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Nov 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Belgian Beer Festival set for Saturday in Cambridge

Belgian Beer Festival

Belgian Beer Festival

The third annual Belgian Beer Festival is set for Saturday, Nov. 8, in downtown Cambridge.

Posted: Friday, November 7, 2014 10:15 am

Belgian Beer Festival set for Saturday in Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE — The third annual Belgian Beer Festival will bring area brews and brewers to downtown Cambridge on Saturday, Nov. 8.

The outdoor street festival, hosted by the High Spot Gastropub, will feature Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews from Evolution Craft Brewing Company, The Brewer’s Art, Burley Oak Brewing Company, Union Craft Brewing, Eastern Shore Brewing, Flying Dog Brewery, Stillwater Artisanal, Heavy Seas Beer, Tall Tales Brewery and Cambridge’s RAR Brewing.

“Cambridge continues to grow as a destination for beer and food lovers, and our beer festivals are part of the reason why,” said Chef Patrick Fanning of the High Spot. “We’re happy we’re able to give people the chance to sample some great brews from Belgium and from right here in Maryland.”

The festival will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. in the 300-block of High Street, which will be closed to traffic during the event. Admission is $20, and includes a tasting glass and unlimited tastes.

Local band Blackwater will provide music.

Food will be prepared by local restaurants, including the High Spot, Stoked, Ocean Odyssey Seafood Restaurant and Portside Seafood Restaurant. Crabi Gras will serve orange crushes and Bloody Marys.

Nov. 8 is also Second Saturday in downtown Cambridge, with shops and art galleries staying open late with free receptions, sales and more.

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Friday, November 7, 2014 10:15 am.

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The High Spot,

Patrick Fanning,

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Nov 7, 2014
Freddie Kitson

The Best Food Events in St. Louis This Weekend: November 7 to 9

slowfood-scene.jpgThe Art of Food 2011. | Bryan Peters

It doesn’t feel like November quite yet, and we’re not complaining. Plus, the beer festivals are still going strong! Get out of the house this weekend for Budweiser’s Brew Fest, a chili cookoff, or even a fairy-tale tea party. Continue on for our food-related recommendations.

See also: Thrillist Names Pastaria the Best Pizza in Missouri

Friday (Nov. 7):

Holiday Open House @ Veritas Gateway to Food and Wine

Veritas is truly a wine-lover’s dream. If you haven’t yet checked it out for yourself, take advantage of this weekend’s holiday open house. There will be plenty of samples, gift ideas, lunch specials, hostess gifts, drink specials and more. Might as well get something to eat while you’re at it! Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Farm to Fork: Holiday Edition @ 360 St. Louis

Chef Rex Hale (also of the Restaurant at the Cheshire) has paired with local purveyors for this fall tasting event. Sample cheeses, wines, beers, meats and produce, and buy the perfect holiday gifts for your friends and family. Participants include Salume Beddu, Marcoot Farms Dairy, Earth Dance Farms, Rain Crow Ranch, Baetje Farms, Ozark Forest Mushrooms, Augusta Vineyards, Montelle Vineyards, St. James Winery, Chaumette Vineyards and Winery, Ludwig Farmstead Creamery, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company and Big O Orange Liqueur. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $40 gets you unlimited wine, beer and food; tickets are available here.

Art of Food @ the Luminary

Slow Food St. Louis is back with its annual fundraiser, featuring the best chefs in St. Louis. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit’s educational programs as well as its microgrants for small farms. Each small plate at the event will be paired with a local craft beer, wine or cocktail. Enjoy eats from Cassy Vires, Kevin Nashan, Kevin Willmann, Josh Galliano, Chris Dessens, Gerard Craft, Dave Bailey, Brian Pelletier, Mark Sanfilippo, John Perkins, Jamie Tochtrop, Chris Bolyard, Carl Hazel, Jason Tilford, Ed Heath, Mike Miller and Chris Meyer and Mary Boehne, plus Kalid’s Coffee and Perennial Artisan Ales. See? We weren’t joking — it’s seriously a who’s who of the St. Louis dining scene. There will also be live music from the One Take Band. From 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $50 for members and $60 for non-members, available here.

