Browsing articles in "beer festivals"
Oct 14, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Portland, Oregon vs. San Diego: What’s the Better Beer City?

Portland, Oregon vs. San Diego: What's the Better Beer City?

Each week, Yahoo Travel pits rival destinations against each other to determine once and for all which place is the best. This week it’s Portland, Ore., vs. San Diego for the title of best beer city.

The case for Portland, by Heather Hansman

This is hardly a contest. Sure, San Diego has stalwarts like Stone Brewing Company and sunny patios prime for afternoon drinking, but it can’t match Portland’s creativity, commitment, and embedded beer culture. Everything that makes Portland Portland — like its commitment to small-batch, local, and handcrafted creations and its unconventional tendencies — also makes for good beer. And in classic hipster fashion, Portland has been brewing craft beers since before it was cool. The microbrew scene has been around since the early ’80s with the BridgePort and Widmer Brothers breweries, and it’s still thriving and growing.

portland beer

Portland has a lot of craft brews. (Photo: Getty Images)

Number of breweries: 56 in the city of Portland, and 76 in the Portland metro area. Oregon boasts the most breweries per capita, and PDX has the most breweries of any city in the country, according to the Brewers Association. Not bad for a city of just over 600,000.

portland beer

Portland has an annual Fruit Beer Festival. (Photo: Will Vanlue/Flickr)

Festivals: There’s a beer festival almost every weekend, and they range from the highly specific — like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival in June — to the huge. The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the biggest in the country. Mark your calendar for December’s Holiday Ale Festival, where local breweries make seasonal beers specifically for the celebration. Sometimes they even let California stragglers, like Bear Republic, show up.

Awards: There are too many award-winning Portland beers to name, but a good entry point is Breakside Brewery’s IPA, which won a gold medal for American Style IPA at this year’s North American Beer Awards.

 Related: Brewed to Perfection: The Best Beer in Every State

portland beer

Kennedy Elementary School has been turned into a beer lover’s hotel dreams. (Photo: McMenamins/Facebook)

Beer-themed hotel: The McMenamin brothers started one of the first breweries in Portland in the early ’80s and then went on to open hotels and music venues across the state. Stay at the McMenamin’s Kennedy School in Northeast, an elementary school that’s been renovated and turned into a hotel. Drink in the classrooms, then work off your hangover in the soaking pool in the former teacher’s lounge. 

portland beer

Making falafel at Wolf and Bear’s (Photo: Wolf and Bear’s/Facebook)

Best beer/food pairing: Portland also has a justifiable reputation as one of the best food towns in the country, so the options are varied and very good. At the food cart pod on Southeast 28th and Ankeny, you can get falafel at Wolf and Bear’s or pasta at Burrasca to eat with your brews from the Captured by Porches Beer Bus.

portland beer

Beer from a mini mart? Only in Portland. (Photo: John Biehler/Flickr)

Most obscure/scenic/interesting place to get a beer: In Portland, and in Oregon in general, even lowly gas stations and bodegas are ripe with local microbrews. You can top off a growler at hole-in-the-wall corner stores, like the 39th Street Mini Mart, which is usually the cheapest place in town to fill up on high quality beers.

Related: Thursday Night: Portland, Oregon

portland beer

Fred Eckhardt (Photo: Jeff Alworth/Flickr)

Notable beer personalities: Legendary beer writer Fred Eckhardt has been writing about beer in the Portland area and beyond since the ’80s. When he turned 80, the Portland beer community put on Fred Fest for his birthday in May. This year will mark the ninth anniversary of this celebration.

portland beer

Make sure your bike has a basket so you can get your beer home. (Photo: Will Vanlue/Flickr)

Best way to do a brewery tour: Bikes are just as popular as beers in Portland, so a two-wheeled brewery tour is the local way to go. It’s so standard that there’s even a book about the best way to do it. “Hop in the Saddle” is a guidebook about biking the Portland craft beer scene. It includes maps of five different bike routes.

portland beer

Grab a tasty brew from Hair of the Dog. (Photo: francisco delatorre/Flickr)

Best beer neighborhood: No quadrant of Portland will leave you thirsty, but the Southeast has a particularly high concentration of small-scale breweries. Go to Hair of the Dog, Portland’s original cult-status microbrewery.


