Browsing articles in "beer festivals"
Mar 3, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Lots of beer events On Tap

Observatory North Park

2891 University Avenue, North Park

March 6 | Reader On Tap: Kick off a weekend of suds saturation at The Observatory North Park when the San Diego Reader assembles some of San Diego’s best breweries — Ballast Point, Rip Current, Societe, The Lost Abbey — to tap their libation creations against a sonic backdrop provided courtesy of the Burning of Rome, Blackout Party, Nervous Wreckords, and more. | The Observatory North Park, 2891 University Avenue, North Park, 8 p.m.

Churchill’s Pub and Grill

887 W. San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos

March 7 | Renaissance: The biggest day of the year at Churchill’s Pub Grille never disappoints. An epic one-day-only list of rare, exquisite, knock-you-on-your-ass strong ales will be offered in tandem with a menu sporting tasty, exotic, out-there food items. Brave the crush and get first dibs when the doors open or saunter in for the formidable leftovers throughout the weekend. | Churchill’s Pub Grille, 887 West San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 11 a.m.

March 7 | Best Coast Beer Fest: Beer festivals happen in San Diego all the time, but how many of them involve Ron Burgundy? Comic superstar Will Ferrell’s fave fest will feature (mostly) West Coast breweries assembled to raise money for Cancer for College, a nonprofit raising money so cancer survivors can realize dreams of gaining a college education. It’s kind of a big deal. | Embarcadero Marina Park South, 1 Marina Park Way, Marina District, 12 p.m.

Other Notable Happenings
March 3, 6:30 p.m. | Mike Hess Beer Dinner, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge, Coronado
March 6, 3 p.m. | Firkin Friday with Saint Archer Brewery, Hamilton’s Tavern, South Park
March 7, 12 p.m. | 7th Annual St. Baldrick’s Shave-A-Thon, The Commons, Gaslamp Quarter
March 7 | New English Brewing Company Craft Beer Tapas, Cueva Bar, Gaslamp Quarter
March 7, 2 p.m. | Taste of Bressi Festival, Boys Girls Club of Bressi Ranch, Carlsbad

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Mar 2, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Snommegang warms up downtown

Snommegang warms up downtown

Snommegang warms up downtown

Brent DeLanoyThe Rudy Well Band performs Saturday during the second annual Snommegang festival on Main Street in Oneonta. 

Snommegang warms up downtown

Snommegang warms up downtown

Chase Jackson and Brandon Fredericks of Good Nature Brewing

Posted: Sunday, March 1, 2015 7:35 pm

Snommegang warms up downtown

By Brent Delanoy Contributing Writer

The Daily Star

ONEONTA — Brewery Ommegang and America On Tap partnered to bring the second annual Snommegang Invitational Beer Festival to downtown Oneonta on Saturday. Under a cloudless blue sky, beer enthusiasts gathered in three tasting tents set up on Main Street, where breweries from across America shared their offerings with the crowds.  

Emily Inzana of America On Tap, the largest producer of beer festivals in the country, said that 1,200 people were expected to attend. Each ticketholder was given a wristband and commemorative tasting cup with which to sample IPAs, lagers, stouts, imperial reds and many other style of beer.

While access to the prized beers was tightly guarded within the heated tents, the festival spilled onto the surrounding streets, helped by calm, sunny weather. As the Woodshed Prophets wrapped up a set in the music tent on Muller Plaza, the Ruddy Well Band of Syracuse, a five-piece instrumental Americana band, began tuning up as people mingled on Main Street. 

Among them were Mitchell Duncan, a recent SUNY Oneonta graduate now substitute teaching at BOCES, and Alexandra Marx, a Hartwick College art major. 

“We met last year at this festival,” Marx said. 

“A little while later, we started dating,” Duncan said. “Now we’re back. It’s even better than it was last year. Great crowd.”

As the Ruddy Well Band started their set, attendees crowded into the music tent. Some of them danced, their necklaces strung with pretzels swaying as they moved. As the festival wound down in the early evening, attendees crowded into local restaurants and after-parties, with concerts at Foothills, the B-Side Ballroom and the Black Oak tavern carrying the festivities into the late-night hours. 

Chase Jackson, of Good Nature Brewing out of Hamilton, said he was thrilled with the event.

“This is wonderful,” Jackson said. “We’re very happy to be here and to have such a great crowd.” 

Good Nature Brewing has been brewing their beers, including the double IPA, imperial red, and Biere de Marc they brought with them to Snommegang, for three years. The brewery is the first to open its doors in Madison County in 200 years.

Also on tap at Snommegang was Two Roads Brewing’s Workers Comp Saison, winner of the 2013 GIBF gold medal and a hit with local beer enthusiasts. Meghan Zachary, who was on hand Saturday representing the Stratford, Conn., brewery, explained that the traditional Belgian ale owes its unusual name to an old brewing tradition. 