A Taste of Lemay @ Hancock Place Elementary School

Support the Hancock Place Elementary School and Lemay Chamber of Commerce at this tasting event. Try food, drink and desserts from local restaurants, bakeries and caterers. From 5 to 9 p.m. Admission is $10 each.

Saturday (Nov. 8):

Gateway Cupcake Run and Bottle Dash 5K @ Downtown St. Louis

If you hate running, maybe some cupcakes will motivate you. At the third annual run/walk, eat a cupcake at each station (roughly every kilometer) for a five-minute time deduction (or eat a mini cupcake for a two-minute deduction). First-place winners will get a twenty-person boxing-class party from Sweat Fitness with appetizers and drinks. Second and third place winners will get an in-home wine tasting from PRP Wine International for up to twelve people. There are also other races and competitions. The event benefits the Lift for Life Foundation. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is $50 on race day.

Fairy Tale Tea @ the Magic House

Dine like royalty at this special event for your favorite little princes and princesses. Kids can enjoy a live production of Cinderella, meet and get autographs from Cinderella, the Prince and the fairy godmother. There will also be tea, apple juice and pastries. Kids will also get a special bejeweled crown to take home. There are seatings on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 each.

Budweiser Brew Fest @ Ballpark Village

“The Ballpark Village Brew Fest by Budweiser is all about beer, as the name implies. Guests can sample home-brewed beer made by seven local clubs and get schooled on how to make their own — just in time for finding that winter hobby you’ll need to stay sane when you’re cooped up in the house. Live music, food trucks and photos with a Budweiser Clydesdale round out the festival. While all that’s going on, judges will be determining which of those seven home-brew clubs have made the best American IPA. The Ballpark Village Brew Fest takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 to $75.”

Well Crafted @ the Power Plant Building

Join ALIVE magazine at this “carefully curated experience for the refined St. Louisan.” There will be local vendors selling hand-crafted goods and services, plus, most importantly, a bourbon tasting from Knob Creek and appetizers from Element. From 6 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $15-$75, available here.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at

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Nov 6, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Craft Beer Expo: A ‘Taste’ Of What To Expect

by Laura Monteverdi, Reporter
November 06, 2014 6:29 AM
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It’s an event that’s been brewing in Sioux Falls for some time -the opportunity to show off the craft brewery industry in South Dakota and across the country and sample over 40 different craft beers.

This weekend, dedicated beer lovers can come together to do just that at the first ever Sioux Falls Craft Beer Expo taking place at the Convention Center.

On Thursday morning, organizer of Chop Liver Craft Beer Festivals, Mark Opdahl, stopped by the KDLT Orange Couch to give us a taste of what to expect.

The Sioux Falls Craft Beer Expo will be held on  Saturday, November 8th from 2pm – 6pm. Attendees to the expo will have the opportunity to sample beers from over 40 different craft breweries in a commemorative sampling glass. In addition to this, they can enjoy educational seminars throughout the day covering subjects such as food pairing, home brewing, and the history of brewing.

A Silent Auction will take place with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the JY6 Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on funding research in the areas of pediatric oncology and leukemia research.

For more information on the event or how to purchase tickets, click here.

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Nov 6, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Syracuse Beer Fest emphasizes festival experience, features beers across US

For the thirstiest of the ‘Cuse nation, one way to kick off Syracuse Beer Week is with the Syracuse Beer Festival.

American On Tap, the largest producer of craft beer festivals in the country, puts on the Syracuse Beer Fest. The company, based out of Albany, has been hosting beer festivals throughout the U.S. since 2009. The Syracuse Beer Fest will be held at the Oncenter Convention Center Friday at 6 p.m. with a special VIP “Hoppy hour” beginning at 5 p.m.

