The United Nations of Beer Festival occupied seven halls of the Genting
International Convention Centre along with its car park and foyer areas last Tuesday (3 April 2012) from 6.00pm until the next morning at 3am to hold Malaysia’s first ever event with over 50 different types of beers. It was exclusively for all Genting WorldCard members and Nuffnang select bloggers. I was among the very few fortunate bloggers who were able to attend this rather unusual beer fest. I don’t believe there was ever one this huge and yet uncrowded. The event was a brilliant strategy to indirectly generate revenue for Genting on weekdays while promoting the WorldCard.
The shot above shows the lists and the token price of the beverages that were available on the event and they’re not even the full list. They weren’t kidding about having over 50 different beers. The invited guests were given some amount of tokens to purchase the beers. No cash were accepted and once the tokens were all spent, not a single more were given. So even if the attendee had a very high alcohol tolerance, he/she wouldn’t have got the chance to taste all of the beers.
There were a four different sections – the outer area catered finger foods, the merged grand ballrooms had the most space and things going on, hall 5-7 had the clubbing music, and the centre foyer had stage and arcade games. The merged grand ballrooms was the largest section of the event. It had a huge live music stage in the centre, many different beer vending booths, four VIP areas (one of it was for us), and a game booth where attendees could play some casino games to win some prizes. The Filipino music bands covered well known classic impressively. Apparently, Genting had to pay RM200, 000 to get them over to play. I surprised at first but then it made sense because the performance was certainly top notch. The sound system, on the other hand, could have been better.
It wasn’t at all as congested as most alcoholic events. It was quite comfortable and spacious all around. Very exclusive indeed. However, it felt kind of dull as well because it was lacking of that kind of atmosphere that people around my age or younger would have wanted. Majority of the attendees were older though. Guess I would like to party like this too when I retire with plenty of EPF money to burn. Because of the age group of the attendees, the section with contemporary clubbing music was practically empty. Or at least it was like that when I was there.
Initially, we bloggers were only given four tokens each. I was wondering if that’s even sufficient for me to try more than one uncommon beer. Therefore, I started off by asking one of the vendors which is the most unusual beer they have. And he showed me a bottle of Leffe Radieuse and said with a grin, “Eight-point-two percent alcohol.” I think he probably thought I was asking for the one with the highest alcohol volume. He added that it only costs two tokens so I just took the recommendation since I’ve never tried it before. To be frank, I had never even heard of it before. But according to the price list (second image from top), this bottle of beer was supposed to cost three tokens. Oh, well, shouldn’t complain about getting a better deal without bargaining. The beer was my favourite one of the night. It doesn’t taste as bitter as the alcohol volume suggests. It tasted kinda sweet actually.
So with only two tokens left after only being at event for less than an hour, what could I do, I wondered. Without even asking, the generous Genting marketing team provided us with a few more tokens. The senior vice president of the department, Mr. Paul Chan, started buying us beers too. This cool, sporting and friendly white-collar old man sure knows how to party. Ultimately, we didn’t really need the tokens with them around.
It got a little ridiculous with the amount of different bottles we had on our little table. I didn’t like all of them. Or probably I’m too used to drinking the usual stuffs like Carlsberg, Tiger and such. But I was pleased that I got to taste so many beers that I’ve never tried before. One of them entitled me to a game couple which I used to claim a free mug with my name engraved. The mug’s not neatly done and it’s obviously a leftover freebie from last year’s Oktoberfest (because it says Oktoberfest 2011) but it’s still a solid big glass to drink from.
On the next day while we were on the way back to KL, we received a free t-shirt that says “I did Irish, German, Danish, Belgian, Aussie, Thai, Dutch, English, Scottish, Spanish, Mexican, Austrian, Finnish… and still standing” at the back. Then I had that awkward moment when I just realised why the event was named United Nations of Beer Festival. If this is going to be annually, I’d make sure to get my beer-loving friends to sign up for WorldCard.