The S’more beer from Base Camp Brewery (Photo: Patrick M/Flickr)

Most interesting beer: Base Camp Brewing Company’s S’more Stout sounds and looks like a novelty beer, but it’s surprisingly complicated and delicious. And, despite the fact that it comes with a roasted marshmallow on the rim, it’s not too sweet.

The case for San Diego, by Spencer Spellman 

To pit San Diego’s beer prowess against Portland’s is like comparing red velvet cake to fruitcake. San Diego’s history of brewing beer dates back more than 100 years, which sets it apart from many cities today that claim they have the best beer. Portland may have the most breweries of any city, but quantity doesn’t always trump quality, with San Diego often being referred to as the “Craft Beer Capital of America.” San Diego got its craft beer kick-start in the 1980s, long before many other “beer cities,” when award-winning brewery Karl Strauss Brewing Company opened its doors, with many others following suit.

san diego beer

San Diego’s beer history goes further back than that of its rivals. (Photo: slworking2/Flickr)

Number of breweries: There are more than 100 licensed brewhouses (and another 50 planned) in San Diego, including both brewpubs and breweries, many of which, like Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, and Pizza Port, have several brewpubs. That number, however, applies to San Diego County as a whole, rather than San Diego proper.

san diego beer

A taste of San Diego Beer Week (Photo: crosby_cj/Flickr)

Festivals: There are simply too many San Diego beer festivals to name them all. San Diego Beer Week alone is home to hundreds of events that will take place throughout San Diego County in early November, starting with the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival. Most notably, however, is the San Diego International Beer Festival, which is the largest West Coast beer festival. Other notable gatherings include the San Diego Festival of Beer, San Diego Winter Brew Fest, and San Diego Beer Festival.

san diego beer

Award-winning Ballast Point Brewery is a must-visit. (Photo: beccacantpark/Flickr)

Awards: Where do I even start? Karl Strauss Brewing Company alone has won 64 medals over the last four years. Great American Beer Festival winners in 2013 for San Diego include gold for Monkey Paw’s Bonobos and bronze for Pizza Port’s Kung Fu Elvis in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category. Ballast Point has won several medals at the Great American Beer Festival and three gold medals and “Small Brewery Champion” at the World Beer Cup.

san diego beer

Golf and an Even Keel IPA at Rancho Bernardo Inn is a nice way to spend the afternoon. (Photo: Rancho Bernardo Inn/Facebook)

Beer-themed hotel: San Diego hotels are starting to cater to beer enthusiasts. Rancho Bernardo Inn, for example, features a beer-tasting package that includes tickets to several local breweries, including Ballast Point. Stone Brewing, however, is the first San Diego brewery to announce plans to develop a hotel.

Related: Smackdown: Chicago vs. New York City

san diego beer

Local Habit’s food and beer pairings always deliver on flavor. (Photo: Local Habit/Facebook)

Best beer/food pairing: Beer and greasy food just seem to go hand-in-hand. But beer and fresh organic food from local farms? Naturally, if anywhere is going to do it well, it’s going to be California. And that’s what you’ll find at Local Habit, where craft beers are paired with organic food from local farms. A recent pairing matched Creole potato salad with bacon and shrimp with Sudwerk’s Coffee Vanilla Porter.

san diego beer

A good PSA from Barberside (Photo:

Most obscure/scenic/interesting place to get a beer: When was the last time you were greeted at a barbershop with a beer? Exactly! Well you can do just that at Barberside, an old-school barbershop, where patrons are asked if they’d like a beer when they walk in to get a haircut.


Dr. Bill (Photo: Twitter)

Notable beer personalities: While there are a lot of beer personalities and writers in San Diego, it’s hard to deny the expertise of Bill Sysak, or as he’s largely known in the beer community, Dr. Bill. He is the Craft Beer Ambassador for Stone Brewing and a Master Cicerone, the final level of certification. In other words, the guy knows his beer, and equally as important, he knows how to pair it with food.

Related: Brewmasters Delight: The Most Loved U.S. Craft Breweries

san diego beer

A military approach to beer (Photo: Scavengers Beer and Adventure Tours)

Best way to do a brewery tour: Portland can keep its bicycling brewery tours because San Diego has its own open-air brewery tour — from within a 12-seat Swiss military vehicle called a Pinzgauer (pronounced pinz-gow-er) — with Scavengers Beer and Adventure Tours. Winner, winner, brewery dinner. The tour includes a visit to three craft breweries, a production tour of one brewery, four to six tasters at each stop, a meal from Famous Phil’s BBQ, and a souvenir 6-ounce tasting glass.