This will be the second year that America On Tap has brought a craft beer festival to Syracuse. The first was in 2012, when the festival was held at the Syracuse Chiefs’ NBT Bank Stadium. After struggling with a location, the festival was forced to skip Syracuse last year. AJ Boddan, the vice president of Townsquare Media, which hosts America On Tap, said the festival is happy to be back and at the Oncenter this year, which he considers an ideal location.

America On Tap’s events differ from other beer festivals because they enforce an “open festival” style event. Beers are served from breweries throughout the country, as opposed to just promoting local craft beers from a particular region.

“Our goal is to put together the best variety of beer under one roof,” Boddan said.

The festival will feature 50 breweries nationwide and 25 breweries from New York. In total the festival will include a minimum of 70 breweries, each of which are required to serve two craft beers. Boddan estimates a total of about 150 brews for guests to choose from.

“We’ll have everything from small local brewies to the Sam Adam’s of the world,” he said.

Boddan added that the motive behind “open” beer festivals is to educate people about beer. The crowd is given the opportunity to sample a wide variety of beers, which helps them become more educated on the types of craft beers available to order at a local pub or purchase at the grocery store.

In addition to a variety of craft beers, the Syracuse Beer Fest will also feature live music, games, food and a silent disco.

“The idea behind a beer festival is that while it is about the beer, that is not the only thing going on,” Boddan said.

The silent disco will occupy a 30-by-30 space within the Oncenter where a DJ will play two different types of music. The music can only be heard from the set of headphones worn by the attendees, with only two channels to choose from.

“From the outside looking in, you have 100 people singing and dancing to music you can’t hear,” said Boddan, who thinks the silent disco will add a fun and crazy party element to the event.

David Kern, a student representative for the Syracuse Beer Fest, said transportation will be provided from Armory Square to the Oncenter so visitors can get back and forth easily. If 50 or more Syracuse University students sign up using a special online promo code, Kern added, an additional shuttle will be provided to ride students coming from campus.

Kern thinks the festival is a great way to “experience local culture and get a little buzz” and recommends using the event as a pregame experience.

“I think students should try to do something new every weekend, and this is one of those unique experiences to take advantage of,” Kern said.

Visitors can also play air hockey, foosball and other games through vendors that will be scattered around the event.

“It is more than just coming into a room and drinking beer for three hours,” Boddan said. “The selection of beer is tremendous and the level of entertainment is unique.

“That is something you won’t find at any other beer festival.”

November 6, 2014 at 12:01 am

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Nov 6, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Three November Beer Festivals in Warm Weather Locations

The South Florida BrewFest North Miami, FL

When it comes to warm weather nothing beats South Florida, so even though its just November its not a bad idea to hop a flight down to the Sunshine State. The South Florida BrewFest is scheduled to do its thing on Saturday, November 22 over at Florida International University in North Miami. Its outdoorsso bring the sunblockas you enjoy ales and lagers from around Florida. All in all theyre offering up over 100 different options from across 25 different breweries. Tickets will start at $30, and that will get you in on all the funcheers!

Bayou Beer Fest Houma, LA

Sitting about an hour outside of New Orleans is the site of this years Bayou Beer Fest on Saturday, November 15. Tickets start at $30, and that will get you into the doors and access to plenty of options from local breweries. Organizers are promising more than 200 different craft beer options, and if youre looking for local options check out offerings form Covington Brewhouse, Crooked Letter, and of course Abita. It all takes place at the Pavilion at Southdown Plantation between 12pm and 5pm.

[Photo: Official Site]

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Nov 5, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Belgian Beer Festival set for Saturday

Belgian Beer Festival

Belgian Beer Festival

The third annual Belgian Beer Festival is set for Saturday, Nov. 8, in downtown Cambridge.

Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 11:42 am

Belgian Beer Festival set for Saturday

CAMBRIDGE — The third annual Belgian Beer Festival will bring area brews and brewers to downtown Cambridge on Saturday, Nov. 8.