“Belgian farm workers used to be paid partly in beer,” Zachary said. “They would be given nine liters a day for their work. Hence our name for the beer, Worker’s Comp.”

Zachary said she was excited to be at Snommegang.

“Two Roads Brewing was started in 2012, and we just launched in the Capital Region last week,” she said. “It’s great to come to a new area. It’s wonderful here in Oneonta.”

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Sunday, March 1, 2015 7:35 pm.

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Mar 2, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Shmaltz Brewing Releases New Blend of Funky Jewbelation!

Now brewing exclusively in Clifton Park, NY — Monday, March 2, 2015 – There’s a whole lot of funk and rhythm going down at Shmaltz Brewing with a brand new blend of Funky Jewbelation® dancing off of the packaging line at its Upstate New York brewery. The limited-edition March 2015 release of Funky Jewbelation® launches Shmaltz’s ambitious 2015 brewing schedule, and starts the year off on the good foot (as James Brown would sing). This year’s Funky Jewbelation® (9.4% ABV, March 2015) features six ales and lagers aged in bourbon and rye whiskey barrels, and it’s now nationally available in 22 oz. bottles and a limited amount of draft at select bars.

Funky Jewbelation® is the latest Limited Engagement in the brewery’s bold and captivating Barrel-Aged Series. This year’s hand crafted recipe of Funky Jewbelation® is an expert mash-up of Jewbelation Reborn® (aged 16 months), Messiah Nut Brown Ale® (aged 8 months), Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.® (aged 6 months), Winter Lager 2013® (aged 15 months), Rejewvenator® 2014 (aged 11 months), and Death of a Contract Brewer® (aged 16 months).

“Funky Jewbelation 2015 embodies Shmaltz’s commitment to the craftsmanship of truly exceptional beers,” says Shmaltz’s Lead Brewer Richie Saunders. “Funky has been aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Sazarac and Willett Rye whiskey barrels. It’s a monumental blend of our favorite ales and lagers that we’ve lovingly nurtured for over the last year. Funky Jewbelation 2015 glistens a deep ruby color with a big, tart, sour cherry flavor and a malty earth aroma. A lovely puckering is complemented by subtle hints of bourbon, charred wood, molasses and light notes of vanilla.”

Funky Jewbelation® 2014 currently has a 99 overall rating on, and the 2013 version won a Silver Medal in the World Beer Cup, the only American Craft Brewery in the Sour and Barrel aged category. The 2012 version of Funky Jewbelation® took home two consecutive Gold Medals at the 2012 World Beer Championships. The 2012 World Beer Championships featured 799 breweries from 54 countries and 45 U.S. states with 3,921 beers in 95 beer categories. Now four years in the making, Shmaltz’s barrel-aging program also includes such all-stars as the 2010 Great American Beer Festival Silver Medalist HE’BREW R.I.P.A. on Rye® (R.I.P.A. on Rye® has a 98-rating on; 2011 World Beer Championships Gold Medalist HE’BREW Vertical Jewbelation®, and the 99-rated (on HE’BREW Genesis 15:15®. Next up in the series is Bock Bock® (10% ABV, May 2015), a burly Imperial American Bock aged over 3 months half in Jim Beam and half in Heaven Hill whiskey barrels.

The Limited Engagement Barrel-Aged Series not only represents some of Shmaltz’s most decorated beers, but also boasts the highest consumer ratings from and The latter ranked Shmaltz Brewing as one of the “Top 100 Breweries in the World” in 2013. With the release of this year’s Funky Jewbelation®, Shmaltz continues to design sophisticated beers that rank with the world’s best specialty libations.

Funky Jewbelation® tasting parties are coming to a city near you, please see the list of events below:

*Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 7pm @ Star Shamrock (1341 H Street NE, Washington DC): Join Shmaltz Brewing for the special release event, Purim vs St. Patrick’s Day, featuring Funky Jewbelation® and other Shmaltz offerings.

*Saturday, March 7, 2015 @ Desmond Hotel (660 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY): The Second Annual Craft New York Brewers Festival will bring together 40 New York Breweries (and brewers) from every region of the state featuring up to 90+ hard to find and award-winning beers. To make this very special event more exclusive, food sampling and pairings will be featured from local Albany restaurants and food vendors to go along with each brewery attending.

*Saturday, March 7, 2015, 2-6pm @ Shmaltz Tasting Room (6 Fairchild Square, Clifton Park, NY): Join Shmaltz Brewing for the Official Release of Funky Jewbelation ’15®! Get your first taste of Funky ’15® and savor vintage funky and a sweet Vertical Jewbelation® from their vault. They’ll have funkadelic music from D.J. Chad Koenig and wood fired pizza from Pies on Wheels.

