Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Minnesota Renaissance Festival (Shakopee, MN)

Raspberry and Mint mead by J. Bird Winery at
Minnesota Renaissance Festival

We headed out to the 2012 version of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival with free tickets I won at the start-of-school staff raffle.  We haven't been there for years, a decade or so.  I've always intended to help/enter the Byggvir's Big Beer Cup, but the timing has never worked out.

Being Ren Fest, we started with mead from J. Bird Winery from a small booth.  The Egypt'n Mead is made with lemon and hibiscus tea, according to the peasant dressed man who poured my plastic cup.  Near the end of the day, we finished with a raspberry melomel and a mint metheglin at the main mead booth.  We had a seat and, by chance, Arthur Greenleaf Holmes was starting his performance Wildly Inappropriate Poetry, which was one of the more entertaining shows of the day.  All three meads were perfectly fine but not something I'll seek out again based on this tasting.  While pondering the mead during the week though, I would like to try it again on better drinking circumstances to give it a better taste.

Beer selection across the fest seemed to be Guinness, Schell's Octoberfest and various types of Grain Belt.  Skipping the Grain Belt today, but the former two were perfectly fine when I had them during the day.  Since water was $2.50, figured I'd just drink beer for $5.  What I had was fresh and well served for being in a plastic cup and it cut through the renaissance accurate dust on the grounds.

We arrived when the gate opened and the morning shows were light.  Several of the performers alluded to the fact that the afternoon shows were funnier/better/larger because the fest-goers would be drinking up by the afternoon.  Plus, the very tight carding rules (everyone shows an ID, one drink per card) makes it clear that underage and excessive drinking are problems at the fest.  If this didn't confirm the sophomoric drinking  habits of the Ren Fest, the two barely 21 year olds in front of me in the mead booth line proved it beyond a doubt.  Personally, I don't understand spending a week's worth of beer money on plastic cups.  Overall, Ren Fest is long on leather covered dragons and short on good drinking.

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