The outdoor street festival, hosted by the High Spot Gastropub, will feature Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews from Evolution Craft Brewing Company, The Brewer’s Art, Burley Oak Brewing Company, Union Craft Brewing, Eastern Shore Brewing, Flying Dog Brewery, Stillwater Artisanal, Heavy Seas Beer, Tall Tales Brewery and Cambridge’s RAR Brewing.

“Cambridge continues to grow as a destination for beer and food lovers, and our beer festivals are part of the reason why,” said Chef Patrick Fanning of the High Spot. “We’re happy we’re able to give people the chance to sample some great brews from Belgium and from right here in Maryland.”

The festival will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. in the 300-block of High Street, which will be closed to traffic during the event. Admission is $20, and includes a tasting glass and unlimited tastes.

Local band Blackwater will provide music.

Food will be prepared by local restaurants, including the High Spot, Stoked, Ocean Odyssey Seafood Restaurant and Portside Seafood Restaurant. Crabi Gras will serve orange crushes and Bloody Marys.

Nov. 8 is also Second Saturday in downtown Cambridge, with shops and art galleries staying open late with free receptions, sales and more.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 11:42 am.

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The High Spot,

Patrick Fanning,

Second Saturday,



Star Democrat,

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Nov 5, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer Guy: Weekend Brew fests in Tryon, Greenville – Asheville Citizen

After a very busy year for local beer festivals, we are just about at the end of the outdoor celebration season. But first, two more events are happening this weekend — one in Tryon and the other in Greenville. They couldn’t be more different, but you can’t go wrong at either festival.

The third annual Tryon Beer Fest is noon-6 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Tryon Depot Plaza. Turnout has grown from 450 in 2012 to 750 last year and 1,000 tickets will be sold this year. Still, that’s small compared to festivals such as Tryon’s Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival, which pulls 20-25,000 each June.

But the Tryon Beer Fest folks are happy to be community based. Tickets are $30 advance, $35 gate and $10 designated driver, with proceeds benefiting the Tryon Development Association and the Polk County Chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

The ticket covers music and beer samples. Most of the breweries are from North and South Carolina and include the new Boojum Brewing Co., soon to begin production in Waynesville, Pisgah, Highland, Thomas Creek, Swamp Rabbit, Rockers, Hi-Wire and more. Also featured is Britain’s Ilkley Brewery, and Tryon’s very own Bottle Tree beers, contract brewed at Thomas Creek in Greenville.

The Foothills Oompah Band will do Bavarian tunes, followed by rock from the 176 band. For an extra $20 per person, dig into a big Low County Oyster Roast starting at 12:30 p.m. Or you can buy a $2 oyster and beer shooter. Order your tickets online at This is for ages 21 and older only, so leave youngsters and pets at home. Bring that photo ID.

Cheer beer at ballpark

Baseball season may be over, but Greenville’s Fluor Field at the West End, 945 S. Main St., will return to action for the second annual Greenville Craft Beer Festival noon-5 p.m. Nov. 8. Organizers will sell up to 1,800 tickets.

There are 35 breweries confirmed, and a nice selection of Upstate favorites: Thomas Creek, Quest, Brewery 85, Blue Ridge, Swamp Rabbit and RJ Rockers. Other South Carolina breweries are Holy City, Palmetto and Free House (all from Charleston), River Dog (Ridgeland), River Rat and Conquest (both from Columbia) and Carolina Bauernhaus (soon to open in Anderson). Many other breweries will be there too: Bells, Founders, Allagash, Red Hare, Green Flash and more.

Beer stands will be on the ballpark concourse and while there’s no access to the field, feel free to sit in the stands. Leave pets and children at home, but bring your photo ID. Food will be plentiful, from veggie hummus wraps to pretzel sticks, brats, burgers, dogs and fried mac and cheese, so bring your spending money.

