Slow Drink Nation
They call it Slow Food, but let me tell you that some of the biggest lines are at the drinks tables. Of all the sections, though, I have to give the nod for the beer pavilion as the best of them all. Why? Not just because it's the quickest service, but because of the diversity and breadth of the selection. The beer pavilion is divided into three bars, each representing a method of beer delivery: bottle, cask, and draught (below).
There are probably two dozen or so different beers in each area, including unique one-offs from such famous breweries as Sierra Nevada as well as lots of beers from small breweries you may have never heard of like Allagash of Portland, Maine or Hair of the Dog Brewing of Portland, Maine. There were great people behind the booths ready to explain concepts and styles, such as seeing Dave McLean explaining to a customer how cask beer is made and why it's different (since it's unpressurized, the last part of the cask will taste different than the first because of exposure to oxygen).
The wine pavilion was also great, though mobbed, mobbed, mobbed (below).
It was interesting to try some of the offerings from such places as Michigan and Virginia, but there were some seriously great wines present from the West Coast. I enjoyed drinking personal favorites such as Fort Ross from the Sonoma Coast and Brick House from Oregon. Delicious, though the wine was a little warm under all those lights.
The cocktail pavilion is great fun. Greg or John from Rye are there to mix up Manhattans for you and there was Jen Colliau (below) of the Slanted Door mixing Rum Daisies with her own line of slow-cocktail products. Good stuff.