Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest 2018

Discussion in 'US - Midwest' started by Lyke2Drink, Nov 21, 2017.

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  1. mart1058

    mart1058 (55) Jan 1, 2011 Minnesota
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    This will be my first time attending and I'm just a little curious how long the big hitters will last? Do I have to stop at Forager/TG/CW right away?
     
  2. Verbl

    Verbl (273) Feb 7, 2009 Minnesota

    If last year is an indication yes.
     
  3. brewnic

    brewnic (0) Oct 7, 2010 Minnesota
    Trader

    Less than an hour
     
  4. mart1058

    mart1058 (55) Jan 1, 2011 Minnesota
    Trader

    Alright, sounds good thanks!
     
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  5. Eggman20

    Eggman20 (230) Feb 14, 2017 Minnesota

    I'd bet the Forager and Toppling Goliath will go early and possibly first hour. Central Waters will probably last for a while. Ardea is pretty rare beer so it went quick last year but I wouldn't expect that again. Last time they brought Black Gold it was available all night.
     
  6. SudsSavant

    SudsSavant (472) Jan 9, 2007 Minnesota
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    I'm guessing Forager may last longer then people are thinking here. They made it with Nillerzzzzz most of the night at Winterfest. I think between them and Barrel Theory, everyone had the same thought then and bee-lined it over there right away (helped that they were right next to each other) and I believe they didn't start crossing off beers until the last hour.
     
    #126 SudsSavant, Mar 22, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
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  7. brbe6

    brbe6 (0) Nov 26, 2012 Minnesota

    I think you might be underestimating the hype on Nillerzzzz, a lot of people saying its better than Magnus and Forager has only been getting more and more popular but I could be wrong but I expect that and Assassin to go first.
     
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  8. brbe6

    brbe6 (0) Nov 26, 2012 Minnesota

    Forager were also the first(at least one of the first) brewery to run out of beer at last years Autumn Brew Review if I remember correctly.
     
  9. Lyke2Drink

    Lyke2Drink (160) Nov 2, 2009 North Carolina

    PSA to Get Your PSA

    If you are attending tonight's Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest please take five minutes at some point during the evening for the free men's health screening that Pints for Prostates, the Prostate Conditions Education Council and Minnesota Prostate Cancer Coalition are offering. It is a simple blood test that checks your prostate specific antigen level and measures several other common male health issues. The confidential results are mailed directly to you in 7-10 days.

    1. Get Tested
    2. Live Longer
    3. Drink More Beer!
     
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  10. macgroveguy

    macgroveguy (0) Jan 22, 2015 Minnesota

    Here's hoping they include BAC in the results.
     
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  11. Nuts4Barrel-aged

    Nuts4Barrel-aged (257) Dec 14, 2016 Minnesota
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    My wife and I are going for the first time this year. When is a good time to show up? We were thinking maybe 6:30. Also, any other tips/tricks to make the night more enjoyable would be appreciated.
     
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  12. doner24

    doner24 (308) Apr 16, 2013 Minnesota

    Forager is also bringing Maple NillerzZzz per their Facebook.
     
  13. GeneralBurden

    GeneralBurden (0) Oct 14, 2011 Minnesota
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    6:30 works, doors open precisely at 7.
     
  14. eggsurplus

    eggsurplus (309) Nov 30, 2015 Minnesota
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    This year was a fail. Bringing a sixth and being out by 8 pm is crap. Oversold and underdelivered.
     
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  15. Boldbrew

    Boldbrew (0) Jun 26, 2017 Minnesota

    I have to agree. Underwhelming and over crowded.
     
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  16. shoebobs

    shoebobs (0) Feb 23, 2018 Minnesota

    What was with the obnoxious bros in the hockey jerseys slamming samples, then proceeding to ask (and receive) multiple refills? They did so at TG and Forager.

    I guess I was sorta expecting that (as well as the crazies running past me when the doors opened)...but dang. I most definitely won't be going next year.
     