The festival also features an education element with classes including South Yeast Beer College at 12:45-4:15 p.m., Home Brew Basics at 12:45 p.m. Growing Grain to Glass at 1:40 p.m., Love and Hoppiness at 2:35 p.m., Yeast Fervor at 3:30 p.m.

Beyond the beer, one of the big draws here is the ballpark setting. Fluor is a miniature replica of Boston’s famous Fenway Park. As baseball fans know, the Greenville Drive is a Boston farm club. Fluor is one of the nicest ballparks in the South Atlantic League.

There’s free parking at County Square, about a 10-minute walk from the ballpark, and a free shuttle will run to the Field Street Gate. You may find some parking in private lots around the ballpark area. Some may be charging admission.

Tickets come in various levels. General admission is $50. A Thomas Creek growler and admission is $60. The Liberty Taproom VIP and Beer Brunch ticket is $75 and the Allagash Brewing VIP Meet and Greet Tasting and Beer Brunch ticket is $100. Designated drivers are $20. Order at

Cold Mountain release party

Asheville’s Highland Brewing will host three release parties for its wildly popular Cold Mountain Winter Ale, 4-8 p.m. Nov. 13-14, and 2-9 p.m. Nov. 15. Take-home packages of Cold Mountain will be available all three days, and visitors may buy a maximum of one 12-pack of 12-ounce bottles, one 22-ounce bottle and one liter bottle. Get there early to get a good spot in line, because the beer will sell out each day. On Nov. 15, Highland will have a Cold Mountain brunch, noon-2 p.m. Tickets for that event are $50, which include the meal, a pint of both Cold Mountain and Thunderstruck Coffee Porter and a take-home liter bottle of Cold Mountain. Order those tickets at Cold Mountain should start showing up in stores Nov. 17 in the Asheville and Greenville areas.

Bottled beer at Fonta Flora

Fonta Flora Brewery, 317 North Green St., Morganton is releasing its first bottled beer Nov. 8 to celebrate is anniversary. Echoview Estate Ale is an 8.5 percent “Appalachian tripel” with blackberry honey and lemon balm. All the ingredients came from Echoview Farm in Weaverville and it’ws the first beer to carry the Cerified Appalachian Grown label. Also out the same day is Doubloe Hop Beard Extra Hairy IPA.

Follow Beer Guy Tony Kiss on Facebook at Carolina Beer Guy and on Twitter at BeerGuyTK. Email or

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Nov 4, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Bayou Beer Fest set for Nov. 15 in Houma: 5 things to know before you go – The Times-Picayune

The New Orleans beer scene is hopping, but the fervor for craft brews extends well beyond the city and its suburbs.

The second annual Bayou Beer Fest, set for Nov. 15 in Houma, will feature more than 200 beers, including at least 25 on tap, offering crowds a chance to sip samples from around the U.S. while also getting a taste of what’s brewing in bayou country.

The festival, organized by the Houma-based Bayou Beer Society, runs from noon to 5 p.m. on the grounds of Southdown Plantation and Museum, 1208 Museum Drive in Houma. General admission costs $30 in advance or $35 at the door. The event is open to ages 21 and up only; IDs will be required. For information and tickets, visit the event’s Facebook and web pages.

Last year’s fest inspired some local beer fans to make the drive, which takes just more than an hour, and this year’s edition is expected to draw even more attendees from around the region.

“We’ve been getting some really good feedback,” said Joel Ohmer, president of the Bayou Beer Society.

Before you head to Houma, here are five things to know about Bayou Beer Fest:

The festival has grassroots and continues to grow.

The Bayou Beer Society, and in turn the Bayou Beer Fest, began with a couple of neighbors gathering to sip brews next to an old cypress barn along Bayou Black.

Ohmer said he and his neighbor at the time, Jim Barrett, started inviting others to join them at the barn to sample beers and discuss brewing. In 2012, the Bayou Beer Society began as a blog aimed at supporting the local beer scene and sharing information with other craft-beer enthusiasts.