Best beer neighborhood: With more than 100 breweries and brewpubs spread throughout the county, you won’t have a problem finding a plethora of watering holes. However, the highest concentration of brewhouses can be found in North County, often referred to as Hops Highway because the stretch of Highway 78  is lined with breweries and brewpubs.

san diego beer

Try the Coffee Milk Stout at Monkey Paw. (Photo: Monkey Paw Brewery)

Most interesting beer: If you like experimenting with beer, look no further than Monkey Paw Brewery, which offers its guests interesting brews such as Brainfood and Great Ape Nectar. Their most interesting beer, however, has to be one of their sweet stouts, the Coffee Milk Stout, a sweet beer with a chocolate and caramel finish, thanks to the 55 pounds of dulce de leche and 5 pounds of coffee beans.

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Oct 13, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Under cloudy skies, Good Beer pours

Apparently, size doesn’t matter. At least not at the Good Beer Festival, where enthusiasts sipped greater varieties of craft beer from tasting glasses they grumbled were smaller.

“The festival always grows but the glasses always get smaller,” said Zachary Howard, a Cambridge resident. Howard attended the festival in past years as a student at Salisbury University. He returned this year as a graduate, pleased with the growing number of vendors and beer-pouring stations, but grumbling about tasting glasses he insisted were smaller.

“There are more vendors, quality vendors,” he said. “So it’s good.”

Intermittent drizzles and overcast skies didn’t dampen spirits of an estimated 1,000 enthusiasts who strolled carefree Saturday through Pemberton Historical Park west of Salisbury on opening day of the Good Beer Festival which runs through today.

Festivalgoers didn’t mind cloudy skies and chilly temperatures, saying that sunny, summer-like weather could have swelled crowds and created longer lines for beer, food and arts and crafts.

“I came before as a student and had a lot of fun, so I came back this year and brought friends,” said Leah Visakowitz of Baltimore. “It’s the perfect crowd because you don’t have to wait in lines too long.”

Anthony Bamford of Baltimore discovered chimney cakes by vendor Chimney Cake Express of Laurel, Delaware. The spiraled, baked, sweet-dough pastry is served garnished with cinnamon, sprinkles or other toppings and compared to fried funnel cake.

“We were talking about what a chimney cake is — it’s really good,” Bamford said. “It’s good here because it’s soft with a gentle sweetness and goes good with beer.”

The annual event sponsored by the Wicomico County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism has a goal of between 2,500 and 3,000 festivalgoers before the event ends at 6:30 p.m. today.

At least 1,400 advanced tickets had sold by Saturday’s opening day, said Andy Kitzrow, an event planner. People concerned about the weather likely waited and purchased tickets at the gate, he said.

“Last year, it was a great atmosphere even with rain,” Kitzrow said. “People who really enjoy craft beer come independent of the weather.”

Enthusiasts traveled from as far as Canada to sample one of the largest beer festivals in the region, he said.

“I think what happens is that people appreciate the variety of offerings, and they will travel to a destination to enjoy them,” Kitzrow said. “We are one of the largest festivals, if not the largest, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.”

New this year is a Home Brewer’s Garden sponsored by Xtreme Brewing of Lewes. Enthusiasts stopped by to watch demonstrations and learn about making their own beer.

Today’s Home Brewer’s Garden starts 1:30 p.m. and demonstrates barrel aged beers, steps to producing lager beer, hop utilization and more.

Craft beer is relatively new to Marcus Smiley of Salisbury who, on Saturday, attended his first craft beer festival to sample bone up on the varieties.

“This is my first time,” Smiley said. “I recently started drinking craft beer, and I wanted to come out and taste everything. So here I am, drinking good beer and having a good time.”

He had 125 craft beer offerings to choose from, Kitzrow said. What’s more, beer-pouring stations have increased this year by at least four, to 16, and include local breweries in a Local Beer Garden where representatives answer questions and offer brew tips.


said enthusiasts should enjoy the festival and remember one thing:

“What’s important is that people are encouraged to drink responsibly.”

A note on the size of the apparently redesigned tasting glasses: “The glass is 3 ounces — it looks smaller, but it is the same size as before,” Kitzrow said.

