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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Brewsday Tuesday: Sampling FestivALES

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Daniel Reynolds, a brewer at Gordon Biersch in the Warehouse District, at last weekend's FestivALES. - NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • Daniel Reynolds, a brewer at Gordon Biersch in the Warehouse District, at last weekend's FestivALES.

On June 28, I attended Gambit’s FestivALES, a beer crawl which was held in the Warehouse District. (Disclaimer: I received two complimentary tickets from Gambit.) This was the third such beer event Gambit has staged, and I can say the experience has improved significantly with each iteration.

All the bars had dedicated jockey boxes pouring the FestiveALES beer away from the regular bar (with the exception of Barcadia). This means that bartenders could take care of their regular customers without having to deal with hordes of thirsty patrons looking for small sample sizes of beer. It really bogs down service and makes bartenders super-grumpy. I was also glad to see the end of the $1.00 upcharge beer — at the last two events, that was a perplexing bit of business. Three of the four beers would be included on the ticket, and then the fourth you had to pay for. None of that this year, though — good work.

I liked the bars that participated this year — Barcadia, Manning’s and Grand Isle participated last year, and this year’s additions of Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar, Fulton Lanes, Lafayette Pub & Bistro and Gordon Biersch worked out well.

My two suggestions for next year would be: 1) stock some 2XL t-shirts to give away; and 2) late June is a little too late in the summer for a drinking and walking event. It was great that there were several places along the way to get free bottled water, though. And I appreciate that it’s hard to schedule events before summer begins without running into festivals. Even though it was hot, the beer crawl was a lot of fun; I ran into friends that I didn’t know would be there, as well as made some new friends. Drinking, laughing, talking about beer and life in general — that’s what the beer scene is all about.

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