It was actually rather a miracle that I was able to attend this wonderful proceeding at all; my work schedule changed at the last minute (the beer gods be praised) which allowed me to enjoy this great event!
This week has been quite hot in the afternoons, pushing into the upper echelon of heat in the Land of Enchantment and Saturday was no different. Thankfully, the staff of Il Vicino had us well covered (literally) with two large Biergarten tents alongside several smaller ones for vendors and of course their marvelous patio. Cold water was also readily available, which was a definite need owing to the fact that there were 50 (count ’em!) delicious beers to sample from ’07 onwards.
I began my tasting excursion in the stout section, of course, where I was greeted by four vintages of the much beloved St. Bob’s imperial stout. Drinking imperial stout in the blazing heat of a June afternoon may seem quite, well, insane, but I assure you it is one of life’s great bounties. It was marvelous being able to start with the ’13 and work my way back through ’10 and ’08, and finally, the magnificence which is 2007’s St Bob’s. Each year had vastly different notes, a lithe spectrum of a tad more oak or oatmeal or burly stout goodness, ending with some wonderful bourbon throughout.
There were multiple examples of nearly every style of beer imaginable from hefeweizen to Irish red, from double imperial India pale ales to something called Fruitcake (which was delightful, in fact). Truly, there was a beer for every beer lover’s palate. After settling on a pint of the 2007 St. Bob’s, I retreated to the shadier north side of the building to enjoy the crowd and the quite good tunes from the musical entertainment. The beauty was, whether you wanted just a few samples of maybe four pints of your favorites or a balance of the two, you were covered.
If you were hungry there were plenty of food trucks on site and the overall vibe was just splendid. The taps indoors held a couple of fine gems in addition to the usual fare, including one of my personal favorites and my other full pint for the evening, Fest Bier. This was a marvelous example of a German Märzen-style beer with ample flavor and a wonderfully refreshing finish to boot.
I was joined later in the evening by Mrs. Solo and some good friends and we had a grand time sampling to our heart’s content. I’m going to call Il Vicino’s birthday party my definite favorite beer event of 2014 so far, owing to excellent planning and execution with regards to staffing, organization, and execution. This was an event done damn right and I’ll challenge other beer events to look at this as a model for success.
An enormous thank you to the staff of Il Vicino Canteen, the food trucks, the vendors, and everyone involved in making all of the beer and pulling this off! You have aged very, very well Vicino. May you continue in this vein of success for many, many more!
— Franz and Mrs. Solo