On Twitter @DTDeborahGates

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Oct 11, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Three cheers for beer in Vegas!

It’s a good month to be a beer lover in Las Vegas. September gets three weekends of big beer festivals, each with its own personality. So whether your beer drinking style is that of an aficionado, block party enthusiast or an international partier, there’s somewhere for you to raise your pint.

Mandalay Bay Beer Weekend, September 12-14

Created by Mandalay Bay food and beverage director and certified cicerone Sarah Johnson, this three-day extravaganza kicks off tonight and goes through Sunday, with events taking place both day and night. Start the sudsy weekend with the five-course Brewmasters’ Dinner at Mix ($225), hosted by Johnson, Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker, and Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery. The brewmasters will talk you through the beer paired with each dish so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

Kick off your Saturday with a little beer education, the Craft Beer Revolution discussion panel (free, limited to first 100 attendees) takes place at Eyecandy Sound Lounge at 3 p.m. Johnson hosts the panel with Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy, talking all things craft beer. Hindy will also sign copies of his book, The Craft Beer Revolution, after the panel with copies available for $20.

When the sun goes down, head to Mandalay Beach for the Beer Festival ($75) where nearly 30 breweries will be set up with samples to sip. Taste your way through Lagunitas, The Bruery, New Belgium and Stillwater Artisanal, as well as locally made brews from Joseph James, Banger Brewing and Tenaya Creek. You’ll need to eat with all that beer, so make sure you cushion your stomach with bites from Sage, Yusho, Border Grill and Stripsteak.

There’s nothing wrong with Beer for Breakfast, which is exactly what chef Hubert Keller is serving bright and early on Sunday at 9 a.m. Chef Keller has rounded up special á la carte brunch items, which are of course paired with beers by Johnson.

Downtown Brew Festival, September 20

The third annual Downtown Brew Festival feels more like a block party under the stars at the Clark County Amphitheater. The evening includes live entertainment by A Crowd of Small Adventures, with Josh Royse and Daniel Park setting the mood as you drink your way through more than 150 craft beers from some 60 breweries. This year, the fest expands its craft beer and backyard motif with restaurants such as Comme Ça, DW Bistro and Forte adding more flavor to the evening. Expect exciting dishes such as crispy pig skins with chile-lime sea salt and smoked Kumamoto oysters.

If you want to go all out, the VIP Pavilion features some specialty beers that won’t be offered to general admission guests, as well as an appearance by former Chopped finalist chef Sonia El-Nawal, who opens The Perch at Downtown Container Park in late September. This marks the first appearance for Stone Brewing Co. and festival sponsor Victory Brewing Company, which will soon be making its Vegas debut.

General admission starts at $35, early entry at $45 and VIP at $75, prices go up on September 16 and September 20. Tickets will be available at the door. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit The Neon Museum and Nevada Craft Brewers Association (NCBA).

Desert Hops Festival, September 27

The festival that bills itself as the “International Beer Experience” returns poolside at the Cosmopolitan for another year, promising to be a globally inspired soiree with 150 beers from 25 different countries. Drink your way around the world through unlimited samples of brews such as Tsingtao, Innis Gunn, and Carlsberg. Snack on multi-cultural bites from Cosmo’s own lineup of restaurants. In the event you forget what country you’re in, look no further than the stellar view of the Strip.

General admission $45, VIP tickets are $65 and include early entry at 7 p.m.,

SEE MORE: Las Vegas’ best places for craft beer

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Oct 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer Town: Hotoberfest is gone but three other beer festivals live on

More October Beer Festivals

If you’re missing Hotoberfest this year, here are three other October beer festivals to check out.

Hop Harvest Festival — Saturday

Hosted by Terrapin Beer Co. at its Athens brewery, the Hop Harvest Festival always features the limited release of the fresh “wet hop” beer, So Fresh So Green, Green. Live music, food vendors, an artisan market, a community art project, and a big selection of Terrapin beer favorites, plus eight special casks, each made with a specific hop, are part of the festivities. Pre-sale glass vouchers $20, with $5 of each sale donated to the Dogwood Alliance. 4:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday. 265 Newton Bridge Road, Athens, 706-549-3377.