The barn has since been torn down, but the beer-focused mission remains.

The nonprofit society has no official membership list but does have a board of directors, a website and a couple of Facebook pages with roughly 3,000 to 4,000 followers, Ohmer said.

As Ohmer, Barrett and others regularly traveled to other cities for beer festivals, the group began tossing around the idea of starting a similar fest closer to home.

When the organization threw the idea for a Houma beer festival out on the blog and social media to gauge local interest, “it went crazy,” Ohmer said.

On the morning of the inaugural Bayou Beer Fest, held last November at Southdown Plantation, Ohmer and other organizers stood near the gates waiting for people to appear.

“We said, ‘If nobody shows up, we just bought us a lot of beer,’” Ohmer said.
Organizers thought the festival would reach about 200 attendees at best, he said.

Instead, 900 people walked through the gates.

Last year’s fest drew beer fans from bayou country as well as from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, other Louisiana cities and neighboring state—and Alaska.

A man working in Houma had been asking his father to travel in from Alaska for a visit, but to no avail — at least, until the Bayou Beer Festival was mentioned, Ohmer said.

This year’s fest involves triple the sponsors and double the beers and judging from the growth rate of other South Louisiana beer festivals, organizers expect about double the attendees, Ohmer said.

The festival includes beers from all Louisiana breweries and lots of homebrews.

Every brewery open in Louisiana will be represented at Bayou Beer Fest, Ohmer said, including two Shreveport breweries that, as of now, have not reached the New Orleans area.

Great Raft Brewing plans to debut its three flagship beers and fall seasonal in local restaurants and bars Nov. 9-14 with a series of launch events, which means the brews ]likely will still be brand-new to some fest-goers. (For details on Great Raft’s launch series in New Orleans, visit the brewery’s website and the Facebook event page.)

Red River Brewing has not announced a specific timeline for reaching into Southeast Louisiana, which makes the festival a rare chance to try those brews.

Mandeville-based Chafunkta Brewing, which last summer expanded its distribution, and Arabi-based 40 Arpent Brewing and Hammond-based Gnarly Barley, both of which opened within the last year, represent new Louisiana additions to the festival.

The fest also includes a set of brews not available in bars or stores: beers made by more than 20 homebrewers, which tends to generate excitement.

Other treats include beers from respected breweries across the Gulf Coast, including Mississippi-based Crooked Letter Brewing and Houston-based Saint Arnold Brewing.

“We have a lot of ciders,” Ohmer added. “Ciders are really popular right now.”

The variety of beers forms a major draw, he said.

“If that’s what you’re into, this is the place to be,” Ohmer said.

The fest’s title sponsor is Mudbug Brewery, set to open soon in Thibodaux.

When Mudbug Brewery in Thibodaux signed on this spring as the fest’s title sponsor, brewmaster and co-owner Leith Adams thought the brewery would surely be ready to serve beer by November.

But “unforeseen delays” related to the permitting process have slowed the brewery’s schedule, which means no Mudbug brews at this year’s Bayou Beer Fest.

“We will still be there to support and represent,” Adams wrote in a Monday (Nov. 3) Facebook post announcing the lack of beer for this year. “Stop by and talk to us!”

The announcement comes as the highly anticipated brewery prepares for a visit this week from the state health department, which could set the final parts of the permitting process in motion, Adams said.

“It’s the beginning of the last step,” he said.

Mudbug will debut in the Houma-Thibodaux area along with limited distribution to major craft-beer bars in the New Orleans area, Adams said. Expansion to Baton Rouge and Lafayette could follow, he said.

Excitement has been building for the brewery, which plans to launch with four flagships on draft: King Cake Ale, Cafe Au Lait Coffee Milk Stout, Pelican Pilsner and Intracoastal IPA.

Several fall and winter seasonals are also planned for the launch, Adams said, including a pumpkin porter; Cajun Stout, an American stout brewed with cayenne pepper; and Burning Saison, a smoked saison made with molasses, a tribute to the annual fall sugarcane harvest.