*Wednesday, March 18, 2015 @ Newport Pizza, Ocean Beach
(5050 Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA): Shmaltz Brewing hosts a mini tap takeover, serving Funky Jewbelation®, Hop Manna®, and more!

*Friday, March 20 Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ Seaport World Trade Center
(200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA): Extreme Beer Fest is the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity. Join Shmaltz Brewing as they celebrate brewers who push the boundaries of brewing and raise a fist at the norm. Featuring Funky Jewbelation ’15® and other rare brews from Shmaltz.

*Monday, March 23, 2015 @ Tap House Grill (1472 Market Street, Suite A-103, Des Plaines, IL): Shmaltz Brewing will tap Funky Jewbelation ’15® and Death of a Contract Brewer®!

*Tuesday, March 24, 2015 @ World of Beer (5005 S Cooper Street, Arlington, TX): Shmaltz Brewing will host a mini tap takeover and super ’70s Funky party. They’ll be pouring Funky Jewbelation ’15®, Hop Manna®, and more!

*Wednesday, March 25, 2015 @ Drunken Donkey
(301 W Round Grove Road, Lewisville, TX): Shmaltz Brewing hosts a tap takeover and Funky party!

*Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ Dallas Beer Kitchen (1802 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX): Join Shmaltz at this tap takeover presented by Shmaltz Brewing’s own Alaina and Zak!

*Wednesday, April 1, 2015 @ El Bait Shop
(200 SW 2nd St, Des Moines, IA 50309): Join Shmaltz Brewing Proprietor Jeremy Cowan for a Tap Takeover featuring Funky Jewbelation ’15® as well as Funky Jewbelation ’13®, Hop Manna IPA®, Messiah Nut Brown Ale®, Death of a Contract Brewer® Black IPA and Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA®.

*Tuesday, April 14, 2015 @ Dive Bar (24 Ocean Avenue, West Haven, CT): Featuring five lines of Shmaltz Brewing beers with Funky Jewbelation ’15® as the piece de resistance!

Praise and fun with Funky Jewbelation® (2012 – 2014)
“What Would Jesus Drink? He’d want a beer big enough to enjoy at a last supper, and this American Strong Ale would be just the type of brew that Jesus would want to share with his flock. Plus, coming from Shmaltz, it would surely be a hit. Because, you know, Jesus was Jewish. And one funky dude.” -Complex Magazine
“Shmaltz brings the funk with Funky Jewbelation.” -Cigar Aficionado
“You best be ready to shake some tail feathers when you bring this extra-special beer to the party.” -The Kitchn
“Cheers to He’Brew for managing to, impossibly, blend six beers into a whole greater than it’s parts.” -Yum Sugar
“…in this brewmaster’s skilled hands, the result is a beer with great depth and nuanced flavor.”
“The beer is indeed funky, in all the right ways.” -Cooking District

About Shmaltz Brewing Company

Ranked in 2013 as one of the “Top 100 Brewers in the World” by, Shmaltz won 9 Gold and 5 Silver Medals in the World Beer Championships in 2012. A recipient of the “Distinguished Business Award” by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Shmaltz was also included in the “Top 50 Fastest Growing Bay Area Companies” by San Francisco Business Times.

Founder and owner Jeremy Cowan established the company in San Francisco in 1996 with the first 100 cases of He’brew Beer® hand bottled and delivered throughout the Bay Area in his Grandmother’s Volvo. He’brew® now sells across 37 states, through 40 wholesalers and nearly 5,000 retailers. In 2007, Shmaltz released a new line of craft brewed lagers under the Coney Island® banner. The Coney Island brand was recently acquired by Alchemy and Science, a craft beer incubator, owned by Boston Beer (Sam Adams).

After 17 years of being an outspoken cheerleader for contract brewing, Shmaltz recently broke with tradition and opened its own New York State production brewery in Clifton Park, NY, 10 minutes north of Albany’s capital district. Shmaltz’s new home boasts a 50-barrel brewhouse with 20,000 barrels of annual capacity. The new brewery packages 12 and 22 ounce bottles and kegs of their diverse core and seasonal favorites, and hosts fans and beer tourists in their new tasting room for tours, barrel-aged previews, and special releases.

In 2010/11, Cowan published his small business memoir, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah: How It Took 13 Years, Extreme Jewish Brewing, and Circus Sideshow Freaks to Make Shmaltz Brewing Company an International Success. A free sampling of Chapter One and suggested beer pairings, can be viewed at In 2012, Cowan spearheaded the creation of the non-profit New York City Brewers Guild (which manages NYC Beer Week) and served as its Founding President.

Cowan also has presented at the 2013 Craft Brewers Conference, as well as previous Great American Beer Festivals, BevNet’s Brewbound conference, Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Festival, the Atlanta and the St. Louis Jewish Book Fairs, and the San Francisco and New York Jewish Museums.

