Monday, October 02, 2006

Hurray beer

When we hopped off the bus at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, my heart
sank. The line to get inside Charlotte Oktoberfest snaked down the
Seventh Street side of the stadium and around to the Kings Drive side. My
friend Key, who drove down from Maryland, reminded us that the line was
long last year, but moved quickly. We trudged to the back, and about 45
minutes later we were inside.
Me, Big Sexy, Key, Bubbles, Ant and Q grabbed our glasses and
headed to the middle of the field. Last year, we darted through lines and
tasted as many beers as we could as fast as we could, then finished
with a tour of the brew tents. This year, we started with a tour led by
Carolina Brewmasters club president Todd Bowman. Under his tutelage, we
sampled stouts, ales and pilsners. Our favorites were Duck Rabbit's Milk
Stout, Ommegang's Three Philosophers and Pauwel’s Kwak. Bowman explained
how beer is made and the differences in styles, and he reminded us that good
beer should not be drank ice-cold. It freezes your taste buds. He said to
let beer warm to fully experience all of the flavors.
After the tour, we made a dash for the bathroom and then
grabbed some food. Our only choices were sausages, hotdogs, funnel cakes
and pizza. They need more food vendors. After eating, Big Sexy and Key
were done for the day. Me, Bubbles, Ant and Q hit up some more beer
Memorial Stadium is a new location for the beer festival that
quickly outgrew its home in NoDa when it moved there two years ago.
This is the first year the festival has sold out in advance. People walked
through the line on Saturday looking to buy tickets. Along with the
breweries, there was a game area with table tennis, Cornhole, foosball
and more.
We headed to the stage to watch BabyBlack, who performed Outkast’s
"Ms. Jackson," Ohio Player’s "Love Rollercoaster" and Alien Ant Farm's
version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." They had people up and
dancing. I’d like to see them again. By the time we decided to make our
last rounds of the tents, the crowd started getting rowdy. One group was
yelling “Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!” a soccer chant. (Don’t ask me why.)
Another guy had gotten too playful and threw his beer on his friend.
Another couple of guys shotgunned beers.
I liked that organizers moved to the larger, grassier
Memorial Stadium, and capped attendance at 5,000. It wasn’t too crowded
and there were plenty of areas to sit and rest. But the festival needs
more food vendors and a second entrance.
Did you go to Charlotte Oktoberfest? What did you think about
the new location? About the festival? Post your replies below.


Anonymous said...

The new location is a lot better but like you said, it needs many more food vendors. I didn't like the food choices. They need more exits to the restrooms. I was told there were 2 ways in and 2 ways out but I only saw 1 way upstairs to the restrooms the entire time. We got there early so we didn't have to wait in line. Looking forward to next year and this time I hope they sell more types of food. The beer was great (especially my friend's home brew)! No complaints at all except for the food choice. We had an excellent time.