AC Beer Festival: Of Malts and Mustaches

First, I’ve gotta give a huge shoutout to Yelp for being my number one benefactor since I’ve moved to Philadelphia. From Yelp Elite events to gifting me tickets that they raffled off for the Philly Geek Awards to introducing me to new friends, Yelp Philadelphia (and Michelle, specifically, my lovely community manager) has just welcomed  me with open arms. And, since all I do is win (win win, no matter what), I won a pair of tickets to the AC Beer Festival from my beloved Yelp.

Upon my winning, I did what any social media maven would’ve done. I decided to see if I could upgrade this (already incredible) experience. I bragged about what a great beer drinker I was on the festival’s facebook page and, shortly before my Friday Festival trip, was informed that I’d be able to do some judging during the festival. Beer AND judging things?

Heaven.

I scampered up the AC Expressway with a friend of mine, a beer festival newbie, touting how much fun we were going to have. Oh, and reminding him that he’d need to find something to do with his time while I judged. I grabbed the tickets and was shuttled over to my station.

Let's do this thing.

Let’s do this thing.

We were given SUPER strict rules. We couldn’t leave our station at all during the judging. We couldn’t wear lipstick (not so much a problem for me and my bearded cohorts, but good to know), we couldn’t know which beers we were tasting (only the styles), and we couldn’t have non-judges into the judging area.

So much judgment.

Serious business.

Though they had us slated to do 5 categories, it was obvious after the first two we’d be cutting it close on timing, so we cut off after 3. Luckily for me, since I was not accustomed to having beers brought to ME during a festival, and 30 tiny tastings add up fast.

The categories I got to taste were American and Canadian Lagers, Amber Ales, and NJ brewed (my favorite, two coffee stouts, DELISH!)

Don't let the grin fool you, I was pretty harsh.

Don’t let the grin fool you, I was pretty harsh.

After a bit of phone confusion, I found my buddy. Only something was missing….. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. And then I looked down.

Real men wear kilts?

Real men wear kilts?

When I’d left him, he was wearing trousers. And somewhere in that hour and a half, he’d traded in for a utilikilt.

I have no understanding of men’s fashion, so I’m sure he knew what he was doing. I was ready, however, for some beers.

Like this one:

WINTER IS COMING!!

WINTER IS COMING!!

I’d been itching to check this beer in on Untappd since I’d heard it was coming out. And, while it wasn’t my favorite (never been too partial to blonde ales), it very much got my hyped up. And before you knew it, I was armed and ready for the rest of beer fest.

Yup, that's a harpoon. And yes, they made me give it back shortly after this.

Yup, that’s a harpoon. And yes, they made me give it back shortly after this.

I’ll admit, I’d been a little spoiled by my last beer festival.  You know, just a little something called the Great American Beer Festival. So when I got to Atlantic City’s Convention Center, I was overwhelmed. Maybe it was the prevalence of semi-nude promo girls (sorry, no pictures of them. Felt too creepy.). Maybe it was the smaller scale with a chaotic vibe. Maybe it was that there seemed to be no organization to the booths (GABF was organized by region. And it was AMAZING.) Luckily, there was one thing that was NOT lacking in AC.

BEARDIES!!

BEARDIES!!

AC’s Beer Festival was jam-packed with men rocking some incredible beards and even MORE fantastic mustaches. In fact, the Garden State Beard and Mustache Society seemed to be a major sponsor (I love that that’s a real society.) We had a blast. I enjoyed the HELL out of Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron Randallized through coconut. Basically, falling in true love with the DFH pourers, generally speaking. And, after prancing about, listening to some weird music, drinking all the beers, and taking a cab back to Ocean City, it was quick to sleep.  Luckily, I had quite the treat waiting in the morning….

Brown's Donuts

Brown’s Donuts

I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to wake up than the dreamiest of all foods I know.

AC Beer Fest, you’re A-okay with me. I hope to see you next year.

 

 

 

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