Shmaltz Brewing beers have appeared in such distinguished media outlets as The New York Times, CNN Headline News, Beer Advocate Magazine, NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” Fox Business News, Men’s Health, San Francisco Chronicle, The Jerusalem Report, New York Jewish Week, and Washington Post.

For more information, please visit:


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Mar 2, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Dueling beer fests coming up on Saturday

Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 4.27.14 PMAnyone who can’t find a beer sample they like in the Capital Region this Saturday won’t really be trying.

Two beer festivals are planned for the same day, one in downtown Albany and one in suburban Colonie. Take your pick. Of course, if you have a designated driver available, you can try visiting both.

The first to begin will be the annual “Winter Brewfest,” scheduled for 1 to 10 p.m. at The Armory Sports Convention Arena, better known as the Washington Avenue Armory. It will turn a cavernous venue into what organizers describe as “craft beer sampling in an Irish Pub setting.” Upon admission, visitors will be given a souvenir sampling glass. Tickets are $37 in advance, $47 at the door. VIP tickets are $57 and $67. Designated drivers can get $12 tickets at the door. Free water and soda will be available. No one under 21 will be admitted.

An array of brewers and beer reps will be on hand to discuss the various beers. Vendors and live Irish music are planned. The festival will be presented in three sessions: the basic session from 1 to 4 p.m.,  the VIP session from 6 to 7 p.m., and the evening session from 6 to 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, midway during the Albany event, the 2nd annual “Craft NY Brewers Festival” will begin at 5 p.m. and run until 8 p.m. at The Desmond hotel and convention complex, 660 Albany Shaker Road in Colonie, just off Northway Exit 4.

That event, organized by the New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA), is expected to present about 80 brews from more than three dozen New York State breweries. The state’s “Taste NY” program that promotes food and drink from all segments of the state once again will provide food samples from Albany area restaurants at no additional cost.

Tickets are available online at a variety of price points. VIP status allows ticket holders admission at 4 p.m., with general admission ticket holders admitted at 5 p.m. The event will run until 8 p.m. No one under age 21 will be admitted. Proceeds go to support the NYSBA’s efforts to promote craft beer.

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Feb 28, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Tröegs Brewing Company – Sales Rep. – Ohio Market

Position:  Sales Representative

Job Classification:  Full-Time, Year-Round

Reports to:  Regional Sales Manager

Pay Rate:  Salary, based on experience

Benefits:  Available Medical, Dental Vision Insurance, Paid Vacation, QPI Program – Eligible after completion of 90-day Introductory Period; Retirement Plan – Eligible after 1 year of employment

Job Description:

An account-level sales person focused on growing Tröegs business in the Ohio market. This position requires flexible hours, daily travel and weekend events.  This position will be based in Cleveland, OH.

Job Qualifications:

High-energy, detail-oriented person needed for fast-paced, but rewarding position.  Must have pleasant personality, be self-motivated, goal-oriented, and the ability to communicate well with people.  Beer industry knowledge and 1-2 years beverage industry sales experience is required.  The ideal candidate would live in an area with easy access to key metropolitan regions in the territory and have good, working knowledge of the beer scene throughout the region.

Daily Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Regular ride alongs with wholesaler representatives.
  • Visit and maintain contact with retailers, restaurants, bars.
  • Fulfill needs of distributors as required (i.e., POS, tap handles, sell sheets, etc….).
  • Communicate on daily basis w/ Sales Manager regarding orders, trends, seasonal considerations and all other sales related issues.
  • Monitor wholesaler’s inventory and depletions.
  • Analyze sales data/ performance on a monthly basis, report at monthly sales meeting.
  • Complete company administration requirements on time and regularly, including expense reports, weekly/month recaps, monthly calendar, budget management, and daily e-mail responses.
  • Become thoroughly acquainted with every key decision maker or decision influencer in accounts.
  • 3+ promos/ staff trainings, 5+ new bottle placements monthly.
  • Search for new draft placements while merchandising accounts.
  • Visit a minimum of 10+ accounts a day.
  • Participate in beer samplings, promotions, beer festivals and all related events.
  • Build maintain relationships by communicating regularly with our distributor sales managers.
  • Conduct quarterly sales meetings/ presentations with our distributor’s sales staff.
  • Must maintain a function vehicle and have a driver’s license with NO DUI’S.

Distributor/ Market Knowledge:

  • Knowledge of who key people are at distributor(s) such as owner, President/ GM, sales manager, supervisors, all sales people, merchandising manager, events coordinator, operations manager, draft manager and receptionist.

