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Great Taste Special Releases

Bars, wine, beer, cocktails, drunken escapades

Great Taste Special Releases

Postby gargantua » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:19 pm

I've taken to avoiding these. In addition to being time-consuming, the "reward" has sometimes been not worth it. I'm wondering how other Great Taste of the Midwest attendees feel about it.

This year, I happened to be at Three Floyd's a few minutes before they were to release something. At first, I wondered why all these people were standing around, a few feet away from some Three Floyd's goodness. So I walked up and was immediately served a Dreadnaught IPA. Then I asked a fellow patron holding an empty glass why they weren't drinking, and he told me they were waiting for the 3 o'clock release of a new beer. So I walked back up and sampled a different hoppy, also awesome, beer. Savored that one. Grabbed another Dreadnaught before release time. Got a sample of the new release just as I finished the Dreadnaught.

It was a nice beer, but not as good as the beers I got to sample with no fuss and no waiting while this whole mass of humanity .....waited.

So I think I will go to special releases from now on....and drink the brewer's other offerings without having to wait in line.
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby wallrock » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:02 pm

For the past three or four years I've spent the time sitting in line before the GT began making notes of which special tappings I'd like to hit up. I'll plot out the different locations and times and put together a little itinerary. Then every year once inside I promptly forgot all about them and just perused the tents at random.

I've also gone with a group of friends every year and in the interest of maintaining some type of group cohesion we go to the same spots together. If one of the group wants to hit up one specific place we do so but it takes some time to corral everybody together. That puts a damper on the "Oh shit it's 3:15 I've got to get over to Central Waters right now" rushing about. Plus long lines tend to get vetoed. I think the longest line that we deemed acceptable was Short's and it didn't take more than five minutes to get my Bloody Beer. Any of the brewers with really long lines (Three Floyds, Goose Island, Bell's, etc.) were just skipped and we went to the nearest booth with a shorter one.
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby john_titor » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:11 pm

Someone I happened to be talking to stated he wanted to get the killer zombie at three, so I walked over with him and got one after waiting a few minutes. They ran out after around 20 minutes. It was delicious as were all the meads they had (surprising to me). I didn't bother with any other of the specials.

On a related note, after six or seven festivals, I am still not sure how one gets the "secret" pours I have read about.
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby wallrock » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:20 pm

john_titor wrote:On a related note, after six or seven festivals, I am still not sure how one gets the "secret" pours I have read about.

You just ask if they've got anything unlisted going. This works if they're not slammed and especially if one of the brewmasters is working the taps. I don't usually bother unless I've tried most or all of the offerings on the list, because frankly the special pours can be hit or miss and I feel bad declining when the description isn't up my alley.
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby gargantua » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:54 pm

wallrock wrote:For the past three or four years I've spent the time sitting in line before the GT began making notes of which special tappings I'd like to hit up. I'll plot out the different locations and times and put together a little itinerary. Then every year once inside I promptly forgot all about them and just perused the tents at random.


That's another point I'd intended to make in the original post and forgot. My companions and I always try to put together a "battle plan" before the event. It survives for maybe, I don't know, like an hour or so? I wonder if I could get a million dollar federal grant to study how long it takes for people's plans to fall apart, how many drinks it took, etc.

But then I would have to find someone to remain sober to do the actual work. Maybe I could with a million on the line. Maybe.
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby Goober McTuber » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:37 pm

I laid out a plan to taste about a dozen Pale Ales, IPAs and Double IPAs, and I actually followed through on it pretty well. Of course, I don’t have any friends so I mostly drank alone, and it was easy to keep with the itinerary. The Dreadnaught was one of the best I tried, along with Tank Monkeys from Minneapolis Town Hall. Haymarket Pub had a decent 2xIPA. There were only a couple that got poured on the ground.

Bell’s is a longtime favorite. I got to Bell’s a little before 4, and the following good-natured exchange took place:

Me: You guys are really good at this (sucking up for a nice big pour).
Bell’s guy: Thanks.
Me: I’d like to try the Hopslam.
Bell’s guy: We’re out of Hopslam.
Me: Maybe you guys aren’t that good at this.
Bell’s guy: You want to try the Wedding Ale?
Me: How about some Two-hearted?
Bell’s guy: We’re out of Two-hearted.
Me: Maybe you guys really suck at this.
Bell’s guy: Haha. You want to try the Wedding Ale?
Me: Sure. (I tasted it).
Bell’s guy: How do you like it?
Me: Makes me want to get married all over again. (I was being nice. About the beer, I mean.)
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:10 pm

Re: secret pours--

1) Make friends with an organizer
2) Get text message
3) Drink!

Or keep your ear to the ground. Once I got tipped off to the secret Charlotte pour at Brugge, I passed the intel along to someone who I heard talking about that booth. Bizarrely, I ran into him an hour and a half later, and he said it was the best beer he'd had so far. Camaraderie!

My Taste guru told me to skip the special pours unless it's something you really, really, really, really want to try. I basically stuck to that, except there was no line at all for a couple of Surly's special pours, and the Dark Lord line at Three Floyds (the 3:30 line mentioned in the OP) was kind of an amusing jockfest and I wanted to see what the hubbub was all about for that one. (It was pretty good, but not earth-shattering.)
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby gargantua » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:21 pm

Dark Lord! That was it! I was really disappointed in it......thought it was too sweet. To be fair, I didn't have a chance to cleanse my palate after the Dreadnaught, so that probably affected my perception somewhat.

I really liked the Tank Monkey and Haymarket 2xIPA as well. I was told by someone who'd been there that Haymarket usually has lots of IPA's and pale ales on tap, so I plan to stop in the next time I'm in Chicago.
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Re: Great Taste Special Releases

Postby kweetech » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:16 am

with over 800 beers..who needs special pours?
I generally avoid them..unless I happen to be in the area, its something I want, and the line is short.
This year, rather than trying to hit so many beers, we stuck to a lot of out of area breweries..and sampled all their beers.
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