled Oats. Hopped in the kettle with Zythos, dry-hopped with Mosaic & Citra, and conditioned on rich Papaya puree. Hazy and smooth, with notes of tropical fruit, blueberry, and a hint of vanilla. –Evil Genius Brewing Company
Brewed with fans of the Philadelphia 76ers in mind, this offering from Evil Genius, at 7.6% ABV, is sure to help soothe the battered soul of a Sixers fan. We’ve had to put up with a lot of heartache, and this IPA, brewed with Galaxy and Amarillo hops, definitely hits the spot.
I’ll have to get to visiting the brewery now, because this beer is a brewery exclusive. I’ll be sure to bring home a growler (or two). I had heard of Evil Genius before, and was very impressed with another beer of theirs, “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Head was in the Box,” a blood-orange IPA. Yes, that’s the name of the beer. I came across it at the Brooklyn Brewery Beer Mansion. A visit is definitely in order at this point.
Hyper Spaceship Lager German-Style Festbier
Created as their Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Pro-Am collaboration beer with homebrewer Rob Knighton, this beer was served during the GABF at the Pro-Am booth, and again at the Conshohocken Beer Festival. And I’m glad I was around to start. Rob Knighton clearly knows his beer, and he teamed up with a stellar local brewery too.
Surprise! It’s Another IPA India Pale Ale
Surprise! I found another IPA I love. Saint Boniface is another brewery that is new to me. It’s got a strong nose, with the floral and earthy hops, citrus throughout. A perfect example of a Northeast India Pale Ale. Smooth drinking, medium bodied and crushable, just look out for that 7.0% ABV.
Wissahickon Brewing Company
Citra DH Opiksu Unfiltered Pale Ale
Unfiltered & unfined pale ale brewed w/ pale malt & hopped w/ Magnum, Citra, & Mosaic. Extra heavy on the Mosaic. Notes of papaya, peach, & ripe pineapple. –Wissahickon Brewing Company
Honestly, I should have first mentioned this one when I was at the King of Prussia Beerfest Royale, they had this beer on tap there as well. Perhaps it was the food and sensory overload at the KOP festival, because when I tried it in Conshohocken, I really got a better sense of just how good it is. Wissahickon Brewing Company is also top on my list of breweries I need to visit VERY soon.
Sterling Pig Brewery
The Snuffler IPA
Easy drinking house IPA with hoppy notes of citrus & tropical fruit. –Sterling Pig Brewery
I never heard of Sterling Pig Brewery before. They just released the canned Snuffler IPA, which hit the shelves on September 21st of this year. It’s incredibly easy drinking, and although the ABV is at 6%, still feels like a sessionable IPA. Brewed with Simcoe, Centennial, Crystal and Citra hops, very bitter and dry with lots of floral hop character. It’s properly balanced out by a biscuit-like malt.
Located in Media, this is another brewery added to my must-visit list.
Levante Brewing Company
South Pacific Hop Cartel Double India Pale Ale
This cloudy double IPA showcases the “New World” flavors and aromas of white grape, lime zest, passionfruit, and gooseberry from a very special blend of Australian and New Zealand hop varieties. –Levante Brewing Company
Releasing well into the festival, near 4:00pm, on a limited basis, I had to make it back to the Levante tent to try out this new double IPA. This was a very interesting IPA, one that has been difficult to forget. Funky and completely unique aroma, an almost velvety mouthfeel, very juicy and full of those South Pacific fruit flavors.
Full list of participating breweries:
- Ten 7 Brewing Co.
- Well Crafted Beer Company
- Sterling Pig Brewery
- Blueprint Brewing Co.
- Levante Brewing Co.
- Vault Brewing
- Locust Lane Craft Brewery
- Tin Lizard Brewing Company
- Wissahickon Brewing Co.
- Tuned Up Brewing Company
- Conshohocken Brewing Company
- Abomination Brewing
- Cape May Brewing Company
- Lacabra Brewing
- Fegley’s Brew Works
- River Horse Brewing Company
- Highway Manor
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
- Clown Shoes Beer
- Brooklyn Brewery
- Double Nickel Brewing Company
- 2SP Brewing Company
- The Bruery
- Stable 12 Brewing Co.
- Troegs Independent Brewing
- Yards Brewing Company
- Bullfrog Brewery
- Kurant Hand Crafted Cider
- SlyFox Beer
- Cigar City Brewing
- Victory Brewing Company
- Odd Logic Brewing Company
- Lagunitas Brewing Company
- Old Forge Brewing Company
- Perennial Artisan Ales
- Flying Fish Brewing Co.
- Captain Lawrence Brewing
- Stoudts Brewing Company
- Almanac Beer Company
- Evil Genius Beer Company
- Twin Lakes Brewing Co.
- Alesmith Brewing Company
- Lexington Brewing Company
- Fordham & Dominion Brewing
- Ballast Point
- Neshaminy Creek
- Root Down Brewing Co.
- Blake’s Hard Cider Co.
- Sierra Nevada
- St. Boniface
- Saint Benjamin Brewing Company
What to Eat?
I came ready to eat, being that I forgot to grab some lunch on the way out. The festival had started at 1:00 pm, and by about 2:00pm, I just had to stop for some sustenance.
There was a bunch of food available, from snacks like nuts, pretzels, and jerky, to bigger meals like brick oven pizzas and hamburgers. We ended up stopping at the tent for Coyote Crossing.
Winners of the 2017 Best of Conshohocken for the Best Outdoor Dining category, the restaurant was on hand at the festival selling burritos and other Mexican fare.
Five dollars and about 60 seconds later, burrito wrapper in hand… I had devoured the entire thing. I don’t even have a photo. I just went into a trance and inhaled it. It was either the best burrito I’ve ever had, or I was really hungry, or a little bit of both.
If you happen to be in Conshohocken and are looking for some South-of-the-Border charm, be sure to check out Coyote Crossing.