Actually, it’s not much of a question.
In a continued effort to explore the Fort Campbell part of the country before we PCS to a new armyland, I accompanied Jonathan and some friends to downtown Nashville for the 12th annual MAFIAoZA’s Music City Brewer’s Festival last weekend. Nashville is only an hour outside of Fort Campbell, and it’s a city I immediately fell in love with. A walk down Broadway is basically a free country concert, and it’s a tourist mecca for people from every walk of life; whenever I go downtown, I even see enough bros in polos and boat shoes to question if I ever left Northern Virginia.
The festival took place right smack on the cordoned-off Music City Walk of Fame, which is similar to the starred sidewalks on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, except somehow the band Kings of Leon qualified for a Nashville star. The country music industry is a confusing place.
Unless there’s a happy hour special or I’m at a baseball game, beer is usually not my drink of choice. This worked out well for Jonathan, as I agreed to take it easy on the alcohol so I could drive us home. For everybody else, though, there were over 50 breweries with more than 100 different beers to sample, and a gaggle of hotels in walking distance. Luckily the army brews excellent beer drinkers, and our group of soldiers took the high number of vendors as somewhat of a challenge.
Brace yourselves: this is where I beer-vomit some photos featuring a small sample of the breweries in attendance. And there’s an obvious, unfair bias towards breweries that have animals in their logos.
Here’s an overview of my not-really-a-beer-girl-but-I’m-trying festival favorites:
- Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Cider (also currently in my refrigerator, and forever in my heart)
- Rivertown Pumpkin Ale
- Southern Tier Brewing Company Plum Noir
- Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery Belle Meade Bourbon with ginger beer
A perk of having just conquered the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is that the brewer’s festival paid homage to the area’s obsession with whiskey, and I felt like a total authority on sour mash at a few booths.
This means I finally got to sample the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale I’ve heard so much about. Verdict: not my cup of tea. Or my cup of whiskey. Which isn’t surprising, because I’ve already admitted that I’m not that into beer or whiskey. But I have it on real-beer-drinker’s authority that it’s an excellent beer, and I should be ashamed of myself.
And here’s a quick list of Jonathan’s highlights, which reflect the taste of someone who does like beer, but who also had a difficult time recalling some of the night’s finer details:
- BridgePort Brewing Company Hop Czar IPA
- Southern Tier Phin & Matt’s
- SweetWater Georgia Brown
- Batch 19 Pre-Prohibition Style Lager
And here’s Wylie‘s overview:
Two hours into the festival, a few of the guys found the cigar booth, and everybody’s palates were mostly numb. I spent the next two hours weaving through a stumbling crowd, trying to avoid having beer spilled on my dress. (This later proved pointless when Jonathan threw an entire pint of beer directly on my dress and face. In his defense, he was aiming for someone else and he apologized adequately; in not his defense, I have really slow reflexes, and that bra is going to smell like beer until I decide to throw it away.)
The nice part of the evening for designated drivers was watching daytime Nashville turn into nighttime Nashville.
Even sober, the festival was a great way to take advantage of the city’s atmosphere. Until it started to rain. Which, at first, I’ll admit was not a big deal. Drizzling can’t ruin a curly girl’s good time when she had the forethought to wear her hair up. It can ruin her good time, however, when the drizzle turns into a torrential downpour.
The heaviest part of the downpour lasted for something like 45 minutes. Which would have been fine, except 20 minutes into it a very large police officer walked up to the tent under which we were huddled; he informed us that the festival was over and then ordered us, rather angrily, to leave. I did one of those cartoon double takes at him, in which I looked at the cop’s face, looked out at the torrential rain, looked down at my leather purse, and then looked back at his face. Lessons learned: Cops and the Music City Brewer’s Festival don’t give a shit about your leather purse or your shoes after 10:00pm. They also don’t give a shit how cold you are, because you thought a 30% chance of rain didn’t warrant carrying around an umbrella and a sweater all evening, and you should pay for your bad choices. Lessons learned: Bring a shittier purse. And an umbrella. ALWAYS.
Consolation: It was the kind of downpour during which an umbrella isn’t particularly helpful anyway. And I was able to keep our smartphones from being destroyed. Admittedly, though, I’m not thrilled about having paid $60 per ticket for a beer festival at which I ruined some belongings that cost twice that much. The rain and my decision to carry leather were not the festival’s fault, but maybe next year they can employ some police officers who do their jobs with a touch of compassion. Or at least without a scowl, which I can only assume comes from years of yelling at babies and defenseless small animals.*
Lessons learned: Bring a sweater. And a towel. And maybe a space heater.
Bitching complete. I still love you, Nashville. I hope to see you soon. And to take advantage of your Trader Joe’s, which I’ve somehow been living without now for several months.
*This is probably not how police officers are trained in Nashville, but who knows.