The first Grande Biere Festival is in the books and while I enjoyed my time drinking my way through as many of the 110 beers on offer as I could, I couldn’t help but notice how sparse the crowd seemed. I can’t speak for Sunday’s attendance, but I was drinking all day Saturday and was a little disappointed with the crowd. Well, that’s not entirely true. It was perfect for the drinker, like me, who hates massive festival crowds. If I’m spending most of my time fighting off the crowd and waiting in line then I’m not having fun, but I actually started to feel bad for the venders. Maybe I’m used to the bigger fests in the States, and maybe it was expected since it was the first year for Grande Biere, but I know there are more beer geeks in Japan than the amount of people that attended. Oh well, it was still a bunch of fun overall. My favorite beer of the day had to be Kinsachi’s Imperial Stout (though Gotenba Kogen’s Schwarz was fantastic, also). Kinsachi really seems to have improved their quality as the last offering of theirs I had was mediocre at best. I was also happy to try out many breweries I’d never been able to get hands on up to this point. Breweries like Atsugi, Kamikaze, Michinoku Fukushima, to name a few. The surprise of the event, for me, occurred while speaking with the Brewmaster of Miyoshi Becken, who had some very nice German style brews available. He told me that the base for many of his beers were American home brew recipes. A bit shocking? I guess that just shows how far home brewing has progressed over the years.
I hope they did well enough to hold this again next year as this event hold a lot of potential.