Mudbug is still expected to open before the end of the year, Adams said. He hesitates to give an opening date, but said, “It’s awfully close.”

For more on Mudbug, visit the brewery’s Facebook page.

Brewers will be on hand to discuss beer—and play music.

Brewery founders, head brewers and other representatives will be on hand to talk beer with festival crowds. Some of those brewery folks are set to take the Bayou Beer Fest stage in other ways.

Louisiana fiddler Louis Michot, known as frontman for the Lost Bayou Ramblers, often collaborates with Arnaudville-based Bayou Teche Brewing and will perform at Bayou Beer Fest with his side project, Soul Creole.

Audiences can also watch Leith Adams of Mudbug Brewery play drums as part of Nonc Nu and Da Wild Matous, a Thibodaux-based band that mixes zydeco, country and rock with comical lyrics about life on the bayou.

Proceeds benefit veterans and military families

As crowds enjoy an afternoon of craft brews and upbeat tunes, they’ll also be supporting military families and homeless veterans.

Proceeds from Bayou Beer Fest go to the Tri-Parish Veterans Shelter, a service founded in 2013 to provide homeless vets with temporary housing and help applying for federal benefits. Last year’s beer festival raised $5,000 for the group, doubling its operating budget, Ohmer said.

This year’s fest also raises money for the Louisiana Military Family Assistance Fund, an organization that helps families of active-duty Louisiana National Guard and Louisiana Military Reserves with financial needs.

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Nov 4, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Sidel: ‘Perhaps beer in PET packaging will not be unusual for the next generation’

The younger generation of drinkers could boost the popularity of beer packaged in PET, but consumer preconceptions need to be overcome before the format is widely accepted, says Sidel.

Franck Hancard, packaging director, Sidel, told manufacturers and bottlers are already interested in the light and unbreakable properties of the packaging. However, they have adopted a ‘wait and see approach’ while they watch how consumer perceptions develop.  

A beer bottle still needs to look like a beer bottle

“If consumers were happy to choose beer in PET over glass or other materials, the switch would happen very quickly because of all the other sustainability and cost benefits,” Hancard said. “That is why the focus on addressing consumer perceptions, which are undoubtedly changing, is so important.”

He said consumers should be offered packaging that still resembles traditional glass bottles, and drinkers need to be shown that ‘beer in plastic works.’

“This is about the performance of the bottle in terms of maintaining the beer’s quality and taste. It’s also about the aesthetics, so the consumer gets a product packaged in a way that retains familiarity with what has gone before.”

Down with the kids

A shift to PET plastic from bottles and cans is already happening in specific areas, Hancard said. He gives the examples of music festivals, sporting events, and other outdoor occasions where glass is considered a safety hazard.

“PET bottles are the preferred packaging format here because they do not readily break. Even when crushed, there are no harmful shards or sharp edges to cause serious injury. 

“The sale of beer in plastic bottles at these and other events also avoids the need to pour beer into plastic cups, making service at the bar faster, and giving the consumer a container that is easy and safe to carry and use. 

“So the consumer is already, in some small part, experiencing beer in PET bottles. It is interesting to note it is often younger people who attend such events, and so perhaps beer in PET will not be considered unusual for the next generation of consumers.”

Sidel PET beer bottle

Lightweight and pasteurisable bottles

PET packaging specialist Sidel launched a PET beer bottle
earlier this year, which it claims is the first pasteurisable, lightweight PET bottle with a non-petaloid base.

“The glass-like flat base is more attractive to consumers to help them make the switch,” Hancard said. “The pasteurisation strength means it can be used for the most common lagers brewed worldwide, and the lightweight means it can save brewers costs by reducing raw materials.

“Previously a PET bottle could not do all these three things at once.”

Soft drinks, water, dairy… and beer?

