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May 12, 2012

Boonville Beerfest

B was going to be in Europe for his actual birthday, so we decided on a day to do his birthday celebrations with me, today. We were thinking of some kind of beer tasting, and were going to go visit one of his favorite breweries, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., but then I was looking through their events page, and found the Boonville Beerfest would be taking place on this day. We thought, even better! We'll go to the beerfest and visit the brewery all in one day! It was awesome!

So, we took a road trip, routed through Napa so we could visit some of our favorites from our Napa trip, including the Bouchon Bakery. We finally get to the beerfest, after a three and a half hour drive, mostly on a windy, back woods, road. It was really hot, but at least we had all-we-could-drink, cold beer ready for the taking.

One of our early favorites, was this special brew from the Stone Brewing Co. that isn't available for purchase, and they only had this one, small keg at the beerfest. We went to their booth right after they tapped it, and it was delicious. I don't like IPA's and I don't like the flavor of oak, but this was a truly amazing brew, that I wish I could have again. I love when beers and wines make me rethink my taste preferences. And this beer certainly accomplished that.

We were starting to get hungry, so we wandered around trying to decide on which of the many vendors we wanted to eat at. B decided on the sausage place that had various game sausages, like bison, boar and elk. He got the bison sausage, and it was very plain on the toppings, but very flavorful, and it didn't really need any other toppings.

I decided on the fried pickles, after getting a free taste. Now, I've had fried pickles, and I didn't think I really cared for them. All the ones I've had were sparsely breaded, and not very flavorful, and of course aren't made better by lower-than-average sauces. But the Fabulous Frickle Brothers were doing something different and delicious with their fried pickles. They were heavily breaded with panko, and they served them with a choice of two of their three yogurt-based sauces. They had a spicy Sriracha dip, a ranch dip, and a mole bbq dip to choose from. I picked the ranch and Sriracha, because those were obviously the best ones! The were so perfectly cooked that when you bit into one, the pickle didn't come out and the breading stayed in place. They were so good, I had one order for lunch, and I ordered another on our way out of the beerfest and ate them while walking to the car! I hope I have another chance to try their Frickles, at another event sometime. 

Here was another surprise favorite from the fest, the Black Diamond Brandy Barrel Aged Grand CRU. Now, I have tried to find this in stores ever since the event, but I can only find the bourbon barrel aged, which has a very strong bourbon flavor, which I can't quite stand. Looks like if I want this beer, I have to suck it up, and pay for shipping and order it online.

Here's what I got at the bakery earlier in the day, their chocolate donut. It happened to be the last one they had for the day, and boy was I lucky to get it! It was so perfect, with little chocolate coated, crunchy malt balls on top, and thick, creamy chocolate ganache filling. Ben ate half earlier in the day, and for some reason I waited until I got home, to eat my half. It sat in a cold cooler all day, the bag got soggy, and it stayed crispy, and fresh, like it it just came out of the oven. 

Overall, we had a great time at the Boonville Beerfest, and I think it will become a tradition. We do wine tasting for my birthday, and beer tasting for B's birthday! Everybody wins!

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