Music City Brewers’ Festival

So, I attended the Music City Brewers’ Festival yesterday. I had a great time, of course, since, well, there was beer. But, let me tell you, folks. This event has a long way to go. Not to be all “in CALIFORNIA…”, but .. this event pales in comparison Booneville Beer Festival I went to in California. There wasn’t a single brewer there that wasn’t top-notch, and there wasn’t a single beer I tasted that wasn’t phenomenal. Here, not so much. But first, the good: There were the token local brewers — Yazoo, Big River, Blackstone, etc. — who were good as always. They didn’t have much new debuting, though, that I saw. Just their regular stuff on tap. I tried a dutch lager from All Seasons that was pretty good. The standout beer for me was the Appalachian Pale Ale from the Smoky Mountain Brewery. It was delicious, and also ice cold, which may be influencing my opinion of it.

Here’s what needs to happen for the Music City Brewers’ Festival to become awesome:

First, the logistics need to improve. The online ticket purchasing system they are using seems as if it was designed with technology dating roughly to 1995. When I went to print my ticket, it said it had “already been printed” (how would they know?) or transferred away, so I had to spend 20 minutes on hold before contacting someone who could reset it. Then there are the lines. I had to stand in line for 45 minutes in the hot sun just to get in. Not cool. I’m not sure what would improve that — maybe a better (larger) location. There were a lot of people packed into a relatively small park. A new location might also help with the last logistical problem: no shade. This is Nashville, y’all. It gets hot here. You have that many people out drinking beer, you need more shade. When I was in Booneville, I was drinking my beer in the shade of a small grove of redwoods while a stiff, dry breeze blew. Well, we don’t have that. At least put up more tents or something. Lastly, the emergency/first-aid staff didn’t seem to have a very visible presence. At a beerfest — particular one in the middle of July in the hot sun — someone is inevitably going to overdo it. Some poor guy was sitting on the steps puking his guts out and then just sat there with his head in his hands for over two hours, and no one helped him. I even tried to find a first-aid station or something, and couldn’t find anyone. I told some security guard who pretended he was getting up to tell someone long enough to placate me and then when I looked back he had sat down.

Second, ditch the lame vendors. Smirnoff Ice had a tent. Jack Daniels had a tent with their wine cooler things. I mean, come on. Seriously. I’m sorry, I thought this was a brewers’ festival. Malt liquor doesn’t count. Eliminate the lame commercial vendors and work on recruiting more local or regional microbreweries to fill the gap. If I wanted to drink Smirnoff Ice, I’d .. uh.. I’m sorry, my brain is incapable of completing this thought exercise.

So yeah, it was a good time. It was worth the money. It could use some improvements.

2 Comments so far

  1. introverted one (unregistered) on July 30th, 2007 @ 9:12 am

    Smirnoff Ice was there? They must have been in the empty booths that I saw. Apparently, my brain, like yours, was incapable of seeing non-brew related booths.

    I don’t have the cash to go to California so my brewer festival experience is limited to the Brewgrass Festival in Asheville, NC. It’s still my fave. Want to go to Asheville September 22? =)

  2. Kate O' (unregistered) on July 30th, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

    Can’t believe they didn’t have a visible first aid presence. That was one of the thoughts that did cross my mind on Saturday while gardening in the heat — “oh yeah,” I thought, “people are at the beer fest thing, and they’re going to be drinking WAY too much in part because of this heat. Sure hope they have the facilities to deal with alcohol poisoning and such.”

    And then I thought, “hey, it’s hot out here. I could really use a beer.”

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