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  17. Nuts4Barrel-aged

    Nuts4Barrel-aged (257) Dec 14, 2016 Minnesota
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    First time fest goer. Lots of great beers but thought it was a rat race. Paid 100 bucks for a ticket thinking I could try some killer beers all in one spot. I achieved that feat by meticulously planning my night. We arrived about 6:15, and the line moved pretty quick to get in. We moved quickly to the TG line and there were 100 people in line in front of us and of course the line grew ridiculously after that. Popped into the Forager line after that and the Maple Nillerzzzz stole the show. We tried some food and all of a sudden everything "rare" about the fest was gone. Then it was 8pm, one hour into the fest and nothing left. King size from Junkyard was fantastic and was arguably the bell of the ball. It lasted nearly until the end and was fantastic. Looking forward, would not do it again for rare beers due to the fact, I would have an equal opportunity to have similar beers at other fests for half the price.
     
  18. Beeryurt

    Beeryurt (0) Mar 8, 2013 Wisconsin

    After 5 years we are not going back, we loved this fest due to lack of crowd and the amazing beer you got to try. Lots of duds this year our group felt and due to not wanting to spend an hour in line never got to try TG or forger. Unless they announce changes for next year it looks like we find something else to go to. Hats off to bent paddle and junkyard being one of the few who figured out the correct amount of beer to bring.
     
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  19. Cibsie

    Cibsie (381) Jan 10, 2015 Minnesota
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    Didn't make it this year, but it sounds like a lot of people missed out on the Forager beers. They really should have done tickets or punch cards for the super rare beers so everyone has a guarantee at them. If it wasn't so expensive, I'd feel different, but $100 and you can't even get a pour of the actual rare beers?
     
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  20. Beeryurt

    Beeryurt (0) Mar 8, 2013 Wisconsin

    sat in the hotel bar afterwards with a couple of people who poured at the fest, they didn’t have much love for the people who ran out of beer or how things ran this year. Anyone ever go to the one in Colorado?
     
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  21. Grave252

    Grave252 (0) Mar 12, 2017 Minnesota
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    Assassin kicked within the first hour as expected. If you didn't get in that line right at entry you had no chance. TG is built on hype, so not surprising.

    My group thought NillerZZZZZ was very underwhelming. Also thought the Fernet BA Darkness was a mess.

    Favorite of the night for me was Firestone Walker Parabajava. Overall it was an ok fest, they've kind of outgrown the space. They need to sell 100-200 less tickets to make it work.
     
  22. Beeryurt

    Beeryurt (0) Mar 8, 2013 Wisconsin

    The fernet darkness tasted like toothpaste was all I wrote in my tasting notes
     
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  23. Otis32

    Otis32 (0) Jan 1, 2011 Minnesota

    Sounds like a good call not going. Did they do a poor job spacing out the high demand beers again and f'ing up the flow for the other booths?
     
  24. Beeryurt

    Beeryurt (0) Mar 8, 2013 Wisconsin

    Same setup as last year, proving they didn’t listen any of the complaints from last year.
     
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  25. secondtoughest

    secondtoughest (0) Oct 27, 2013 Minnesota
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    Lots of breweries ran out of beer around 8pm. Why not bring a not-so-rare backup keg for when the rare stuff kicks? Modest did that with a keg of Dreamyard which was appreciated.

    Also, we went up to get a Dragon Fandango right around 8 and were told it just kicked. The bummer was all the TG employees each had glasses of it filled with boss pours. Glad they got to enjoy it instead of people who paid $100/ticket.

    All that plus the overcrowding means we won’t be going back next year.
     
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  26. maximum12

    maximum12 (1,220) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    We decided not to go this year based on the underwhelming tap list, & the last time we went the overcrowding & layout was a bit much. Sounds like no lessons have been learned; mistakes are understandable, but repeating them is not a good way to fill an expensive event.

    @Lyke2Drink it appears that you're connected to the fest, since all of your posts relate to rare beer events. Care to comment? Is there going to be any analysis of what went wrong/right over the past couple of years?
     
