|May 10, 2008|
May 10, 2008, the 12th annual Boonville Beer Festival was held. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds, with not only more attendees but more breweries, additional areas where the festival is staged and even more vendors or food and gifts. Despite being very near to the middle of nowhere, people travel from all over to Mendocino County to attend the festival and the idiosyncratic town of Boonville swells to more than twice its size. With a population of around 1400, since 2005 over 3,000 have been attending the beer festival.
The Boonville bear, Barkley, greets guests of the Anderson Valley Brewery next to the visitor’s center, where I had a wonderful ESB on cask.
The old-fashioned delivery wagon with the stables behind it.
Many of the brewers arrive Friday night, the afternoon or evening before the festival, to camp at the brewery. I walked around and talked to a number of old friends and brewers, sampling several beers, including a nice Eisbock from Baron Brewing, the first of his Brothers Grimm series. Eventually there will be seven released. It was incredibly smooth considering its strength. Owner Jeff Smiley holds up a bottle of it, with his wife Kate Geiser behind.
The next morning was a beautiful day in Boonville.
A number of people played early rounds of disc golf at the brewery as I ambled over to the fairgrounds around eleven, where the brewers were setting up for the festival’s 1:00 p.m. start.
This year was the 12th beer festival in Boonville and t’s really become one o the “must attend” festivals of the season.
There were 68 breweries pouring their beer this year. (Click on the above graphic to see a larger, more readable version.)
As has become traditionl, the Humboldt Firkin Tappers serenade the crowd as the enter the festival.
And kept playing as the festival-goers streamed in.
For the third year now, the number of brewers has outgrown the original space and an annex for more breweries is to the left of the entrance, with Anderson Valley Brewing out in front.
Next to Barkley, the original Boonville Bear.
As usual, the Rolling Boil Blues Band, was the first band to play, as a few people danced.
Frontman Tom Dalldorf — who also published the Celebrator Beer News — rewrites song lyrics to popular rock and blues songs with a beer theme.
The band’s lineup continually changes with each gig, but is also made up of musicians from the beer industry, such as Rod DeWitt, on drums, who’s with Anderson Valley Brewing.
By 2:00 p.m., the festival was definitely getting much more crowded.
In the original space of the festival, Stumptown set up an elaborate wooden display.
Ken Kelley (at left) and the gang from from North Coast Brewing.
The friendly Ace Cider representative.
Continue on to Part 2