  • Develop understanding for how the following gets done:  pos orders, pulling and invoicing of samples, scheduling ride withs, scheduling merchandiser account visits for specialty pos and beer displays, basic policies for handling distributor bill backs, receiving monthly sales reports, scheduling time at monthly/ quarterly sales meetings and how sales reps and supervisors are compensated.
  • Know pricing of all Tröegs products plus general pricing of top 5 craft and import beer competitors in the market.
  • Develop market profile and target lists.

Knowledge Needed:

  • Strong knowledge of Tröegs Brewery, its history and its products.
  • 1-2 years of demonstrated success in beverage related sales.
  • Experience working with Vermont Information Processing (VIP) software.
  • Experience working with IRI Data collection.
  • General knowledge of the brewing process and how all Tröegs beers are produced.
  • Communication styles – well developed understanding of the four communication styles, proven ability to consistently recognize and adapt to all four styles, and the ability to master all five components of the selling skills process (opening, proposal, probing, objection handling and closing).
  • Basic computer skills, word, excel and email.
  • Previous beverage industry experience required.

Contact Info:  

If interested, forward resume to  Enter OHIO SALES REP in the subject line.  No initial calls please.




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Feb 27, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Monthly buzz: Beer and spirit events happening in Philadelphia

The month of March hosts one of the most overrated drinking days of the year: St. Patrick’s Day.

For one thing, the Irish holiday isn’t the only drinking event worth mentioning. This month includes beer festivals, charity events, boozy brunches and more.

Raise a glass to these events.

Misconduct Tavern (1511 Locust St.) teams up with local restaurants to host the first annual Pubs that Care event benefiting Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The evening will feature a five-course meal pairing that include culinary options from Smiths, Sancho Pistola’s, Lucky’s Last Chance, Watkins Drinkery, and beers from Southern Tier and Fegley’s Brew Works. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 and is $40 per person.

Meet the brewers behind your favorite beers. On Thursday, March 5 the Hop Angel Brauhaus (7980 Oxford Ave.) will host a Meet the Brewers event with Philadelphia’s St. Benjamin Brewing Co. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. you can chat with Tim Patton and Christina Burris from the company and try their selected beers. Since spring is just around the corner, bock beer will be on the menu.

Philly Beer Fest returns to the Navy Yard (4747 S. Broad St.) on Saturday, March 7 for a celebration of everything craft brew. Taste over 75 national and local beers from Flying Fish, Lagunitas, Victory, Founders, and more. VIP admission begins at 12:30 p.m. and is $75. General admission starts at 1:30 p.m. and is $46.

On Sunday, March 8, the mid-Atlantic’s best restaurants and breweries lineup inside the Kimmel Center (300 S. Broad St.) for the annual Brewer’s Plate festival. This event features restaurants and breweries paired together including: Dogfish Head, 2nd Story Brewing, Stoudt’s, Village Whiskey, Rosa Blanca, The Industry, and more. General admission to the event starts at $59 and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

In honor of American novelist Jack Kerouac, Spodee and Art in the Age Spirits celebrate his birthday at Tattooed Mom (530 South St.) Thursday, March 12 with themed cocktails in honor of his book, On the Road. From 5 to 11 p.m., enjoy $5 Spodiodi’s (Spodee Wine mixed with whiskey), and “The Mad Ones” (Spodee wine mixed with AITA Root). Spodee merch and copies of On the Road will be raffled off throughout the event.

If you missed Friday the Firkenteenth at the Grey Lodge (6235 Frankford Ave.) in February, you have another chance. On March 13, the pub holds its annual Friday the 13th event where they tap over 20 different kinds of firkins of craft beer. The event runs from noon to midnight and is a cash-only event. Some firkins featured for the evening include: Evil Genius mango wit, Yards grapefruit Philly Pale Ale, Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA, Manayunk Clutch peanut butter porter, and Conshohocken single-hop Centennial.

It’s time to hop back onto the Craft Beer Express. On Saturday, March 14 beginning at 11 a.m., bars across Center City are sharing their appreciation for craft brews with you for this annual pub crawl. Tickets are $10 prior and $15 day of, and you can choose any location as your starting point. A bus will take you from spot to spot – that  includes: Kraftwork, Standard Tap, Jose Pistolas, Devil’s Den, Brauhaus Schmitz, Johnny Brenda’s, Kite and Key, Race Street Café, The Sidecar, Pub on Passyunk East, Bishop’s Collar, and The Institute.

On Saturday, March 14, start off your Sunday with a frosty pint and a refreshing Irish breakfast (blood sausage, beans, Irish bacon loin, and more) at Johnny Brenda’s (1201 Frankford Ave.) during the 7th Annual Stout Brunch. Beginning at 11 a.m. the taps will be full of picks from Dogfish Head, River Horse, Troegs, Weyerbacher and more. In addition to the Irish breakfast offerings, oysters will be on special, too.