Decatur Craft Beer Festival — Oct. 18

One of the original community beer tasting events, the Decatur Craft Beer Festival takes place on Decatur Square, offers a limited number tickets sold online, and always sells out early. But look for over 100 curated American craft beers, showcased along with live music and food for sale from local vendors. Later, you can enjoy Decatur’s bar and restaurant scene. $40 general/$100 VIP. Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 18. Decatur Square, Decatur.

Georgia Craft Brewers Festival — Oct. 25

The Georgia Craft Beer Festival is a new outdoor festival in Candler Park featuring over 30 Georgia breweries and benefitting the Georgia Craft Beer Guild. In its second installment, the festival will feature games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, edibles from some of the city’s top food trucks, and over 100 craft beers to sample, plus early admission and other amenities for VIP ticket holders Tickets, $40-$75. Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 25. 1500 McLendon Ave., NE, Atlanta.

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Oct 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer Town: Hotoberfest is gone but other beer festivals live on


While beer lovers are celebrating the explosion of new craft breweries in Georgia, there are still some nagging questions about quantity versus quality. The same goes for beer festivals, which seem to peak this time of year.

After six years, the founders of the beer geek favorite, Hotoberfest, decided to take a break after the October 2013 edition of the festival in Historic Old Fourth Ward Park.

Alan Raines and co-founder Tryon Rosser helped start the East Atlanta Beer Festival in 2003, and launched Hotoberfest in 2008, with the big idea of creating an event that would appeal to serious beer drinkers.

But last year, Raines expressed serious misgivings about the number of beer festivals popping up around metro Atlanta, and explained the need to be different.

“When we started East Atlanta Beer Festival, there were only two others, Decatur and the one up around Perimeter Mall,” Raines said. “Since then, with the addition of all the festivals, primarily as money-generating events, we’ve really tried to add something new every year, and dial up our event to be something that stands apart from the rest.”

Raines and Rosser are planning a new, much smaller festival, which they hope to debut in June 2015. It will be based on the VIP portion of Hotoberfest, and feature rare and wood-aged beers.

“The VIP experience ticket at Hotoberfest was limited to 500 people,” Raines said, recently. “Having it smaller will eliminate a lot of the logistics and allow us to concentrate on getting great beers tapped directly from wooden barrels. And we may even incorporate some spirits tied to the barrels.

“The bottom line, I guess, is that we will leave the big festivals to the people who are doing them now. We want to attract enthusiasts interested in barrel-aged beers and a premium event. And we want to have a focus on Georgia craft beer and tie it to fundraising for the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.”

More October Beer Festivals

If you’re missing Hotoberfest this year, here some other October beer events to check out.

Hop Harvest Festival — Saturday

Hosted by Terrapin Beer Co. at its Athens brewery, the Hop Harvest Festival always features the limited release of the fresh “wet hop” beer, So Fresh So Green, Green. Live music, food vendors, an artisan market, a community art project, and a big selection of Terrapin beer favorites, plus eight special casks, each made with a specific hop, are part of the festivities. Pre-sale glass vouchers $20, with $5 of each sale donated to the Dogwood Alliance. 4:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday. 265 Newton Bridge Road, Athens, 706-549-3377.

Decatur Craft Beer Festival — Oct. 18

One of the original community beer tasting events, the Decatur Craft Beer Festival takes place on Decatur Square, offers a limited number tickets sold online, and always sells out early. But look for over 100 curated American craft beers, showcased along with live music and food for sale from local vendors. And you can always enjoy Decatur’s bar and restaurant scene. $40 general/$100 VIP. Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 18. Decatur Square, Decatur.

Georgia Craft Brewers Festival — Oct. 25

The Georgia Craft Beer Festival is a new outdoor festival in Candler Park featuring over 30 Georgia breweries and benefitting the Georgia Craft Beer Guild. In its second installment, the festival will feature games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, edibles from some of the city’s top food trucks, and over 100 craft beers to sample, plus early admission and other amenities for VIP ticket holders Tickets, $40-$75. Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 25. 1500 McLendon Ave., NE, Atlanta.

The Wing Cafe Rare Vintage Beer Brunch — Oct. 25

The Wing Cafe in Marietta is putting its own spin on Hotoberfest with its First Annual Rare Vintage Beer Brunch and Festival. Expect brunch in the dining room followed by the tasting festival around the patio and tiki bar. Among the goodies on tap, Abita Baltic Porter aged in a Pappy Van Winkle barrel, Rodenbach Foederbier, Straffe Hendrick Heritage 2012, and Terrapin Pumpkin Pie Imperial Porter. Tickets, $65, include, food, beer, collectors glass, and swag. 2145 Roswell Road, Marietta, 770-509-9464.

