Browsing articles in "beer festivals"
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. terrapinbeer.com.

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. decaturbeerfestival.org/index.php.

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. georgiacraftbeerfestival.com.

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Oct 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

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

Hop-Harvest-Poster-web

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

beer festivals.jpg

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. 

Oktobeerfest

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 emonacel@mlive.com 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 www.annarborartcenter.org.

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 ticketweb.com. For more specifics about the screenings, visit http://www.michtheater.org/shows/3cc-mich/.

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 mutotix.com, theark.org, or 734-763-TKTS.

Jenn McKee is an entertainment reporter for The Ann Arbor News. Reach her at jennmckee@mlive.com 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 www.TheBelgiansAreComing.com
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 TheBelgiansAreComing@gmail.com.

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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Sep 30, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer Festivals, Oktoberfests And Fall Brew Gatherings In Connecticut

Fall’s chill signals the return of stouts, porters, Oktoberfest lagers and – whether you love or hate them – pumpkin-flavored brews. It’s now high season for local beer festivals, with plenty of events between now and mid-October.

The Mark Twain House‘s annual “Tapping into Twain” event Friday, Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m. features more than 20 regional breweries and home brewers, plus food from several local restaurants. Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the door ($40 for MTHM members.) Designated driver tickets are $20. Prices include all food, beverage and a collectible pint glass. The Mark Twain House is at 351 Farmington Ave. in Hartford. Information and tickets: 860-280-3130 and marktwainhouse.org.

Two Roads Brewing Company, 1700 Stratford Ave., Stratford, hosts its Ok2berfest Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 27 and 28, from noon to 6:30 p.m. each day. The event features food trucks and live music. The $15 admission fee includes an authentic German stein. Beer tickets are $5 apiece and must be purchased with cash (limit of four tickets). Attendees must be 21-plus; no minors or animals are permitted. Information: 203-335-2010 and tworoadsbrewing.com.

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The annual Sun BrewFest returns to Mohegan Sun Oct. 4 and 5, with tasting sessions on Saturday afternoon and a special BrewBrunch Sunday morning. Tickets to the Saturday sessions are $25 each; the first session runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and the second session runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Sunday brunch features Goose Island beer and Absolut Bloody Mary cocktails, with beer-infused food items. Tickets are $60, including all food and drink. For more information, visit sunbrewfest.com.

Broad Brook Brewing, 2 North Road, East Windsor, hosts a one-year anniversary party open house Oct. 4 from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. The event includes tours of the brewery, free samples and food for purchase. Information: 860-623-1000 and broadbrookbrewing.com.

Chili reunites with its good friend beer at the Smoke in the Valley Craft Beer Chili Festival in Seymour Oct. 4, from noon to 5 p.m. More than 100 breweries are expected at the event, along with dozens of chili competitors in two divisions, including restaurant entrants. Proceeds will benefit Seymour Youth Sports programs and Seymour Fire and EMS Companies. Information: 203-437-1009 and smokeinthevalley.com.

The inaugural Connecticut Brewers Fest at Two Roads Brewing in Stratford Oct. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m., gathers more than 20 state breweries under one roof. Food trucks Lobstercraft, Local Meatball and Bounty Burger will park on site. Tickets are $25 and include 3-ounce pours of beers; all proceeds benefit the CT Beer Guild. Information: 203-335-2010 and tworoadsbrewing.com.

The Rotary Club of New London presents Brewfest at the Beach at Ocean Beach Park Oct. 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event features tastings of more than 150 beers. Cost is $25; proceeds benefit Camp Rotary, a nonprofit camp for New London students. Information: newlondonrotary.org.

The CPTV Craft Beer and Chili Challenge on Oct. 11 at Hartford’s Old State House features tastings of more than 100 local beer and chili recipes. Guests will vote on their favorites in more than a dozen different categories. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door and $20 for designated drivers. A $45 “brew crew” ticket includes early admission for reserve tastings and an interactive experience with a local brewmaster. Early entry beings at 2 p.m.; general admission is at 3 p.m. Information: beerandchili.org.