  27. MonDak_Joe1953

    MonDak_Joe1953 (860) Aug 4, 2017 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I went immediately to the third floor, and got into the line for Toppling Goliath and Central Waters. Those in the same line were cordial enough to allow me to get a beer sample or two along the way at other brewers, and still get back into the long line. Past the silent auction tables, the line split - right for Central Waters and left for Toppling Goliath. A sort of alley between the two lines allowed free movement for those wanting to get to Brooklyn Brewery or to Maui Brewing or to the rest rooms. I enjoyed Central Water's 'Black Gold' more than Toppling Goliath's 'Assassin'. After this I sampled some other beers on the third floor. All of this third floor activity took almost an hour of time.
    I then went to the second floor and got into the waiting line for Forager. By the time I got to the front of the line, the 'NillerZZ...' had kicked.
    Next at Dangerous Man I sampled the 'BA RIS', which was very raw and full of Islay Scotch smoke. Two people in front of me also had picked up this beer and were wondering where the smoke was coming from (before tasting the beer, and realizing the smell was from the beer). I saw several other people get this beer, taste it and immediately dump it.
    The line to get to Steel Toe and to Junkyard also was part of a line to get to a food station. I thought this was the most congested area during the evening (also very close to where the three piece band was playing). After going through this line twice I was able to sample both of Steel Toe's beer and both of Junkyard's. I liked the smoke in 'Campfire Dissent', and really liked the full body and taste of 'BA King Size'.
    Another beer with smoke that I liked was Victory's 'Java Cask Coffee Stout'. Dogfish Head's 'Immort Ale' also had some smoke but I didn't grade this one as high.
    Funkwerks 'Dark Prophet' was really tasty and complex (chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, and oak).
    By the time I got to the first floor (8:45 or so), Boston Beer had no beer left.
    My favorite beer was Fair State's 'U-Pick 2017', a sour beer with real depth of experience. The 'BA Stupid Sexy Flanders' as also quite good and to style.
    Other beers that I thought were top notch were Olvalde's 'Strong Sour Golden Honey Ale' and Schell's 'Double Barrel Solar Evolution'.
    I agree that Surly's 'Fernet BA Darkness' was quite a mess, and quickly dumped.
    I went back to the third floor about 9:20, but Firestone Walker had already left the building.
    I neglected to read the program which stated all votes for best brewery had to be in by 9:00, which meant I was not able to cast my ballot. (Based on my notes I would have voted Junkyard 1st, Fair State 2nd, and Steel Toe 3rd.)
    All told I sampled 25 beers, and walked out of the building about 9:45, just as the Wild fans were leaving the hockey game.
     
    #147 MonDak_Joe1953, Mar 25, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  28. mart1058

    mart1058 (55) Jan 1, 2011 Minnesota
    Trader

    I’d rather they just bring enough of the rare stuff to last more than a third of the event, given the name of the fest. They must know what to expect with the number of tickets sold.
     
  29. drunk_gnome

    drunk_gnome (0) Sep 20, 2014 Minnesota

    I must’ve just made it in time for Assassin then. We didn’t get there until 7:30 and got in line that lasted 25 minutes. Missed out on CW and Forager though.

    Overall I wouldn’t do it again. It was just filled with obnoxious assholes slamming every damn thing.
     
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  30. Boldbrew

    Boldbrew (0) Jun 26, 2017 Minnesota

    Was anyone here VIP for the event? I'm wondering how much earlier they were let in.
     
  31. eggsurplus

    eggsurplus (309) Nov 30, 2015 Minnesota
    Trader

    Exactly. This is how it used to be. That meant you didn’t need to rush to get in a line because there really weren’t any. It gave a more chill vibe.

    Bring plenty or don’t come, charge more, less tickets.
     
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  32. gatornation

    gatornation (2,080) Apr 18, 2007 Florida
    Society Trader

    Also skipped this year's event from the underwhelming tap list from the start(have gone last 3 years). Last year was the first time i noticed overcrowding to some degree, but the food and stellar tap list made up for that. From what ive read from the posts about this year's event changes have to be made.
     
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  33. hhughes2008

    hhughes2008 (0) Oct 25, 2016 Minnesota
    Trader

    This was my first year going and I enjoyed it. Had no problem getting to the 5 or 6 beers that were on my must try list. Forager was the 3rd booth I hit and I maybeee waited 10 mins. Prob 20 mins for TG. I think as long as you prioritized, you could easily hit everything you wanted.
     
