BRIDGMAN – It was a typical Bridgman City Council Meeting on Monday, Oct. 21, for Mayor Ron Birmingham, except for one detail.
It was his last.
Choosing not to run for re-election after 26 years on the council, the last 10 as mayor, Birmingham signed his final piece of official business and urged everyone to join him at Tapistry, the newly opened brewery and taproom just down the block.
Tapistry was a fitting location for the informal good-bye gathering since it is the newest success story of the city’s focus on revitalizing and maintaining its downtown and local business community.
“The (Lake Street) streetscape will be his legacy. It was a remarkable accomplishment and it changed the face of Bridgman,” said City Manager Aaron Anthony, referring to the $2 million program that was completed in 2010.
One of the first things Birmingham remembers doing as mayor was getting together with Lake Township Supervisor John Gast which led to a series of fifth-Monday joint meetings of the township and city boards.
“We never did that before. It really helped the relationship and was good for the entire community, not just the city or just the township. I guess I’m a bigger picture person, more so than the details,” Birmingham said.
This cooperation led to the formation of the Bridgman/Lake Township Economic Growth Alliance, a partnership among the city, township and Chamber of Commerce. Currently undergoing re-organization, the EGA has been behind many things associated with Bridgman, such as the Wine and Beer Festivals at Weko Beach and the Lake to Grapes identity campaign.
“He was a great board member and a key person with his ideas and experience. He always had the best in mind for the citizens of the area,” said Beth McNeil, chairman of the EGA.
Construction of neighborhood sidewalks, including those along Baldwin Road, and the Weko Beach boardwalk and dune also occurred during Birmingham’s tenure.
Saying “we never raised taxes,” Birmingham credited his longevity as mayor to his neutrality, running good meetings and his ability to “keep the peace among us.”
At the beginning of the Oct. 21 meeting, Birmingham was presented with a proclamation by state Sen. John Proos, also signed by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and state Rep. Al Pscholka, citing him as an example for others and naming him to the core of exemplary public officials. His fellow council members presented him with an engraved plaque recognizing his service to the community.
In his private life, Birmingham is one of the four founding members of Core Real Estate with offices in Bridgman and Stevensville. His construction company developed the Water Tower Place and Hidden Creek subdivisions in the city.
Birmingham, who said he plans to “kick back and be mainly retired,” described his departure from elected office as bittersweet.
“I have always enjoyed being part of the community and I’ll miss working for what is best for it. The sweet part is not having to worry about 6:30 meetings every other Monday night.”
Four Bridgman City Council seats are expected to be filled in the Nov. 5 election, with no contested races. Newcomer Robert Hamlett will join incumbents Hannah Anderson, Jim Catania and Robert Liskey on the ballot.
Hamlett has been a resident of Bridgman since the early 1990s. He and his wife, Sheila, are the parents of two Bridgman High School graduates and have three grandchildren.
Hamlett is retired from the Berrien Country Road Commission where he was an engineering technician for 12 years. He is a certified master gardener, does landscape work and works at Sawyer Garden Center.
Hamlett said he wanted to use his spare time in retirement in expresssing his point of view in city government and “serve the public like you are supposed to do.”
The Bridgman City Council is expectd to elect a new mayor following the election at its organizational meeting on Monday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m.
If you’re a beer drinker and have spent any time in Costa Rica than you know the selection is small. That was, at least, prior to the creation of Perrovida Craft Beer. As new kids in the Costa Rican brew scene, this underdog has come to play. Offering six full bodied, explosive, hand crafted beers. In only a few months they have already achieved an award for the best black IPA with their Massive Mastiff. See their beer list and qualities at the bottom of this article.
The brewery is consisted of three families (pictured below), all of which play an equal part in creating their organic, environmentally friendly hand crafted beer. After the brewing process no longer requires the soaked barley, Perrovida’s team donates it to local farmers to feed their stock. This is one example of practices that aim towards their goal of zero waste.
Perrovida Craft Beer is located in the mountains approximately 20 minutes above Quepos in the majestical Rainmaker park. Their water source is rainforest spring water seen in gorgeous displays of waterfalls and rivers onsite. The locals refer to the area as montaña fantasia (fantasy mountain) believing the water to have magical qualities. The short drive not only rewards you with, arguably, the best beer in Costa Rica, but provides the adventurer in you a chance to hike: through the rainforest, across exciting suspension bridges, along rivers, in waterfall pools, and gaze at the Pacific Coast from a bird’s eye view.
