Spirit of 77 has a mix of good and bad qualities as a bar and as a festival venue. On the plus side, the beer selection is decent, always with one or two nice surprises. If you're watching sports, the huge screen is great, and free pop-a-shot hoops is very civilized. But the location is kind of out of the way over by the convention center, and it gets noisy in the high-ceilinged space -- a little hard to hold a conversation. Still, I'm impressed that you can get a 20-ounce pint there, and you can also order a 10-ounce glass for exactly half the price -- a surprisingly rare situation called linear pricing that the Beeronomist has taught us about -- or, if you're an economist or a sucker you can order a relatively more expensive 16-ounce pint. At the Rye Fest, small 4-ounce tasters were also available in plastic cups.
My favorite beers were:
- Hopworks Fight for Your Rye't Dark Mild - dark, smoky malt; light yet creamy body; very drinkable
- Commons Enkel Light Belgian Pale - reminiscent of a hefeweizen, plus some nice hops that play well with the rye
- Breakside Kellerbier - packed with flavor, a little caramelly, with spicy rye and piney hops
- Short Snout Rye-teous Dude Stout - very nicely balanced stout, on the malty side
- Firestone Walker Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA - if you haven't tried this beer, get a bottle right away: smoky, rich, hoppy
- Bear Republic Ryevalry IIPA - a nice big hop monster with a little rye in the background
Congratulations to Kerry for pulling together an interesting beer lineup. I hope the Rye Beer Fest comes back next year, it's a nice addition to the festival ecosystem.