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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

World Beer Festival is No Bull for Brew Fans in Durham

The World Beer Festival in Durham took place on Saturday and was another huge success for an annual event that has become one of the "must do" festivals in the southeast.

I was one of the beer writers at the event making a presentation in the All About Beer tent, along with Gregg Glaser, Julie Johnson Bradford, Lew Bryson and Jay Brooks. "Malt Maven or Hop Head. Which are You?" was my topic. As part of the session we tasted Samuel Adams Octoberfest and Deschuttes Big Butte Porter on the malty side, New Holland Mad Hatter IPA and Avery Hog Heaven (104 IBUs!) on the hoppy side, and Maudite from Quebec to give session attendees a feel for the influence of yeast on a beer's flavor profile.

There were a number of very interesting beers at the festival this year. Jay Brooks, who traveled back from England just in time for the festival, brought along some Pliny the Elder from California for his tasting. This award winning beer has a unique flavor profile that has more than a hint of spruce or juniper in the finish. Southhampton Public House had a delicious Belgian Double White Ale at its station. Highland Brewing's Imperial Black Mocha Stout was a thunderstorm of flavor. Aspall Organic Cider was a crisp and bright change of pace from the beer.

One of the big news items coming out of the event is that a third location for the World Beer Festival will be added next year when Columbia, S.C., hosts the event on Jan. 24th. Be sure to get your tickets early, because this is one festival that always sells out in advance.

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