Odell Small Batch Festival 2018 Review: Something Old, Something New
Odell Brewing, home to the (unofficial) official Best Patio of Fort Collins, hosted its Small Batch Festival on May 26. Not many breweries can pull off a festival consisting entirely of their own brews, but the prolific Odell successfully produced a beer lineup consisting of old favorites and some brand new blends.
For $35, patrons received two 12oz pours (8oz for high ABV brews ), a stainless steel cup and 60+ beer options. This party isn’t new—Odell has hosted this festival a handful of times in the past decade—and in the late May summer sun, the Small Batch Festival definitely felt like a familiar get-together. It was part business as usual, but other aspects felt distinctly special. Here’s the breakdown of what felt old, and what was new:
- Most of the Beer: Of the 60+ options, only a handful were new for the festival. Most were old favorites or current favorites, divided up among six stations both inside the brewery and out on the patio. My personal favorites involved its fruited sours — I used up my tokens on Pina Agria (a pineapple golden sour) and Elephunk (an imperial wild IPA). Other notable favorites included Jolly Russian, Brazzle and two years of Friek (2015 and 2017).
- Local Grub: The Northern Colorado food truck game continues to grow, as demonstrated by those Odell invited to its festival. Taco Stop, The Tramp About and Mac’n were among the standouts. My personal favorite was The Tramp About, a food truck that originated in Greeley and continues to offer up unique and hearty grub like shrimp and sausage Po’ Boys and a delectable Cubano. Nothing makes drinking in the sun more fun than good food, and this festival definitely delivered on that front.
- Fun Funky Bands: Odell added a second stage for the festival, but the music throughout the day was traditionally Odell: funky, laid back and somehow perfectly conducive for drinking. The lineup starred Gasoline Lollipops, and the band even got to brew a chili pepper beer named “Resurrection Red,” which was featured at the festival.
The Unfamiliar: Small Batch Festival Items Worth Noting
- Firkin Options: Odell made special firkins available at four of the six beer stations. Each one was a twist on a traditional Odell beer: Creamsicle Odell Lager, Habanero Mango Mercenary, Old Fashioned 90 Shilling and a Moscow Mule 5 Barrel. There were also some never-before-seen brews with Odell’s trademark catchy titles: Duck Tickler (a Belgian golden), Goat Magic (a brown ale with Brett aged in sherry barrels), and Castor Canada Nuggets (a New England-style IPA).
- Crowd Size: Odell is usually packed on weekends (see: their aforementioned unofficial patio award), but the festival upped the crowd size to new levels. Small Batch fell on an exceptionally cloudless day so early groups staked out the shady spots and guarded them intensely during carefully-timed beer runs. Halfway through the festival, lines grew longer; many waited upwards of 10-15 minutes in line — and that’s with tickets remaining available at the start of the fest.
- No Kids or Dogs: Possibly the most out-of-the-ordinary part of Small Batch Festival was that kids and pups, commonly seen at Odell on a normal day, were not allowed at the festival. As a local, the patio exists as my go-to dog-spotting choice, and I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t a kid chugging one of the available local sodas. I love how family-friendly Odell is, but adults-only was the right call for the festival.
In my view, Odell is always a great spot to visit when visiting Fort Collins and Small Batch Festival provided evidence for why that is true. Those who attended were provided with a dose of familiar mixed with some unique additions.