I am very happy to report that the Haandbryggeriet festival last weekend was a success – and it looked to me that this applied to everyone involved.
Some parts of the concept seemed to work particularly well:
- Getting to meet the brewers. For most of the dozen breweries attending, there were you actually got to meet several people actually involved in the brewing process and in developing the brands. We are talking small-scale enterprises here, meaning you get intelligent conversations, getting to sample various editions of the same brew etc. I think there were the precisely right people to guide the visitors to try beers that were challenging, but not necessarily extreme while also having something for the hardcore geeks.
- Having the event in the brewery was also a good choice. While it is 15 or 20 minutes by foot from downtown Drammen, they were still able to draw a crowd from near and far. Having the festival within an operating brewery environment added a dimension that would have been absent in a congress centre or in a hotel function room.
- Diversity – geographically and by style. Breweries from England, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway plus bottled stuff from across the pond. Cask session ales. Festival one offs like the Nøgne Ø Oaked Sunturnbrew. Flemish red ales. Barrel aged imperial stouts. Most important: Breweries with splendid beers.
- Having the breweries present their beers meant you got a proper pour and presentation. Preferable to both enthusiastic CAMRA lads (no offense intended!) and blondes with dirdls (did I really mean that?)
- Good no-nonsense food – the artisanal sausages I had were splendid value for money.
What do I want next year? More seating and some nice t-shirts, nothing more than that, really.
I’ll get back to you about some of the beers I enjoyed.