Sunday, April 22, 2012

Clarksville festival-goers enjoy 'beer 101'

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — A small crowd gathered around the gates of Brewfest at 6 p.m. Friday, ready to try a sampling of more than 80 beers, all served in Clarksville.

Brewfest is a new event at the Rivers & Spires Festival. The idea was to showcase beers for those that love craft, connoisseur-type varieties, said Patrick Turner, a representative of Ajax Distributing Co., one of the event’s organizers.

“This is kind of a Beer 101 to people who are really trying to get into the craft and business,” he said. “There’s many different styles, and what we’re trying to do is explain to the consumer about the beer and how to taste beer to really learn how to romance the beers.”

Kent Taylor, a co-owner of Nashville-based Blackstone Brewery, gave a quick lesson to those who stopped by his tent. He offered four types of beer to please the palate and teach the drinker how to taste his or her brew.

“When you’re sampling beers, remember that you want to go from the lightest in flavor to the strongest in flavor,” he said. “Color is not necessarily an indicator.”

Taylor said there are three things you want to notice when drinking the beer.

“You notice what happens at the beginning – the aroma that you get – and what happens at the very front of your tongue,” he said. “The second is how it lays on your tongue, that’s the body or the mouth feel. The third thing is how it finishes. The bittering taste buds are on the very back of the tongue. So you have to swallow the beer in order to notice that. That’s how beer is judged in the competition.”

The event has a limited number of tickets, but some may still be available. They can be purchased in advance online at Tickets are $20 each day, and guests, who will receive a commemorative beer mug, are required to show an ID at the gate. Brewfest will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

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