PET packaging is light, unbreakable, and 100% recyclable, Hancard said. The packaging has made inroads in juice, liquid dairy, sauces and edible oils, and has become established in the carbonated soft drinks and water categories.  

“However, because of the perceived complexities involved in beer, particularly with regard to consumer perception, brewers have adopted a ‘wait and see’ attitude to PET bottling,” said Hancard.

“The convenience, costs savings and practical advantages the plastic bottle has brought to producers and consumers of other liquid foods are, therefore, not yet widely embraced.”

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Nov 3, 2014
Freddie Kitson

London Beer Festival Roundup: November 2014

Hawkhurst Vault Ale Fest Our November selection of beer festivals within the M25 is well dispersed between Watford, Caterham, Waltham Forest and Heathrow (with a couple in Zone 1 too), so you’ll need to top up your Oyster if you’re planning to visit them all. As always let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything worthwhile.

1 November: The Hawkhurst Vault Ale Fest

To celebrate having been open for six months, Brick Lane’s Hawkhurst Vault cafe is partying with beer, food and music this Saturday. The beer is provided by East London Brewing Company and the Redchurch Brewery, food is prepared by Raw Stories, and several live acts are coming up with the musical goods throughout the afternoon and evening. This event will almost certainly be more modest in scale than most traditional beer festivals, but you don’t have to be big to be beautiful, and judging from the details on the Facebook page it looks like it could be a fun party.

6-8 November: Watford Beer Festival

Out to Watford, where the local CAMRA branch is staging a beer festival at the West Herts Sports Club. Somewhere in the region of 80 real ales (plus a compulsory handful of ciders and perries), largely originating from London or Hertfordshire, will be served, alongside hot and cold food (at certain times). Entry is £2.50, or free for members of CAMRA or the sports club. See the festival’s website for more details.

7-9 November: Winter Brew Fest

BL-NK, a short walk north of the Old Street roundabout, plays host to this decidedly upbeat-looking festival. Following a suspiciously similar model to the London Craft Beer Festival, Winter Brew Fest is serving more than 40 beers from 11 London brewers (and a cider from Scotland) in several five-hour sessions. Entry to a session costs £25, and includes a tasting glass and 12 tokens that can be used to taste a third of a pint of any of the beers — we’ll let you decide for yourself what sort of value that represents. Food (and further beer, if needed) can be purchased for more cash, and music is provided throughout the festivities by live bands and DJs.

12-16 November: Waltham Forest Sports Social Club Real Ale Festival

Beers from Wales are the focus of this festival, which runs from 5pm on the Wednesday until 6pm on the Saturday. Aside from a selection of about 20 beers, ciders and perries, entertainment is provided by a live band (terrifyingly named The Bikini Beach Band The Action Men) on the Friday night and, unconventionally for a beer festival, a screening of the England v Slovenia match on the Saturday. Entry costs a mere £2 (free for CAMRA or club members).

21-22 November: Caterham Beer Festival

Down to Surrey for the Caterham Beer Festival, where a £5 entry fee gives you access to more than 50 beers, ciders and perries, which the organisers hope will include some of this year’s Champion Beers Of Britain (although this is not yet confirmed). The festival is split into three five-hour sessions, however the first hour of each session will be restricted to those who have purchased tickets in advance.

28-29 November: Heathrow Beer Festival

West Middlesex CAMRA joins forces with BA Clubs for the Heathrow Beer Festival, taking place at Imperial College Heston’s ‘Concorde Club’. More than 35 real ales and ciders feature, as do silent films, televised sport and live bands. Entry costs £4 (or £3 for CAMRA, BA Clubs or NUS members), although entry prices rise to £10 (or £8 in advance) from 6pm on the Saturday, to cover the costs of the live bands.


There’s still time to reserve a ticket for the tail-end of the Wandsworth Common Halloween Beer Festival, which we mentioned in October’s roundup.

If you’re a lover of beer or pubs, why not buy the Londonist book of London pub crawls for less than the price of a pint.

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