The Not So Big BIG Beer Fest, part two of the Thirsty Monk’s Thirsty Fest, attracted fans of strong tastes to Mill Room on May 28 for a night to remember. With some of the country’s top breweries lining the left wall, participants carried a taster glass and two-sided list of beers, checking off conquests and jotting down comments as they worked their way through the praiseworthy selections.
21st Amendment, Allagash, Anderson Valley, Bells, Birra Moretti, Blowing Rock, Blue Mountain, Brewery Huyghe, Dogfish Head, Duck Rabbit, Founders, Great Divide, Heavy Seas, Het Anker, Left Hand, Mother Earth, Ommegang, Smuttynose, Stone, Unknown, Victory and Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery were represented with many of the beers featured on the event’s advertisements and literature living up to or surpassing the hype.
The Dogfish Head 2010 Burton Baton double IPA, Founders Boilermaker bourbon barrel-aged English pale ale, Mother Earth Silent Night 2012 imperial stout, Smuttynose Hugs n’ Rainbows Whiskey barrel-aged sour and Stone 2014 Old Guardian barley wine all stood out, as did the Silverback Stout from Charlotte’s Unknown Brewing Co., perhaps the evening’s best discovery.
Though it was a bit of a downer not to see the Thirsty Monk’s new Thompson Street brewery space, the event’s not-quite-ready original site, a job well done to Thirsty Monk owner Barry Bialik and vice president Chall Gray for finding a fantastic back-up space on such short notice. Thanks to a solid crowd size that never felt overwhelming and an impressive array of beers, outside of special dinners and the Just Brew It Homebrew Festival, Thirsty Fest Part Deux may have been the week’s standout event.