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Oct 4, 2014
Freddie Kitson

There’s a Donut & Beer Festival Happening this Weekend in the Boston-Area

Sure, there are plenty of beer festivals happening in the Hub this year. But there’s only one that will also incorporate the tastiest trend around – gourmet donuts.

That’s right folks – the sweetest combination is coming together this Saturday, October 4 for a Donut and Beer Festival. The event is hosted by Kappy’s Fine Wine Spirits in Malden, MA.

It will be Kappy’s first Donut and Beer Festival but, according to their Facebook page, it won’t be their last. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, patrons can stop by to enjoy Sam Adams Beer, Angry Orchard Cider, and Curious Traveler Shandy.

In addition, Kane’s Donuts will also be available to attendees. The Saugus-based doughnut shop is well known for their fantastic gourmet doughnuts. And fortunately for Bostonians, Kane’s will be bringing their tasty treats to the Hub this fall – permanently. The Boston Globe reported on Kane’s expansion plans earlier this year. The doughnut shop dubbed Kane’s Handcrafted Donuts will be opening in Boston’s International Place.

But if you’re looking to experience the artisanal treats before they land in Boston, we recommend heading to the Donut and Beer Festival tomorrow. Kappy’s is located at 325 Bennett Hwy., Route 1 north, Malden, MA.

Image via Shutterstock

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Oct 3, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer festivals coming to Canary Wharf

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Oktoberfest has arrived at the Isle of Dogs’ Millwall Park. But if German lager in a big tent doesn’t appeal then as there’s a number of other beer festivals in the area to quench your thirst.

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Oct 3, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Your guide to Kalamazoo’s fall beer festivals

Kalamazoo Oktoberfest returns to Arcadia Creek Festival Place this weekend. 

KALAMAZOO, MI — If you like trying new beers without traveling far from Kalamazoo, you’re in luck — three fall beer festivals in the city will bring the beer to you.

This weekend kicks off the first of the city’s three beer festivals. For the first time, craft beer lovers can visit these festivals to try a variety of beers from as close as Southwest Michigan’s microbreweries and from as far away as Germany. Here’s the rundown:

Kalamazoo Oktoberfest

Kalamazoo Oktoberfest and Beerfest runs from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 at Arcadia Creek Festival Place in downtown Kalamazoo. Beerfest, when attendees can meet brewers and sample beers from 17 Southwest Michigan breweries, is slated for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. 

The festival has a family friendly focus. It includes music from local bands, local food vendors and a homebrew contest. Southwest Michigan breweries participating in Beerfest including six Kalamazoo breweries, along with Round Barn Brewery, The Hideout Brewing Co. and Final Gravity Brewing Co., among others.

Admission is $5. Children under 12 and anyone wearing lederhosen or drindl get in free.

Craft beers are $5 for a 12-ounce pour. Tokens for samples during Beerfest are $1 per sample if buying 15 tokens at the door, or 4 for $5 for tokens in the festival site. Homemade lemonade and root beer will be available.

Proceeds benefit the Vine Neighborhood Association’s general operations. 


Townsquare Media will put on this festival for the first time this year from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Homer Stryker Field, the home of the Kalamazoo Growlers at 251 Mills St. in Kalamazoo.

Attendees will be able to drink American craft beers along with more than 30 German beers. Participating breweries include Kalamazoo favorites Arcadia Ales and Latitude 42, Griffin Claw Brewing, Atwater Brewery, Southern Tier and Leinenkugel Brewing, among others. Five German brands will be represented: Hof Brau, Erdinger, Augustiner, Bitburger and Shofferhofer.

Ballpark food and traditional German food will be served, including chicken schnitzel, kasekrainer and kartoffelsalat.

Tickets are $10 in advance and include a souvenir Oktobeerfest mug. Entry is restricted to people ages 21 and older. Oktobeer fest benefits, in part, Volunteer Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo Craft Beer Festival

The inaugural Kalamazoo Craft Beer Festival is slated for 1 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1. at Wings Stadium, 3600 Vanrick Dr.

