|February 7, 2009|
The 9th annual Bistro Double IPA Festival, and the first major event of SF Beer Week, got underway Saturday morning in beautiful downtown Hayward. It was a gorgeous February day, cool, not cold, but with a bright, warming sun. Owners Vic and Cynthia Kralj finally persuaded the city to let them takeover a larger portion of the street for the festival, ironically across the weekly farmer’s market that apparently had no trouble at all getting to use the entire street and has been blocking it off for years. But a couple times a year to bring hundreds of people to Hayward businesses, that would be going too far, I guess. Sheesh, that kind of hypocritical thinking just galls me. But I digress. The additional space was a wonderful addition as it made getting around and navigating to your next beer far less crowded. But even with the extra space, the Bistro was full of people by early afternoon, with somewhere between 25-50% more attendance over last year.
From before the festival began, a dozen of us were sequestered in the dungeon — er, cellar — judging 38 Imperial IPAs.
The nine finalists for the crown.
Festival organizer, and Bistro co-owner, Vic Kralj, surveying his domain, with local brewer (and new father) James Costas, currently at Santa Cruz Aleworks.
This year, the line to purchase a tasting glass and tokens was outside, making the entrance much easier to come and go.
Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo with Melissa Myers, the Bay Area’s best brewer without her own brewery.
With the new festival draft lines the Bistro installed earlier this year, lines were again far more manageable, too.
Once a small, intimate, festival, looking down the outdoor space it looks like a full blown beer festival.
Me with Jeremy Cowan, founder of Shmaltz Brewing, makers of He’Brew Beer and the Coney Island Lagers.
At the far end of the festival, performed belted out tunes throughout the day from a makeshift stage.
Inside was also more open this year, and Vic let us set up a table on the inside stage to promote SF Beer Week. Here’s Craig Cauwels (from Schooner’s) and Sam Calagione (from Dogfish Head) stopping by to see Dave McLean (from Magnolia).
At five o’clock, co-owners Cynthia and Vic Kralj announced the winners of this year’s festival, which you can see at a separate post.
Rodger Davis accepting his Silver medal for his II Max that he brewed at Triple Rock.
Vic, sandwiched by Russian River brewers Guy and Vinnie, with Cynthia on the other side, accepting the People’s Choice Award for Pliny the Younger.