The day had arrived. Four months ago I had told John I would make it to Boulevardia, and here we were. Just under 1800 miles traveled, and on time. I was excited. We made a huge breakfast, a good nutritional base for the day. I have a couple of festival guidelines (most of which I follow, most of the time): eat as much food as possible, drink as much water as possible, don’t drink beer before the festival (this one usually gets skipped). Water and food were consumed in mass quantities, and we only had one beer.
Boulevardia is a community festival lasting three days. There is music, food, beer, and distilleries. The beer festival is held on Saturday and is a separate ticketed event. It is physically under an overpass on a road/bridge. Think of a sandwiched highway bridge with two roads, one on top the other. We were protected from rain, but it was very narrow. Very narrow. This was the biggest problem of the festival: bottlenecks. You had to push your way through the crowd in order to find different breweries. For us that was an issue, as John had purchased a sweet walker with wheels. We managed.
The list of breweries and beers were impressive. And the vast majority of breweries had representatives as well. Brewers who are the all stars of beer were causally talking to each other. I made it a point to introduce myself to the owner of 2nd Shift, Steve. I had missed his brewery on my first day on the KATY. He and his wife had been out of town; poor timing on my part. We talked for a bit, then he invited me behind the counter to try some other beers. Jack pot! No more lines, no more fighting crowds. I was free to consume as much and as often as I pleased.
I talked on and off to Steve and his wife, Libby, and they shared several of their fantastic beers with me (including one not yet released named after Libby, which was a brett-trois saison). Then I made my rounds. I went back and forth for as long as I could, until the inevitable need to urinate forced me to give up my momentary VIP access.
Post urination, I met up with John and Amanda and we did some more tasting rounds. At beer festivals, I believe it is best to move horizontally through lines. Don’t get in the back of each line; move from the front of one to the front of the next. It takes some skill but is easily accomplished once everyone else is hammered.
There were a lot of amazing beers but a few stood out: Off Color Screw You, Jeremy Danner (Saison in gin barrels); Allagash Midnight Brett; and Russian River Pliny the Elder. Plenty of the beers and breweries brought great product, although some were entirely underwhelming.
Once the festival ended, we went to the main area and listened to some live music. Full pints at the event were cheap and plentiful, so several pints later we realized it was time to get out of there. To home, ordered some pizza, devoured some pizza, and passed out with my clothes on. It was a great beer festival.