 More than 50 breweries and wineries will participate in the festival, including more than 30 Michigan breweries including Dark Horse Brewing Co., Founders Brewing Co. and Right Brain Brewing Co. Out-of-state breweries participating include Dogfish Head, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co. and New Belgium.

The festival will include hops and brewing workshops, and a double-elimination “keg curling” tournament on the stadium’s ice.

Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Ticket prices include 10 tasting tokens. VIP tickets cost $60 and include 15 tasting tokens. VIP ticket holders will be admitted to the event one hour early.

Emily Monacelli covers local government and beer for the Kalamazoo Gazette. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter.

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Oct 2, 2014
Freddie Kitson

5 things to do around Ann Arbor this weekend: film festivals, Russian …

Some intriguing small film events are happening this weekend, along with a 2 day Oktoberfest street party and more. Check out the details below.

Beer-themed events. On Thursday, A2 Art Brew – a fundraiser for the Ann Arbor Art Center – invites those 21 and older to visit 8 local breweries to sample beers and hors d’oeuvres. Also, there will be a chance to view sidewalk chalk art at each brewery, designed by local artists in honor of the event. Attendees vote on “Best Brew,” “Best Bite,” and “Best Original Sidewalk Chalk Art.” Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m., beginning at the Art Center, 117 W. Liberty in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $60; for more info, visit

On Friday and Saturday, Arbor Brewing Company will host an Oktoberfest Block Party, an old-fashioned celebration with Arbor Brewing’s own beers – along with bratwurst and other food, wine, and soft drinks – served under 3 big street tents. Entertainment includes traditional German and other European dance music by The Immigrant Sons, a new Detroit-area band led by accordionist Joe Recchia. Also, polka contests, and German drinking sing-alongs. Lederhosen optional. 5 p.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday, on Washington between S. Ashley and S. Fourth Ave. in Ann Arbor. (Access to the Fourth Washington parking structure available off Main.) Free admission.

Film festivals. On Thursday, the Manhattan Short Film Festival will screen, at the Michigan Theater, the 2014 finalists from one of the largest short film festival in the world, followed by a chance to vote for your favorite. Thursday at 7 p.m. at 603 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. General admission tickets cost $10.

On Friday, check out the 3rd annual Ypsilanti 24-Hour Film Shootout screening of winners and other top entries in this competition, in which filmmakers are given 24 hours to make a film, 4-7 minutes long, that included a specified list of elements. Cash prizes. Friday at 7 p.m., WCC Morris Lawrence Bldg. Towsley Auditorium, 4800 E. Huron River Dr. in Ann Arbor. Tickets cost $10 at the door.

The Three Corpse Circus Independent Horror Film Festival happens Friday through Sunday at the State Theater (Friday night and Saturday) and the Michigan Theater (Sunday), and offers screenings of several independent short horror films in various subgenres by filmmakers from around the world, including some locally made films. Midnight on Friday night; 1:15 p.m. and midnight on Saturday night; and 2, 5, and 8 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets $10 (midnight shows, $7) per show, available in advance at For more specifics about the screenings, visit

8th annual Ghoultide Gathering. Juried show of Halloween art by more than 2 dozen artists, including whimsical painted collages and wood carvings, papier-mache sculptures, pumpkin dolls, wood-fired face jugs, sculpted witches, and more. Early admission includes a shopping tote and treats. Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Chelsea Fairgrounds, 20501 W. Old US-12 (west off Main St.) in Chelsea. $20 (admission after 10 a.m., $5; kids age 10 under, free). No strollers.

2nd Annual Ann Arbor Russian Festival. This event will feature Russian Ukrainian folk music and performances by Moscow Nights Band, St. Vladimir’s Dance Group and the Russian Ballet Academy of Michigan. Come enjoy Slavic cuisine, Russian beer, and an infused vodka tasting. There will also be events for kids, including a puppet show, a petting zoo, a bounce house, hair braiding and games and crafts. (Free admission and parking on Saturday.) Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. St. Vladimir Orthodox Church, 9900 Jackson Rd. in Dexter.