Take a break from slots and enjoy some brews when the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival returns to the A.C. Convention Center on Friday, March 20 through Saturday, March 21. Tickets to the event will get you unlimited tastings of over 100 international and national brews. Not only will you get to try out beers from brands like Terrapin, Sixpoint, Brooklyn Brewery, and Prism, but vendors and various workshops and cooking classes will be onsite. Tickets are $55-60 and session times are: Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Drink your whiskey for a good cause on Wednesday, March 23 when the Trestle Inn (339 N 11 St.) hosts the third Annual Bourbon Battle benefiting PAWS — Philadelphia’s nonprofit organization dedicated to giving shelter and care to animals. Beginning at 6 p.m., four bartenders will face off to create the best bourbon cocktail. Entry gets you all four samples and you can vote for your favorite cocktail. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at door. $20 of your ticket goes directly to PAWS.

Get some knowledge on bourbon at the Institute Bar (549 N. 12 St.) at this whiskey and food pairing event on Thursday, March 26. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. and includes: pan-seared creole andouille with Four Roses bourbon, crispy-skin Cornish game hen with Eagle Rare bourbon, smoked brisket over roasted portabella mushroom with Eagle Rare, and bourbon-and-stout ice cream with Prichard’s Double Chocolate Bourbon. Seating is limited to 20 people and tickets run at $40 prior, $65 day of.

Turn your “Sunday Funday” into Sixtel Sunday on March 29 at the Kite and Key (1836 Callowhill St.) as barrel-aged brews from Firestone Walker take over the tap line. The event is a pay-as-you-go and you can enjoy beers such as 2013 Velvet Merkin, Anniversary XVII, Pale 31 Opal, and more. The bar opens at 11 a.m.

Tim Reardon

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Feb 26, 2015
Freddie Kitson

4 can’t-miss March events you never knew existed

You know about the St. Patrick’s Day parade. You know about the beer festivals and the bacon festival. But did you know that there is a whole day dedicated to cardboard costumes or that you can celebrate a fake marriage? Here are four events that you never knew existed, but are worthy of your attendance.  

Saturday, March 7. If you have an imagination and some cardboard, you’re all set! Cardboard*Con is a science fiction and fantasy convention in downtown Atlanta, dedicated to cardboard costuming. See incredibly elaborate and creative costumes, win contests and participate in panels and workshops. Who knew cardboard could be so fun? Event details at

Southern Fried Burlesque Fest
March 19 -22. The 5th Annual Southern Fried Burlesque Fest brings you the most talented group of burlesque dancers in the Southeast. Four days of performances will keep you entertained, and if you’re feeling adventurous, participate in the “most elaborate class workshop schedule you will ever see.” Event details at

Big Fake Wedding
Sunday, March 29. You’re invited to the wedding of the year! There’s just one catch; it’s totally fake. If you’re getting married or you just really love weddings (and who doesn’t?), $25 is the price of admission to dance the night away and celebrate the pretend nuptials of your fake best friends. Event details at

Georgia Elvis Festival
March 12 – 15. This one isn’t in Atlanta, but if you’re up for a road trip to Brunswick and you love the King, you’ll be glad you made the trip. Two Vegas-style headline shows, an ultimate Elvis contest and as much memorabilia as you can buy, this Elvis festival is packed with fun and a hunk of burning love. Details at

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Feb 26, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Redhook finds a home between beer snobs and Bud Light

Redhook Brewery is the U.S. beer industry’s middle class.

Founded in 1982 in an old transmission shop in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Redhook went from a craft beer pioneer to a scorned outcast with little to lose. Founders Paul Shipman and Gary Bowker have been out of the picture for years. Anheuser-Busch

BUD, +2.45%

 bought a 25% stake in the brewery for $18 million back in 1995 and upped its stake to 32.2% when Redhook joined what is now known as the Craft Brew Alliance in 2007.

For years, Redhook drifted aimlessly — tethered to an ill-defined hippie/yuppie personality with a sprawling catalog of beers with names like Rope Swing and Mudslinger. Finally, in 2011, the folks in charge of the brand decided they’d had enough of pouring faceless beer to a group of drinkers constantly wailing about how they felt its ESB and Longhammer IPA weren’t as good as they were before the sale. Craft didn’t want them, and they didn’t want to brew light lager, so they aimed for the space in between.

“We just hired a new creative agency, and we talked about being in the middle and how it’s saturated most of the time, but it really is a void,” says Karmen Olson, Redhook’s brand manager. “Nobody’s willing to go there, but we’re like ‘We’re in the middle and we’re gonna own it.’ We’re totally good with being in the middle, and this is exactly where we want to be.”

