Saturday was the inaugural Top of the Hops Beer Fest for our fine city, and of course Steve and I had tickets. VIP tickets, to be exact. And let me tell you, sucking it up and buying our tickets a month early, and being able to get VIP admission, was the best idea we've had in a while.
I want to say that VIP tickets were maybe an extra $20-25 per person, but let me explain this festival to you, and I'm sure you'll understand why they were a good idea ;o)
First, the festival was scheduled from 2 PM until 6 PM, but with VIP tickets we got in at 1 PM. This meant that we were able to make some rounds, try some great beers, and have time to chat with the brewery employees before things started looking like this:
And if you think that looks crowded...it only got worse.
But while those people were waiting ten minutes for a two-ounce sample, and having to pay for food and then balance eating it and standing or walking around, we were relaxing in the VIP area with chairs. And a table. And free food. And free bottled water. And of course, beer!
Eventually the lines were too long, the crowds too much, and they had run out of some of the best beers, so we decided to leave around 5 PM. No big deal, as we'd had an extra hour there anyway thanks to our VIP tickets ;o)
And some how, some way, we ended up back out later that evening for another Greenville Drive game! Our friends Nick and Annie came with and we all enjoyed an evening of drinking beer and doing more chatting than baseball-watching...which was probably a good thing, considering the Drive unfortunately lost this one.
After the depressing end of the game, we took a pleasant walk back up to North Main and hit up Barley's. We were hungry, and have heard great things about their pizza. Unfortunately, after heading upstairs, ordering drinks, and starting a game of darts, we beckoned a bartender, who told us in no uncertain terms, through his tree-hugging hippy beard, that THEY DO NOT SERVE FOOD UPSTAIRS. Okay, one, that makes no sense and has no reasoning other than them wanting to keep things separate, probably to make things easier on themselves. And two...there is no reason to be rude about it! Honestly, sooorrryy that we ordered Stellas and not one of your crazy disgusting small batch taps. Go back to Montana or something.
Needless to say, we finished our drinks and headed next door to Wild Wing Cafe (again), where we over-ordered on the appetizers and ate way too much before saying good night to Nick and Annie and grabbing a taxi ride home. At least the taxi was inexpensive--we actually took two on Saturday, from different ends of Greenville back to our house, and paid $12-14 for each ride! Definitely a pleasant lesson learned ;o)