Who says great beer doesn’t come in cans? Canfest 2013 marked the 5th year of this craft beer festival highlighting the aluminum package and featured a new venue. The Peppermill in Reno was the host, bringing Canfest out of downtown and into a much larger facility. Here are a few highlights of the evening.
Canfest 2013 was a little different from the years passed. The VIP hour kicked off before general admission and I was shocked at the line to enter the event. The line snaked down hallways, around corners and past lounges as beer lovers showed up in numbers not typically seen for VIP entry. Once inside, it was even more apparent as half of the ballroom was dedicated to VIP seating and amenities. Those amenities include buffet tables loaded with food, the highlight being a brisket station where fresh cuts of meat were piled high and to order. Also drawing attention were the dessert bars and tucked away in the corner, a full open bar just for VIPs.
On the main floor breweries lined the wall and the VIP room divider. Many of the breweries readily identified with canned beer were on hand (21st Amendment, Oskar Blues, Sun King) as well as some of the larger craft breweries who have ventured into the new package (New Belgium, Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams). Beer geeks would be excited to see RateBeer’s 2013 Best IPA in the World Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point was available as well as a large selection of smaller breweries from all around the country. My personal favorite came from a new brewery out of Bend, The Good Life. Their Sweet As Pacific Ale was a bright and hoppy session ale with big floral notes and little bitterness.
Entertainment was easy to find at Canfest as there were numerous activities around the event. A DJ kicked off the evening mixing popular dance tracks but gave way to Keyser Soze, a ska/rocksteady band that injected a lively party vibe into the crowd. A silent disco featured a DJ spinning music that could only be heard on designated headsets while beer pong, monkey bikes and a photo booth filled out the options for those needing more than just a tasty beer.
When the evening was over, the spotlight was still on the beer. The casino floor at the Peppermill was buzzing about the event with the conversations over favorite beers a common topic at the tables.
Canfest continues to grow with each year and improve the event as a whole. New breweries, new features and more entertainment are always on the horizon for one festival that is worth the time and travel to attend. I look forward to Canfest 2014 and another trip to Reno.
A big “Thank You” to Connie Aguilar for coordinating the event, Peppermill Reno for hosting the event and to all the breweries who participated in making this a great time.
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