Armakeggon, the Archive’s craft beer festival, had it’s third running last Sunday. Featuring fifty rotating taps, I wanted to go in previous years but until I started writing a beer blog, I had never bothered to get myself a ticket. This year, I’m glad I did.
Ammo, yours truly and our friend Danger Dan rocked up to the Archive at just past 11AM to be greeted by a line of punters gearing up for a long day of craft beer drinking. Unlike GABS, there was no unfair grumbling and the line moved quickly to get us inside. We grabbed a round of 8 Wired Semiconductor pots and headed up to the Loft to stake ourselves a spot in the sun for a beautiful day of Sunday drinking.
When we finally packed it in at 5PM, we had drunk our way through thirty-three of the forty-three beers on offer. Including food, the three of us blew through nearly $200 on tokens with only one left over at the end of the day. I won’t detail every dollar sold in words but I will highlight some favourites, and some less favourites, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, then this post will be a novella.
Best in show
Despite the fact that the three of us spent the day with our heads buried in Untappd, this was not a tasting note taking day. As such, I have to lean on Untappd and according to it, I checked in Cavalier’s Imperial Stout as my highest rated beer of the day. I’d been drinking for six hours by this point and Cavalier was part of the last round, so I’ll let you judge the bias for yourself but it is a mightily tasty drop.
Other highly rated beers came from Moon Dog’s Love Tap II for it’s smoky, earthy, almost chipotle flavours, Moo Brew’s Barrel Aged Tripel for it’s well-rounded Belgian spiciness and Sunshine Coast’s Chilli Beer for it’s emphasis of real chilli heat instead of the sweet chilli wrongness I expected.
And Yeastie Boys’ Golden Age of Bloodshed continues to attract attention for it’s striking pink hue. No less than three people asked me about it.
The concept of a crayfish saison really put me off Bacchus’ Craison more than anything else but I was determined to knock over the seafood beers: this and Murray’s Bulgin Bicep, which was more smoked stout than mussels and oysters. At first, Craison was 90% saison funk but by the end it seemed like salt water. I don’t know if that was real or my mind mesing with me but it was not pleasant.
And I wish Bridge Road hadn’t chosen my photo of Nøgne ø-Bridge Road Aurora Borealis on Instagram to ask me my opinion on Instagram. My review sums it up but big fan otherwise, guys!
My real highlight of the day was the under-abundance of hoppy beers. Aside from our palette cleansing Semiconductor at the start of the day, the beers on offer were more malt-forward (stouts, brown ales, barrel-aged monsters) and yeast-forward (saisons, lambics, tripels) than the hop fatigue inducing beers that seem so common these days. A good move on the Archive’s part.
Beers aside, the day was amazingly beautiful and, while the Loft is not as popular as it’s downstairs counterpart, it was definitely the place to be with sunshine, fresh air, a lack of riff-raff and an abundance of leggings (“Armaleggings” as Danger Dan called it).
Those kinds of photos are always hilarious when you’re in a good mood brought on by plentiful quality beer. I can barely wait until next year.