The Hoptoberfest 2014 Beer and Wing Festival at Shelton’s Riverwalk Oct. 11 features more than 80 craft brews and wings from local restaurants, with guests voting for “King of the Wing.” A $25 ticket purchased in advance includes beer and wings. The event runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Information: facebook.com/SheltonHoptoberfest.

Cottrell Brewery, 100 Mechanic St., Pawcatuck, hosts its 4th annual Oktoberfest Oct. 11 from 3 to 6 p.m. The party includes free beer tastings, live music and food for purchase from Munchies Food Truck. Information: 860-599-8213 and cottrellbrewing.com.

Max Restaurant Group hosts its first annual Hoptoberfest at Rosedale Farms Vineyards in Simsbury Oct. 12 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event features beer from more than 30 breweries and food sampling, with additional food available for purchase. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door (if not sold out.) A portion of the ticket price will be donated to the CT Farmland Trust. Guests must be 21 or older. Information: maxrestaurantgroup.com.

Copyright © 2014, Hartford Courant

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Sep 26, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Festivals (and beer) galore around Boulder, Denver

Click photo to enlarge

While we were sipping our third cocktail of the afternoon, pregaming for Riot Fest and telling stories that nearly always started with, “I’d had a few too many, and …”, we realized a few things.

One: We sure drink a lot.

Two: Yolo.

Three: Moscow Mules are delish.

Four: Festivals are even better than an #8:30 DraftTime. (Referring to that friend’s obsession with when she could start creating her draft a few weeks back … fantasy football nut.)

And boy do we know our festivals here in Colorado. This whole month is dedicated to Oktoberfest, as it is everywhere. We have craft beer festivals – the Great American Beer Festival is next weekend, in fact, with oodles of fun drinking all week long – and pride festivals and festivals for the seasons and … good grief.

Course, leave it to a bunch of boozies to realize the true beauty of these events. The beer. Name one fest that didn’t, loud and proud, advertise that beer garden?

Well the Green Beer Fest does you one better and slaps that beautiful word in the title.

This Saturday, this fest (formerly the Frack Free Brew Festival), is blending craft brews with exhibitors and local bands and educational booths into one nifty package. (Ha. Package.)

They’re exploring sustainable innovation in environmental protection, craft beer and such, and want you to come sip along. From 2 to 10 p.m., over at the Boulder Bandshell, everyone can get in for free-sies and meander.

Should you love beer, you can pick up a souvenir cup for $25 at the door ($20 online) and that’ll get you unlimited craft beer. Individual cups will also be there for the less-ambitious.

Greenbeerfest.com has all the details.

Oh hey, another festival! This time, it’s the Moondance International Film Festival, in its 15th year. The “American Cannes,” to those in the know, this fest brings feature and short films to the Hotel Boulderado, and a couple big-name celebs too. (Hint: One’s from “Breaking Bad,” and he’s a bad guy.)

Hit up moondancefilmfestival.com for all the details, and to pick up tickets for different screenings. You can get em one by one, or in a package, depending on your film love. It’ll be around Friday through Sunday.

Obviously the Bohemian Biergarten (2017 13th St.) has a few options for those looking for some Oktoberfest opps. All weekend, they’ll have live music and great beer and a stein holding competition that’ll test your arm strength and ability to hold a beer without drinking it.

And OK, fine, enough with the festivals. Instead, your Program Council is bringing you Slap Nevada this Saturday, over at Club 156 (on the first floor of the UMC). Along with Q Dot and Phuture Phil, you’ll dance all your cares away for $10. Definitely worth checking out.

There’s even more beer and booze events online.

Follow Alex on Twitter: @ansieh.

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Sep 25, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Autumn Brew Review launched a beer fest bonanza in Minnesota



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    Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those attending last Saturday’s SurlyFest in Brooklyn Park.

    Photo: Matthew Hintz • Special to the Star Tribune,

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    It started with one. And then another. In just a few years they have spread like a virus, altering life as we knew it from the Twin Cities to Richmond, Minn. Chances are they’ve already taken hold of you or someone you love.

