By Jay Brooks
Monday, May 4th, 2009 at 12:16 pm in On Beer.
The lucky 13th annual Boonville Beer Festival, which over the last decade has grown into one of the best festivals in the area, turned into Boontstock this weekend as several inches of rain poured down on the Anderson Valley. The mud and rain might have doomed a lesser beer festival, but Boonville proved to be made of sterner stuff. I confess I expected the turnout to be lighter this year with the promise of rain all weekend hanging in the air. But by all accounts, this year’s festival was as well-attended as any, with festival-goes showing great ingenuity in their attempts to stay dry.
As always, the festival is sponsored by Anderson Valley Brewing, which is located in the small town of Boonville, roughly two hours north of San Francisco, the last thirty miles or so making Lombard Street look straight by comparison. The Mendocino County Fairgrounds becomes a tent city as thousands invade the town and camp right next door to where the festival takes place.
As promised, the rains came down, especially at the beginning of the festival, dumping a few inches on Saturday.
The brewers stayed mostly dry under tents, animal stalls and wooden stands. Here, David Gatlin, brewmaster, and Ken Allen, owner of Anderson Valley Brewing, the festival’s sponsor, stay relatively dry under a makeshift plastic roof.
So while the brewers stayed dry, everyone else didn’t seem to mind the rain at all.
One of the Bay Area’s newest breweries, Ale Industries in Concord, was also pouring a Wit Lager, which brewmaster Morgan Cox described as essentially a wit beer brewed with lager yeast.
As the rain came and went throughout the afternoon, people figured out unique ways to sample the beer and remain dry, such as these huddled masses, yearning to drink free.
Brian Hunt, from Moonlight Brewing, offers a final toast from Boontstock 2009.