We arrived at 9 p.m., two hours into Saturday night's festivities. My fiance and I gladly grabbed our tiny glasses and sampled about 15 of the 250 beers at the festival. We avoided beers we've tried before and booths with ridiculously long lines - which, unfortunately, prevented us from sampling what Birmingham's Good People Brewing Co. had to offer. (I'd love to hear what other people thought about it, though.) And, since we came to the festival hungry, we wasted little time getting over to the food tents.
With that said, I am prepared to name my picks for the best food and beer from this year's Magic City Brewfest.
The J. Clyde's fried green tomatoes beat out tough competition from the other food vendors, but ultimately won me over with a semi-spicy breading and thinly-sliced, fresh tomato. I'm usually not a fan of tomatoes, but will definitely eat these again soon.
And now for the beer. Keep in mind that I came nowhere near sampling everything the festival had to offer, but of the 15 or so I was able to get my hands on, this one suited my taste perfectly. Blue Moon's Honey Moon Summer Ale was by far my favorite. The beer from Golden, Colo. is brewed in small batches and available only May through August. It's made with orange peel and Madhava clover honey, melted at low temperatures to preserve flavor and nutrients absent from most commercial honeys. Blue Moon delivers on its promise for a dry taste with a sweet finish. It's easy to see why this beer took away gold medals at both the 2006 and 2007 Great American Beer Festival.
Blue Moon, a brewing company that's been around since 1995, also offers spring, winter and pumpkin ales, in addition to its Belgian White wheat ale. You can visit their brewery online at www.bluemoonbrewingcompany.com.