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Sunday, October 08, 2006

World Beer Festival Brings Great Beer to Durham

Yesterday thousands of beer fans in Durham, N.C., turned out for two sessions of the World Beer Festival (WBF). In its 11th year, this event is held in Durham each Fall and now has a Raleigh counterpart in the Spring.

Daniel and Julie Bradford, who are the couple behind All About Beer magazine, do a great job running the WBF with the help of fesitval coordinator Natalie Miller and a corps of volunteers. Beer fans in this part of North Carolina are lucky to have a festival of this quality in their backyard. More than 150 breweries, along with bands and great food all came together at the historic Durham Athletic Park, the old home of the Durham Bulls.

I was able to spend a good part of the first session roaming around with an old friend and neighbor from my days in Camillus, N.Y., Andy Kocon, and trying some of the great beers that had been gathered for the WBF. Being October, I tried a variety of pumpkin ales (check out this week's Tuesday Tasting), and several other interesting beers. Among the old favorites were Chimay, Mardesous 8 and Duvel from Belgium, Maudite from Quebec, Samichlaus (in a 3 liter bottle!) from Austria and Foothills Total Eclipse Stout, Allagash White and Avery The Reverend Belgian Quadruppel Ale from the good old U.S.A.

I had a taste of beers for the first time and was quite impressed. Azalea Coast's Navigator Larger German Doppelbach is a great brew with plenty of character, while Kuhnhenn Brewery's Penetration Porter is a great example of the brewer's art.

More from the festival later, including notes from my Weird Beers of the Festival presentation and the chance to be interviewed by Anthony Caporale of the ArtoftheDrink.com for a podcast from the fest.

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