In this case, the middle means males 21 to 34 years old, which means sports, jokes and the occasional spokesmodel. In 2011, Redhook signed a partnership with former ESPN personality and current NBCSports host Dan Patrick that got Redhook mentions on the show, slapped Patrick’s name on the brewery’s malty Audible Ale and spawned events like the giveaway of a rolling “man cave” and trips with Patrick to the Super Bowl. In 2012, Redhook partnered with the Emerald City Supporters — a supporter group for Major League Soccer — to brew No Equal Amber Lager and followed it up with No Equal Blonde in 2014.

In 2013, Redhook reached an agreement with Buffalo Wild Wings

BWLD, -0.37%

 to brew Game Changer Pale Ale exclusively for the restaurant chain and to put its beer in more than 900 restaurants. It also padded its list of partners by teaming with hoax and celeb-worship site TheChive on its KCCO (“Keep Calm, Chive On”) black lager later that year.

Last year, Redhook recruited former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Joe Tafoya to help brew and promote its False Start Session IPA. However, no deal Redhook has made in the past four years matches the $3.5 million, six-month partnership it just entered with Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s to promote the chain’s Redhook beer-battered cod sandwich for Lent. Because Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s aim for the same target demographic as Redhook, the television ads for that cod sandwich look like this:

“There are definitely lots of female Redhook drinkers, especially in Seattle, but at some point you have to draw a line in the sand and declare who you’re targeting,” Olson says. “I’m totally OK with declaring that I’m targeting young males, if that’s not so obvious by now.”

It helps when that strategy is working. In 2013, with Craft Brew Alliance sales up 7.6% and overall beer sales down nearly 2%, Redhook saw its own sales jump 13.6% to nearly 217,000 of CBA’s 726,000 barrels. That made it a far smaller brewery than Samuel Adams producer Boston Beer Co.

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 (2.9 million barrels in 2013), Sierra Nevada (980,000), New Belgium (792,000) or Lagunitas (400,000), but larger than Brooklyn Brewing (216,000), Stone (213,000) or Dogfish Head (202,000).

A 12% boost in sales across the board for CBA in 2014 and a 5% jump in Redhook sales only bolstered the brewer’s position.

As a result, Redhook has jumped into a spot that craft beer has generally shunned and that larger brewers — including Redhook’s shareholders and distribution partners at A-B — are shying away from. Redhook got a reminder of this when A-B, in part reacting to a multiyear slide in light lager sales, ended a spate of craft brewery purchases by picking up Seattle’s Elysian Brewing in January. In a town where it isn’t the wholly owned subsidiary of A-B that Elysian is and isn’t quite as independent as brewers like Fremont Brewing and Schooner Exact brewing are, Redhook finds itself in a beer demilitarized zone where seemingly none of the rules apply.

In Seattle, that’s not such a bad place to be. It means that cans of its Longhammer IPA are welcomed at Seahawks games at CenturyLink Field and Mariners games at Safeco, but Nick Crandall is also welcomed at Seattle-area craft breweries including Hilliard’s, Black Raven and Triple Rock to collaborate with other brewers on small-batch beers. That the ESB they were making back when Microsoft

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Nirvana and playoff-caliber Sonics teams were just coming into being can still be one of the best-selling beers in the city today. It means that the brewery that Olson considers Seattle brewers’ “hip uncle” from the suburbs after it moved more than a half hour outside the city to Woodinville, Wash., more than 20 years ago can now consider buying a pied-a-terre brewpub in its old neighborhood. (Though Olson admits that plan, which she’s pitched routinely, wouldn’t take effect until late 2016 at the latest.)

“Making it exclusive is part of it, to make Seattle beer drinkers feel special because they [expletive] are, but also so we can be good at it,” Olson says. “When we try to spread everything like peanut butter across the country, we trip up sometimes. It’s hard to manage that from the pure logistics of things.”

Yes, it still has a brewery in Portsmouth, N.H., that it opened 20 years ago and still doesn’t quite know what to do with it — other than contribute to local beer festivals and distribute coasters reading “Born in Seattle, raised in Portsmouth.” Yes, there’s still that 32.2% A-B stake. But at a time when one of Seattle’s most respected craft breweries is wholly owned by A-B and one of its oldest, Pyramid Breweries, is owned by a Costa Rican umbrella company that also brews Genny Cream Ale, there’s a level of security in being somewhere in between upstart craft brewers and fully absorbed subsidiaries of a big brewery. It’s why Redhook can slap 35th anniversary labels on its ESB, pour it into 16-ounce cans and go tailgating this summer. It’s decades beyond its coolest years, but isn’t hunched over a cubicle in some corporate office with all its rough edges rounded off. It’s somewhere in between, and it isn’t such a bad place to be.

“We’re staying really true to who we are because, back then, it wasn’t about delivering the most crafty experience or super-artisan anything. It was just good [expletive] beer, it was a better beer,” Olson says. “It’s the same thing now: We’re not trying to be something that we’re not. We brew good beer, we’re good at it and we do it consistently, which is really [expletive] hard.”

