It felt like Christmas Eve the night before Oakquinox, and my sleep was just as restless in anticipation. Upon arrival we received these modified bracelets that had 15 tabs on them which were to be torn off after every 3oz. tasting. We also received our 4oz commemorative glass and a t-shirt for about $50 each. I had also spotted the Deschutes woody in the parking lot!

The event was so well organized it was impressive. Stone’s always busy, but they were really packed on this Sunday. We asked “Dr.” Bill Sysak how many tickets were sold and he said, “There were about 800 tickets sold and 50 more for media.” That’s a lot to add to the standard crowd at Stone! He said they also have the sour fest and I added that they have quite a few sour beers on the Oakquinox list and he said “sours were brought in to balance-out the heavy.” I am not a huge fan of sour beers but I have become more open to them recently and really enjoyed a few of them!

They broke-down the event into A, B, C and D sections. The C section was the outside bar which was separated into draft and bottles. The C bottle line was ridiculously-long (but unfortunately that’s where a lot of the beers I wanted to try was) but the A and B sections were down on the lawn and had virtually no wait. The D section was where the food was and probably the best pretzel I have ever had. Seriously, the best. It was really crunchy and warm and the whole-grain mustard sauce was a great accompaniment. It reminded me of the outside of a corndog so maybe that’s why I loved it so much?

Down to the beer! Between me and my boyfriend Sean, good friends Rooney, Nick and Lauren we tasted a lot of the beer on the list. Basically we tried all the beer on A and B list. One of the stand-outs was the Ballast Point Navigator Dopplebock in Brandy Barrels (10%ABV) which was very complex. Rooney said, “It’s like a rollercoaster, it drops and rises and then drops again and you’re still having fun.” It was brown in color, with a light head, with a malty caramel hoppy flavor which just hits all over the pallet. Another special one was the Great Divide 17th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA (10%ABV) which was dubbed the “springtime in the forest” beer by me. It was woody yet light with a nice hops flavor (apparently on other non-IPA obsessed palates thought it was very hoppy) with a citrus and barley undertone.

A few other notable beers were the Alvinne Melchior 2009 (11.5%ABV) which had a citrus-almond-marzipan flavor and smelled like freshly-baked pastries. This was supposed to taste like mustard seeds but I didn’t get that taste at all. I would defiantly like to have that one again. The Big Sky Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout 2010 (10%ABV) was fantastic dark beer with vanilla and agave smells permeating the air. One more notable beer was the Eagle Rock Populist IPA in Spanish Cedar (7%ABV) which was a very nice IPA. It was an easy-to-drink lovely break from the heavy overload of the day. I am excited for all Eagle Rock has to offer. A few not-so-great beers we had were the Ladyface Chardonnay Oude Blonde which tasted like watery apple cider and the Moylan’s Kilt Lifter in Apple Brandy Barrels which was sweet and watery green apple taste. All in all, it was a fantastic day at one of my favorite breweries, and the clock is counting down until next year!