Will work for beer

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It’s been relaxing, thirst-quenching and easier these last couple of years where beer fest attendance is concerned, being a regular beer drinker and attending fests like normal people and all. After working so many festivals, the first one we attended as regular Joes seemed downright strange. I felt like I should be helping.

DSC03567This weekend, I got the chance to do just that as Kyle and I ventured to Papillion, Nebraska to volunteer at The Great Nebraska Beer Festival, organized by my new friends at Nebraska Brewing Company. This was the first of hopefully many, with all of Nebraska’s brewers present, as well as the frothy wares from a few out-of-staters.

Hey, Matt--I met your buddy Zac. That's him in the foreground to the left.

Hey, Matt--I met your buddy Zac. That's him in the foreground to the left.

It was small, but well-rounded and fun, thanks to the partnering with Sarpy Arts’ Arts Alive. There were artists of all kinds on hand, from musicians to potters to blacksmiths. Beautiful scenes, sounds and smells.

As long as I’m mentioning smells, I should mention what I did. In addition to pouring for Modern Monks, Kyle and I helped Brother Don shred a pig. (actually Don talked more than shredded–he’d been up smoking all night and his lovely wife joined us on this chore) Ahh, smoked pig! On one hand, I’d rather not deal with food on my day off, but on the other hand, I was in good company and soaked in hickory-licious piggy aromas.

This fest highlighted breweries with which I’m largely unfamiliar, so was exciting for its new opportunities. While there were a lot of good beers on-hand, Tallgrass‘s Buffalo Sweat Cream Stout may have been my favorite (new) beer of the day. I was glad to have another go at Upstream’s Blue Mystic Saison as well as Lucky Bucket’s Pre-Prohibition Lager. And a moron I am, as I never quite made it over to check out New Belgium’s Hoptober.

I’m looking forward to this one again next year. The beers were tasty, but the vibe really created a good experience. Pulling in the art element made it a family friendly event, and I wished I’d brought along Michelle and the boys. You didn’t have to have a purchase a ticket to enter the festival area, and many folks were milling about the arists’ booths sans beer. Those that chose to imbibe could simply get a wristband and sip away.

Good times. Good times. Brewvana, even.

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