Mohegan Sun’s Sun Winefest is a must-visit for wine aficionados, but there’s plenty more to love about this annual festival. The conference rooms upstairs from the main wine tasting, which was held in the convention center, also featured several rooms of beer and cider from national brands and smaller craft producers. In addition to pouring many of their staples, several brewers also had previews of their upcoming spring seasonals.
Samuel Adams featured their Rebel IPA along with two new varieties, Rebel Rider Session IPA and Rebel Rouser Double IPA. Goose Island represented strong with their Belgian selection, pouring Matilda, Sofie, and The Ogden tripel. They also had their excellent The Muddy imperial stout, full of rich molasses, coffee, and roasty flavors that came out this past fall. Blue Moon straddled the seasons by pouring both their Gingerbread Spiced Ale for the winter, and previewing their tasty new First Peach Ale for the spring.
Vermont was strongly represented, with Long Trail and Otter Creek showing off their new spring beers. Long Trail Stand Out is an American Pale Ale showcasing the new Equinox hop variety. It has a nice fruity, grassy, and almost white wine-like profile. Otter Creek is going hoppy for the spring as well, with Citra Mantra IPL (India Pale Lager). Featuring all citra hops and mostly pilsner malt, it has the big floral aroma and tropical fruity flavors expected of citra, but with a clean lager mouthfeel.
Connecticut itself was represented by the new Stony Creek brewery, opening their own facility in Branford in March. They poured their 203 IPA, a classic take on the style with all cascade hops. They also had their winter beer, the hoppy Double Red Ale. To top it all off, Frank Pepe’s Pizza was also on hand with slices to help keep everyone on their feet!
In short, don’t let the word Winefest scare you if you’re more into the cool carbonated beverages; there’s plenty of beer to keep you occupied as well. One has to wonder what Sun Brewfest is like if there’s this much beer at the Winefest!