  34. Beeryurt

    Beeryurt (0) Mar 8, 2013 Wisconsin

    I tasted every beer but those two and to be honest the biggest let down this year in my book was lack of good barrel aged beers. In years past there would be barrel aged beers that blew me away from brewers that had no hype behind them. Like last year I just kept getting pours of patentice from Fulton brewing, or the year before was lift bridge doing verts of their barleywine. Until last year and this one the reason to go was to not have to prioritize and instead relax in a non crowed atmosphere and talk to brewers. I would pay 150 a ticket if the night could go down to only 650 to 700 tickets being sold.
     
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  35. brbe6

    brbe6 (0) Nov 26, 2012 Minnesota

    Might just be me getting older or less tolerant of people but the crowd was noticeably more annoying this year than last even though attendance size didn't increase. Since I had been before I sort of knew how to gameplan and got to try the first 15 out of 23 beers on my list without problem(couldn't drink anymore after that especially with the size of pours I got from Forager,Toppling Goliath and Cental Waters early on) not sure if I will attend again next year will depend on if they move venue and final beer list before I make a final decision.
     
  36. Beeryurt

    Beeryurt (0) Mar 8, 2013 Wisconsin

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  37. Ristaccia

    Ristaccia (0) Nov 21, 2012 Nebraska

    To me there are two problems, which are related. Great brewers bring great beers, in quantities that last about an hour... Assassin, CW XX, Black Gold, Forager anything... then you have brewers bringing year-round brews, shelf-shit that hasn't sold, and really boring brews that have no desire in this sort of environment. Sorry, I'm not paying $100 for year-round Backwoods Bastard (I'll go buy a 4-pack) or 2013 Old Guardian ($6 bomber that was steadily available and still isn't great) or half of the shit Minnesota breweries brought that were mediocre (hi Peat and Repeat) and/or overly-available. Bring Goose back - shit, if they brought any '17 BCBS variant, they beat half of the brewers' offerings. Kick the lazy breweries out and bring in -rare- beers - as advertised. When 80% of your audience is crowding 3 booths for the first 45 minutes of the fest, you fucked up. As organizers, and as brewers.

    Props to Bent Paddle and Schell's for actually bringing good and under-hyped beer, and enough to last.
     
  38. OrionsHunt

    OrionsHunt (347) Jul 17, 2011 Minnesota
    Trader

    As mentioned before, my wife and I had gone to each of the previous Rare Beer Fests and had a great time with the exception of 2017 where I classified it as good. We decided not to go this year and appears to be the right decision. Things we noticed in 2017 seemed to have gotten worse - overcrowding, less interesting beers to try, breweries running out of beer early, longer lines for certain breweries, and a general sense of being rushed where prior events were relaxed. Also noticed in 2017 quite a few more people had early access to the event. We typically got in line early and had view into the first floor each year.

    Not much mention of the food this year, but I thought the food in 2017 was solid.

    We never saw any of the beer bros at this event, so that was interesting to hear. I do know that discounted tickets are sold to this event (believe it was 50% off) and wonder if they had a hard time selling at $100 and needed to do a broader distribution of the discounted tickets to sell out.

    As a few mentioned above, it would be nice to see this event go back to how it started - so that might mean raising the price. Until then, doubtful we will be back.
     
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  39. Eggman20

    Eggman20 (230) Feb 14, 2017 Minnesota

    That was the first year my brother and I went and I'd agree with all of the statements. The last 2 years have been noticeably more crowded so either they didn't sell out in 2015 or they are selling more tickets. Also in 2015 places were bringing multiple offerings. I believe Surly had at least 5-6 different kegs they brought that year so when something kicked another beer was put on. Finding Firestone Walker out of beer before 8:30 was very disappointing but the lack of barrel aged stouts was even more so.

    Like many here I won't be paying $100 to go to this again. I'll always remember 2015 and the 6-8 pours of Black Gold we had! We got 1 pour this year and enjoyed it more than Assassin. Nillerz and King Size were also quite excellent. Bemidji BA Double Porter was a nice surprise as well.
     
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