Kyle Kersey, one of the partners of Perrovida Craft Beers shared with me the team’s upcoming goals:
Obtaining permissions for each of the nearby cantones so that we can get our beer out to restaurants.
One-liter growler delivery service in Manuel Antonio. (Consider us like the US milk-man or Costa Rican propane tank-man).
Filling stations. Bring your growler or local 2-liter screw-cap bottles and fill with beer at convenient and highly trafficked areas.
We plan on attending as many beer festivals as Costa Rica hosts.
We’d like to produce some of our own events, like a New Year’s event.
We also plan on jumping into merchandising. We already have a large market for t-shirts and stickers. We have had some challenges getting quality shirts made in the country.
“Our current capacity is relatively low, so we need a good balance between wholesale sales at restaurants and retail sales through our growlers. Filling station is what we see for the future. It’s less waste with the growler, which is real important for us. There are also some sanitizing systems where we can use the screw top plastic bottles to fill up the 2 litter bottles. Reuse materials that otherwise would be thrown to garbage.”
Perrovida Craft Beer List
“These beers are American-style IPA’s, which stands for India Pale Ale. India Pale Ale implies that the beers contain extra hops (lupulos) which became popular when the British Navy had to send beer to their locations in India. Hops act as a flavoring, aroma and bittering agent and overall are a beautiful combination with all grain Ales.
All start with 100% Deutche quality/ German malted grain, and are brewed with virgin rainforest spring water / agua de manantial taken from the ojo de agua at Montaña del Fantacia (Rainmaker Park is the business on the property) and is a very spiritual place with the finest water around, surrounded by micro-climate rainforest and stunning biodiversity. We hand craft all our beers in small batches, and focus on world-class beer quality rather than quantity.” (Perrovida Craft Beer Team).
You can read more about Perrovida Craft Beer at www.Facebook.com/perrovidacraftbeer. Or come down and visit them at Rainmaker park, just outside of Quepos. Directions can be found on Facebook places. Feel free to email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, to order t-shirts, etc.
Perrovida Craft Beer Team (above):
Paul Jessica Peck: founder, brewmaster- 1 child, Reed Kyle Kaitlin Kersey: 3 kids, Braeden, Camden, Kieren Mickey Gutirrez Laura Carranza: 2 daughters, Cassandra and Mary
To learn more about how you can enjoy the beer of Costa Rica regularly by becoming an expat read,
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Knights hoist their steins at Medieval Times, site of this weekend’s Ale Quest. | MEDIEVAL TIMES PHOTO
Updated: November 22, 2013 9:13AM
Home brew devotees and Renn Faire fanatics, we may have found your Holy Grail: Ale Quest, a medieval craft beer festival held Friday and Saturday at the court of Schaumburg’s Medieval Times. The festival offers samples of small brews amid the background of torture chambers, stallions and a hall of arms. Imagine how much greater the jousting and falconry are after a few rounds in your chalice, and you have to wonder how this idea didn’t come up before.
It’s the brainchild of Ted Widen and Ken Monro, partners at local nightlife guide Chicago Scene, who — along with Widen’s event production company, Global Scene Productions — also did the Highwood Craft Beer Festival and River North Craft Crawl. The idea for Ale Quest came to Monro after taking his children to Chicago Comic-Con earlier this summer.
“There happened to be a Medieval Times booth, and after seeing if they’d like to sponsor an upcoming event, they upped the ante and suggested hosting one,” recalls Monro. “It was great timing as we had been looking at alternative options for awhile. Don’t get me wrong, beer fests are great, but there are a lot of them, so we wanted to find something that could add value for attendees.”
The event, which has three tiered packages, includes three-hour beer festivals along with dinners and tournament shows.
While there is a costume contest for attendees, the real games begin with the brewer competition. Among the contenders: Allagash, Bell’s Brewery, Berghoff Beer, Cider Boys, Goose Island, Great Lakes, Half Acre, Lagunitas, Metropolitan, New Belgium Brewing, Revolution Brewery, Rogue Ales and Two Brothers, with another several spots reserved just for a growing crowd of independent home brewers, which Widen calls the country’s “new gold rush.”
Much of the popularity is linked to new legislation in Illinois that allows home brewers to bring batches to a fest for sampling. As a result, “the industry is growing like crazy,” says Widen. Monro says he and Widen are already looking at expanding the idea to all nine Medieval Times locations in the U.S. next year. “Once you taste home brew, you can never go back to Budweiser,” Monro says.
