Durham, N.C. — The old Durham Bulls Athletic Park was a hive of activity as World Beer Fest Durham revved up to open.
In the Art of Beer Village at the Brewing Equipment Pavilion, Doug Jones and Darren Jones of Newlands (NSI) put the finishing touches on a mini-brewery model, with a brewery tutorial by All About Beer editor Julie Johnson. The model included four main components to show the basic steps of mashing, separating/sparging, boiling and cooling.
Homebrewer demonstrations began with Haw River Farmhouse Ales and drew quite a bit of attention. The presentation tent offered an introduction to beer ingredients by Daniel Bradford, publisher of All About Beer, and a tutorial from Master Cicerone Pat Fahey on what the off-flavors in a beer can mean.
Daniel Gridley of Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro explained the finer points of farming for brews, as used by the Beer Fest Brew. Gridley had an impressive display of hops, barley malts, wheat and even milo (grain sorghum), which is used for gluten-free brews.
At the food and beer pairing tent was a popular duet of Mattie B’s Lone Ranger appetizer with Aviator’s super-hopped Hogwild IPA brew. The two offset one another, with the assertive IPA cutting through the rich, cheesy and smoky flavors of the dish.
2013 World Beer Festival Durham In the aisles, Bull City Burger and Brewery had Pigmeat Markham Smoked Rye on tap among others. It was aptly named with a plateful of flavors: smoke, bready grain, ham and fruit. B Nektar drew from their uniquely crafted meads, such as Black Fang, which immediately brought to mind mulling spices, oranges and blackberries.
Fullsteam’s Head Brewer Chris Davis led a presentation in the stands of Mother Earth Brewery’s Czech-style Mamma’s Little Yella Pils with utter clarity, Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA, Hefe (unfiltered) Weissbier from Bavarian State Weihenstephan Brewery, known as the oldest functioning brewery in the world, and Weyerbacher’s complex Imperial Stout.
Sierra Nevada’s wet hops Northern Hemisphere Harvest Ale had fresh flavor and the Narwhal Imperial Stout was impeccable. Chocolate, espresso, and caramel gave big malt primary notes. But according to their representative Carmen, the distinctive balance was “from the freshness of the hops, which keeps it from being too sweet.”
There was one Lambic, a strawberry dessert-style Lambic from Belgium’s Timmerman Brewery. Ice-cold and very fruity on a late summery day, it was a fitting end to a multifaceted menu of beer edification.