Rolling up the cuffs of my jeans, I unevenly attempt to avoid the mixture of mud, straw, grass, and discarded ale on the ground as it bubbles around my sandal with every step. I smile in a haze of good beer as we saunter around the park in the sometimes purposeful, and sometimes buoyant, beer fest amble.
At the 10th annual Parkville Microfest (as the banner declares), nearly 45 breweries pour tasting glasses to 3,000 attendees at the sold-out event, and the first beer festival I have attended outside of Oregon. Admission price includes entrance into a field that lines a wide Missourian river, while brewery representatives under white tents fill tasting glasses (no tasting tickets necessary here) for four hours on the overcast Saturday afternoon. Some brewery names are familiar – Deschutes, Sierra Nevada, Stone – but others are excitingly foreign – Nebraska Brewing, Cathedral Square, Flying Monkey.
The other excitingly foreign experience manifests in the form of a pretzel necklace. Reading about this in a newspaper article, I imagined a giant soft pretzel hanging like a pendant on a chain. Instead, the necklace is a thick string strung with lots and lots of hard pretzels. Both big and small. Some even interspersed with Funyuns. Leaning on my boyfriend’s kind (and heroic) sensibilities, I quickly find one around my neck after he makes a donation to the local Rugby club.
Soon, I notice patrons sporting multiple pretzel necklaces, seemingly jingling together in layers around a neck. One man complements the look with a beer koozie necklace, and one fashionable baby even sports his own necklace of Organic Fruit Os.
Genius; the pretzel necklace is. Just when you get a hunger pang you look down and see the pretzels dangling freely below your neck. Crunching off one side, the pretzel hopefully falls from the string and into your mouth, curbing hunger and facilitating the beer fest experience to continue without foreseeable obstacles.
Something so simple, so supportive, so encouraging. Something so revolutionary.
PS – At least for me.
At an un-ticketed beer fest.