Intending to try a new brewpub last weekend, an invite by a good friend to drink at the very first Spring Festival at Pitchfork Brewing in Hudson was welcomed. I've heard rumblings from several beery friends that Pitchfork was worth the trip.
Ten dollars bought the glass, which is a pretty cheap festival ticket these days, and then five dollars a pint afterwards. Plus, drinking with a good beer friend means twice as much tasting. I started with the Maple Maibock, a solid and drinkable but slightly out of style maibock, which is good for me. The cask of Jen's Cherry Pale Ale was fine for a round but lacked balance. Robin liked the Quite Right UK IPA, very much the English IPA that I didn't love. However, the cask of English Pale Ale w/ Kent Goldings drank like a trip to London, authentic, tasty and well served.
My favorite was the growler of Oatmeal Stout that I saved for last. Billowing brown, fluffy head over an opaque black stout. Light roast and chocolate in the nose over sweetness, soft water and more than a hint of hoppy spice. Slightly acrid bite feels dry to balance the sweet, full bodied malt and the characteristic smoothness of oatmeal.
I remember seeing pics of the Pitchfork bar being built, and the loving craftsmanship is clearly evident in the bar. The servers are friendly and proudly serve their fare. Added to this is locals who are comfortable in their new space—felt a little like bar in my small Iowa hometown, except the beer was good.
My only disappointment was that I had missed lunch getting ready to go out and all of the food for the festival had meat in it. Pitchfork has a small menu of appetizers from Paddy Ryan Pub next door, so I headed there for something to eat. Two veggie options and but they were out of the brewpub pretzels, so lunch was Battered Cheese Nuggets; very good and it served reasonably well as a base for the beers. Leave your beer behind at Pitchfork and pay at the Paddy Ryan bar, and they will deliver the apps to you back at Pitchfork.
Overall, it was a great Saturday beer hunt and a relaxing chat with a friend. A strong beer list kept us going for several hours before we needed to leave, our bar stools filling quickly as the party started to roll. I went home with two growlers on the strength of the Pitchfork Pale Ale, the sampled West Wing Porter and the likelihood of a Sunday fill during speech season.