Jason Notte is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post and Esquire. Notte received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 1998. Follow him on Twitter @Notteham.

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Feb 26, 2015
Freddie Kitson

Michigan Brewer’s Guild’s Winter Beer Fest is tomorrow and there are …

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    The Michigan Brewer’s Guild throws, arguably, the most well-respected beer festivals in the state. They’re known for their yearly summer fete that takes place at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti as well as an autumnal affair held at Eastern Market. Their events almost always sell out. 

    Tomorrow the 10th annual Winter Beer Fest starts and surprisingly there are still tickets available for the Friday night portion of the festival (tickets for Saturday are sold out). Here’s the catch though, folks, Winter Beer Fest takes place in Comstock Park, which is just north of Grand Rapids.

    The Friday portion runs from 3 to 7 p.m., so if you can wrangle the day off, it might be worth the nearly 1000 different craft beers that will be available to sample. Over 100 Michigan craft breweries will be on-site with their goods and there will be music, food, and other entertainment. 

    Click here to grab tickets while they still last. They’re $45 plus a $4 service fee for buying them online. 

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    Feb 25, 2015
    Freddie Kitson

    Almost time for the Craft Brew Races!

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      IT’s BECOME commonplace to see two seemingly disparate things handed out together at road race finish lines: Medals and cups of beer.

      The science behind rehydrating with beer may be mixed, but a Venn diagram showing individuals who participate in athletic endeavors has a sizable wedge that overlaps with those who enjoy knocking back a few cold ones.

      Typically, the free finish line beer has “light” or “ultra” appended to the brewery name. These are thin mouthfeel, low-calorie beverages that simulate only a small part of the experience of drinking a traditional German lager. The team at Craft Brew Races saw an opportunity to do something more ambitious. They developed a race series that doesn’t provide a gratis cup of yellow fizzy water at the finish line, but instead has a full craft beer festival awaiting the worthy finishers.

      The combination 5K and craft beer festival makes its Savannah debut on Sunday, March 15 and will be held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. The race starts at noon and the festival commences immediately thereafter and lasts until 4 PM. It’s a “21 and over” only event. Tickets can be purchased for the run and festival, just the festival, or as a designated driver at

      There will be a strong local influence, with at least fourteen of the 30+ breweries in attendance based in Georgia. The race features individual and team awards as well as a costume contest.

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        Founder Matt Gray of Gray Matter Marketing sat in on Episode 56 of the Brew / Drink / Run podcast to talk about Craft Brew Races. Here are some highlights from the conversation:

        Brew / Drink / Run: Whose idea was it to put running and the beer festival concept together?

        Matt Gray: “We saw opportunities in road races and beer festivals, and after a year of putting on both, we saw a great crossover in people attending both events. Beer and running go hand in hand.”

        How do you decide which breweries will be at the festival?

        MG: “We’ve had the opportunity to reach out through social media to a lot of folks. We pretty much target every brewery in the geographic area where our event is being held. We reached out to all the Savannah-based breweries first. We’ve had a great response.

        We buy all the beer from the craft breweries. Whether you’re a small brewery like Second Self or a big nationwide brewery like Sam Adams. We purchase the beer because we want to show our respect to the brewers for the craft that they’re creating for us. The race and festival generate enough money for us to sit back and go “we did a great thing here;” but it really is important for us to give back to the brewers and make sure they feel not just welcome, but that we’re celebrating what they do and what they’ve brought to the local economy. As a small business, it’s important for us to share in that.

        We also partner with the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild… In places like Savannah and even Charleston, giving back is hopefully going to mean big things in the future as the emphasis on local breweries becomes more important to the state’s economy.”

        How did Savannah come on your radar?

        MG: “Savannah is obviously a beautiful destination. That’s a great reason to come there. We know the running community is very strong and the Rock and Roll Marathon has been very popular. But personally, I have relatives through my wife who live down there and it’s a tremendous excuse to come down and visit them. It worked out when we reached out to the Savannah Sports Council and travel and tourism bureau and were welcomed with the concept from the outset, which was a huge thing for us. We’re very, very happy with the positive response we’ve had.”

        The Savannah race is happening on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day. Did that influence your choice of dates at all?

        MG: “Actually, it did not. We have a variety of other races and festivals that we produce and it just happened to be that weekend was a target weekend where the convention center was open. As an Irish-American, I’m very excited to be down there. Strangely enough, it was more coincidental than you might think.”

        Coincidence or not, expect a strong turnout for Craft Brew Races’ first-ever Savannah event on March 15. Between the local beer and running communities and the influx of tourists for the holiday week, this promises to be a very well-attended festival, and hopefully one that will return in 2016.

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