Loudon Wainwright III at the Ark. Loudon Wainwright III, or LW3 for short, is a cherished icon of American folk music, a darkly witty and touchingly personal songwriter and storyteller. He started out in the folk clubs of New York and Boston before going on to a long career that’s encompassed both music and acting. He has given birth to over 20 albums (as well as fathering some very successful musical offspring), written folk classics including “Dead Skunk” and “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry,” and created music for film and theater. The “Boardwalk Empire” soundtrack, including LW3 music, just won a Grammy. Wainwright’s most recent project is his one-man play entitled “Surviving Twin,” which the singer-songwriter calls a “posthumous collaboration” with his writer father. Saturday at 8 p.m. at The Ark, 316 S. Main in Ann Arbor, and tickets cost $25, available in advance at,, or 734-763-TKTS.

Jenn McKee is an entertainment reporter for The Ann Arbor News. Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.

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Oct 1, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Spiegeltent Adds Authentic Flavor to Local Beer Festivals …

Two consecutive beer festivals, The Belgians Are Coming and the Santa Clarita Oktoberfest, are happening this October in the Santa Clarita Valley. Both events will take place in and around an authentic, retro Belgian Spiegeltent, located at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. Dutch for “mirror tents”, Spiegeltents were built around 1900 in Belgium to be used as traveling dance halls. The numerous spiegels, or mirrors, in the interior of the tent, made it possible to make discreet eye contact with other visitors.

These mirror tents were the environment of night owls, heartbreakers and dream chasers. Spiegeltents are legendary, and have become a symbol of the wild fin-de-siecle nightlife. Very few of these unique tents have survived the test of time. “Cristal Palace”, the Spiegeltent that will be featured during the festival events in Santa Clarita, has been a monumental attraction in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands, since 1947. The russet-colored ambiance of mahogany, and the sparkles from the facetted mirrors provide the visitors with a taste of genuine nostalgia. West Coast Spiegeltents, a Santa Clarita based company, is proud to bring this exclusive environment for the first time ever to Southern California. Don’t miss the chance to experience this exceptional flavor of old world beer culture!
Special thanks to the Klessens family, the 4th generation Belgian Spiegeltent builders for making this happen.

The Belgians Are Coming Back In Style!

The third edition of The Belgians Are Coming – Belgian Beer Fest on Saturday, October 11, found its origin in the desire to guide guests through the fascinating history of the Belgian brewers and their beers, and fall in love with the passion behind the labels. Although in the past, exclusively Belgian import beers were featured during the festival, this year we have opened up the event to domestic craft brewers who would like to feature their Belgian style beers.  Food will be available for purchase through a variety of food vendors.
The addition of the vintage environment of the Cristal Palace Flemish Spiegeltent makes The Belgians Are Coming Belgian Beer Fest the most authentic craft beer festival in California.
If you are a craft beer lover, you must attend!  A select group of fine wineries will be present for the non-beer lovers …

Quick facts:
Date: Saturday, October 11, from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Location: Spiegeltent – Westfield Valencia Town Center, Sears Parking Lot
Tickets: $59 in advance, $69 at the door. 21 and over only. No exceptions!
Includes: general admission, beer and wine tasting in the general area, and bottled water.
Food will be available for purchase during the event.

“Santa Clarita Oktoberfest” …

The inaugural Santa Clarita Oktoberfest taking place on Saturday, October 18, is a tribute to the original Oktoberfest held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The Bavarian festival is 16 days long with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year. At the Santa Clarita edition, a variety of German and German-style beers will be poured in our Cristal Palace Flemish Spiegeltent, adding to the authentic ambiance. German foods, music, and games will complete your Munich-in-the-Santa Clarita Valley experience. Although the Santa Clarita Oktoberfest is a beer fest, we will also pour some of the finest German wines available on the US market.

Quick facts:
Date: Saturday, October 18, from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Location: Spiegeltent – Westfield Valencia Town Center, Sears Parking
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. 21 and over only. No exceptions.
Includes: general festival admission, first stein of beer (500ml) or glass of wine, and bottled water. 
Food will be available for purchase during the event.
For more information or tickets to both festivals, visit
A portion of the proceeds benefits the Repertory East Playhouse in Newhall.
Certain dates are available for rent for private/corporate daytime/evening activities.
If you, your company, or organization would like to become a volunteer, festival sponsor,
or vendor, please contact us at

BONUS!  For a limited time, if you buy a ticket to The Belgians Are Coming – Belgian Beer Fest, you will receive a promo code for a Buy-One-Get-One admission into the Santa Clarita Oktoberfest on Saturday October 18. That’s a $25 discount. Now that’s just crazy!

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