    “They keep on popping up all over the place,” said a strangely unterrified Ashley Mattson last Saturday amid a sea of infected Minnesotans. “It’s a good thing.”

    Beer festivals have spread like the zombie apocalypse, devouring social calendars (it beats human flesh) and leaving a trail of mini tasting glasses in their wake.

    “It’s been the toughest this year,” said Lift Bridge Brewing Co. CEO Dan Schwarz, who had a team pouring at the Border Battle Beer Fest last Saturday in Somerset, Wis. “We’ve really had to prioritize and limit and budget where we’re going. Before it was maybe once a month, now it’s several a weekend.”

    In addition to the top-tier beer festivals put on by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, the Beer Dabbler and Chop Liver (the crew behind the St. Paul Summer Beer Fest and others), everyone from the Minnesota Zoo to the city of Hopkins has jumped on the beer-sampling bandwagon. In one weekend last month there were multiple beer festivals in the south metro alone.

    “Six, seven years ago, myself, [the Beer Dabbler’s] Matt Kenevan and the Minnesota [Craft] Brewers Guild were really the only people doing them,” said Chop Liver’s Mark Opdahl. “We didn’t want to be within a month of any other beer fest. Now there’s three in a day instead of even just one every weekend.”

    Local “festivals” range in scope from this weekend’s two-day, dozen-brewery Oktoberfest party at New Bohemia to Saturday’s sold-out 14th annual Autumn Brew Review, which expects 3,000-plus fans and nearly 110 breweries. With the ever-increasing number of events, brewery owners aren’t the only ones forced to pick which to attend.

    While it’s not a festival in the bazillion-breweries, small-pours sense, Mattson and a group of friends last Saturday made their annual trek from St. Cloud to SurlyFest — Surly Brewing’s Oktoberfest bash. As more traditional festivals go, Mattson and her boyfriend Andy Simon, both 29, say they prefer the Beer Dabbler’s events. “The Dabbler has by far been the best that we’ve gone to,” she said. “We went to the winter one when it was, like, 30 below zero and the beer was freezing when it hit your glass.”

    #Minnesotabrag.

    Many avid fans including Andrew Padon say the beer list largely makes the fest. The 41-year-old hits two to four festivals a year, avoiding those that only offer beers “every restaurant in the city has.” His favorite events are the guild’s Autumn Brew Review and the more intimate Winterfest, because of the variety of esoteric brews available. “One or two years ago they were actually pouring Bell’s Batch 9000, which is one of those really rare, unique, fun beers,” the Brooklyn Park man said of ABR. “That’s what really raises the bar for me.”

    Launched in 2000, the year of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s inception, the Autumn Brew Review is the state’s longest running major beer fest. Lift Bridge’s Schwarz, who’s also the guild’s president, attended his first ABR as a consumer in 2005. “It was the only event of its kind at the time,” he recalled. “I remember being completely blown away trying new beers that I had never seen before, never heard of.”

    Now his brewery participates in 50 to 60 festivals a year. He sees them as a valuable marketing tool. “No Web page or photo’s going to do it justice,” he said. “You need to smell the beer and taste the beer.”

    However, Surly’s national sales manager, Corey Shovein, isn’t sold on festivals’ marketing effectiveness. “Maybe 15 years ago that was an important part of doing festivals, but now the marketing side of it has become less important,” he said. “Unfortunately, beer festivals are sometimes too long and it’s more about people getting drunk and no one remembers what the hell they had.”

    Shovein also laments that some for-profit festivals ask breweries to donate their beer, including the sought-after stuff his paying customers clamor for. “It’s difficult to justify how a one-day festival should get a beer when I’ve got a guy who has two or three draft lines from us all the time — he should get an extra keg of that beer.”

    Beer list politics aside, Dave D’Amalfi of Forest Lake — who attended the small, 21-brewery Border Battle Beer Fest last weekend — hasn’t met a beer fest he didn’t enjoy.

    “The worst thing that’s ever happened was I lost my phone when I was too buzzed up,” the 25-year-old said, chuckling. “Other than that I had a great time.”

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