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Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Bars, wine, beer, cocktails, drunken escapades

Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:29 am

Yeah, that was a blast.
Managed to pull the long haul -- queued up to get in and closed the place down. Was thankful there were more water stations this year.

Athena wrote:I don't know how the fest worked previously but I would not want it to be any smaller as there were still areas that were stuffed full of people in various lines.


Your observation is astute. The only places where it was really overcrowded were where multiple lines were smooshing together. But here's the thing about the lines: They were self-perpetuating hold-ups. Don't wait in line. Just walk up to a server and ask for a beer. The problem with the lines is they come to a point at the end of a table. So there's 2-3 servers but the line is only really being served by one of them, as they can't all cram themselves over to one side. This leaves lots of empty space and 1-2 servers who are eager to serve. Also, people dawdle. If everyone queued up, got served, and kept moving, there'd be no problem. But they don't -- they stop and sip and chat and shmooze, so the line doesn't move much. Which is fine, mind you -- talking to the brewers/servers/cheesemakers is part of what makes an event like this fun -- but it makes a single-file line a poor means of providing fast service.

I and my group did what we've done the past two years as well. Split up, grab a beer and some cheese, then regroup somewhere off to the side to sip and chit-chat. I'm already looking forward to next year.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby jman111 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:21 pm

Athena wrote:Well, that sure was fun. Although the correct answer to my earlier question about cabs is to call 2 days in advance, not 2 hours.

Sorry about that- this wasn't an issue in the past (at least for me). Last year I did the Sheraton deal, so there was no wait for the Sheraton van. As I said, two years ago we called only an hour in advance and still made it. Looks like the event with the vibe of a "nice little tasting event" is suffering (or, at least, changing) due to its growing popularity. Clearly, the additional space was needed this year to accomodate the increase in ticket sales. Live and learn, right?
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby jjoyce » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:59 pm

We doubled the space this year, which meant double the bathrooms (a HUGE priority), essentially the same number of vendors and an increase of about 50% tickets. There was much more room to move this year and while some of the lines were longer (Rush River was long and stayed long all day), people I talked to thought that helped with consumption levels.

We lost a couple cheese vendors last year due to the frat party atmosphere that occurred in the last half hour or so. That wasn't the case this year. I stood at the door as the place shut down reminding people they had to "drink it or dump it" and encountered zero attitude.

First year was an unknown. Last year we had to turn people away and the popularity of the event was startling. This year was a smoother operation all the way around. And the best part is that the brewers and cheese makers now know the vibe of the crowd and plan for it. Next year should be PERFECT.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:29 pm

jjoyce wrote:double the bathrooms (a HUGE priority)

Hooray! And again, nice job with the rinsing/drinking stations too.

jjoyce wrote:...some of the lines were longer (Rush River was long and stayed long all day)

And deservedly so. I kept circling back to them all day waiting for the Double Bubble to get tapped. They were also one of the last vendors still serving down to the wire.

jjoyce wrote:And the best part is that the brewers and cheese makers now know the vibe of the crowd and plan for it.

Advice to cheesemakers (for blessed are thee): Sell your cheese!

I would have taken home another block or two if there'd been more to be bought. I'd tell you the name of the vendors who had tasty but unpurchasable cheese, but I've already forgotten. Because that's what happens to me when I drink beer all afternoon. I can tell you the names of all the vendors I did purchase from -- Edelweiss, Nordic, Cedar Grove, Forgotten Valley -- but if I did forget, I could just check the label. I know, I shoulda taken notes... but they shoulda sold me cheese!
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby Athena » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:24 am

I did not mind the lines for the beer. If the next beer I wanted had a particularly long line then I got a different beer and drank that while I waited in line. Double the bathrooms was great, there wasn't any line there. Having Ian's pizza there definitely helped to have some more substantial food. I also can't remember the cheeses I liked but if I go again then I'll try to concentrate more on the cheese and actually write down what was good. I didn't want to hold up the line by trying to buy any.

Speaking of not remembering much, does anyone know what the hoppy beer from Capitol was? It was one of my last ones and they had run out of the beer I wanted, but Kirby recommended their hoppy beer but I don't recall him saying what it was.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby O.J. » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:43 am

Athena wrote:Speaking of not remembering much, does anyone know what the hoppy beer from Capitol was? It was one of my last ones and they had run out of the beer I wanted, but Kirby recommended their hoppy beer but I don't recall him saying what it was.


Hop Cream?

Excellent Fest, as usual. I got the VIP tickets this year, which was a nice addition. An extra hour with absolutely no lines was almost worth the extra cost itself, but then add in the pound of bacon I ate from Neuske's, free pizza from Ian's and the fantastic sea salt caramels from Gail Ambrosius, and I'll be certain to purchase those tickets again next year.

I absolutely loved both the Tandoori Masala and Garam Masala cheeses from Harmony, but apparently need to beg some of the stores that carry their product to bring it in, since it's not available, yet.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby jjoyce » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:32 am

O.J. wrote:apparently need to beg some of the stores that carry their product to bring it in, since it's not available, yet.


That's part of the point of direct contact between the cheese makers and cheese lovers; you're now supposed to ask for what you like from the stores where you shop.

Same goes for beers. I think some of the brewers have increased their presence in Madison liquor stores due in part to their experiences at various festivals around the area.

And it wouldn't hurt if you mentioned that you tried it at the Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest ;)
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:47 pm

I liked that Pearl Street was doing timed tappings a la Great Taste (even though I didn't know about it and missed out on the Bedwetter Barleywine as a result). More brewers should do that.

Having the Banzo cart there was much appreciated by me, if not by all. One dude walked by, said he had no idea what any of those things on the menu were, except hummus. "And I ain't eating hummus." Some really nice falafel and panko-breaded cheese curds, a Fest menu special.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby Marvell » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:20 pm

TheBookPolice wrote: One dude walked by, said he had no idea what any of those things on the menu were, except hummus. "And I ain't eating hummus."


Maybe he's Slovakian.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:49 pm

Marvell wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote: One dude walked by, said he had no idea what any of those things on the menu were, except hummus. "And I ain't eating hummus."

Maybe he's Slovakian.

No, he was moving pretty fast.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby Athena » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:24 am

O.J. wrote:
Athena wrote:Speaking of not remembering much, does anyone know what the hoppy beer from Capitol was? It was one of my last ones and they had run out of the beer I wanted, but Kirby recommended their hoppy beer but I don't recall him saying what it was.


Hop Cream?


Thanks! That must have been it. It was really good, nicely hoppy without being bitter.

Before the fest I did look at the offerings and I thought the exclusive tastings for the VIP ticket holders would take a lot of the fun out of it for those of us who can't afford that, but after I went I didn't think the VIP thing would have been worth it for me. The only beer I really missed was the Saison from Hinterland. And an extra hour would have only meant leaving an hour early for me since I just can't drink that much.
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby SlideSF » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:49 pm

.Russian River Pliny the Younger
.Bockor Cuvee de Jacobins Rouge
.Lost Abbey Cable Car Kriek
.North Coast Old Stock Cellar Reserve
.Maui Brewing Coconut Porter
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby TheBookPolice » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:10 pm

Looking for this, Slide?
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby SlideSF » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:11 pm

Oops! Yeah, that's the thread I thought I posted in :oops:
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Re: Isthmus Beer N Cheese Fest- 2012

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:41 am

This'll do. Envious of your Pliny access. I've got friends in San Francisco who were able to attend the release party for the Younger this year, too.
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