Ale Quest is Nov. 22-23 at Medieval Times, 2001 N. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg. $34-$69; medievaltimes.com/chicago.
Bacon or beer? If you can’t pick a favorite their is a festival that is all about bringing the two together. It’s simply named the Bacon Beer Festival. It started with Eat Boston’s Aaron Cohen, who has organized similar festivals for Boston and decided to expand to Denver. We chatted with Cohen who brings insight to the festival that will likely make it back to Denver for round three in 2014.
Carri: How did you come up with the idea of Bacon Beer Fest?
Aaron: In Boston near where my office , there was this great building I wanted to do an event in and I figured a beer fest might be a good fit. We were trying to come up with a way to differentiate it from other beer fests, and bacon seemed like a good way.
Carri: Did you anticipate this much success?
Aaron: While planning the first one, I didn’t really anticipate putting on Bacon and Beer Festivals in other cities, but I figured it would do alright. The last 3 in Boston have sold out in a few minutes, and a small one coming up in Philly sold out in 30 seconds. I didn’t really expect it to be THAT popular.
Carri: Why did you choose to expand the Bacon And Beer Fest to Denver?
Aaron: Denver’s restaurant and beer scene are pretty great! And Jossie, a Bostonian living in Denver, kept badgering me to do it here. A good portion of the planning gets done on the phone and over email, so I just had to psyche myself up to plan a second big event in a year. This year we’ll do four, and next year maybe six or eight.
Carri: Tell us about the humor behind baller tickets?
Aaron: Baller tickets are exactly like regular tickets, but they cost more and let you call yourself a baller. Being a baller comes from inside of you, it doesn’t come from getting in early or skipping the line because you paid more. The people who buy Baller tickets understand this. At the same time, I do get a lot of questions about whether there’s really a some hidden perk of Baller tickets. People sometimes don’t believe what it says on the tin. We sold 40 in Denver this past year.
Carri: Where else will Bacon Beer Fest expand to?
Aaron: Next year we’ll be in Boston, the Bay Area, Philly, Denver, and maybe a few other cities we’re currently working on. I don’t really like talking about events before they definitely happen, but we should be announcing some new cities right after the New Year.
Carri: Does the Denver foodie scene compare to Boston’s?
Aaron: Absolutely. I think more and more cities are starting to have bigger scenes of restaurants that put a lot of care into their food. Well, there have always been restaurants that care, but there’s just a general craft aesthetic present in more and more restaurants. Denver definitely has bars and restaurants that could open up anywhere and succeed serving the menus they’re currently serving.
Carri: What are your goals for next years event?
Aaron: Hmm. I always like the next year to be better than the previous year so we’ll fine tune a few things and go from there. I’d like to continue to raise more and more money for the local non-profits we’re supporting (this year Metro CareRing and Project Angel Heart).
Walking into Napa Point Brewing feels a little different than other breweries.
No beards. No tattoos. No cartoony labels or graphics featuring impossibly lovable scruffy dogs.
It feels grown up, like, say, a winery. And that’s not an accident.
Robert Dahl, CEO and founder of the month-old brewery south of the city of Napa, said he visited hundreds of breweries before opening his business and noticed a consistent theme: a certain shaggy DIY vibe that spoke of wide-open innovation, but was a little shakier when it came to engaging guests and running an efficient business.
“The problem was, I noticed, it wasn’t done at the same level as in the wine industry,” said Dahl, who runs nearby Napa Point Winery and contract bottling operation California Shiners. “It was a very ‘garage’ mentality.”
The new brewery, in the industrial park next to the Napa County Airport, is gleaming and bright, with a restaurant, an outdoor beer garden, and a soon-to-open taproom with TVs, dart boards, beer pong tables, and room for live bands. The brewery has two “brewski buses,” small delivery trucks converted to mobile taprooms to show up at beer festivals and fundraisers.
In the back of the 51,000-square-foot facility is the site that will soon house both a 15-barrel brewing system and a 30-barrel one, along with fermenters, storage tanks, a state-of-the-art bottling line, a sophisticated water filtration system, and a quarter-million-dollar wastewater treatment plant.
The new brewhouse will probably open sometime early next year. For the moment, the beer is being made in a nearby brewery, though Dahl declines to say which one.
But because Dahl has no direct experience in brewing beer, he recruited a high-end brewmaster to use his gleaming new brewhouse, luring local brewing standout Denise Jones away from Moylans Brewing in Marin County to create what he is calling “ultra-premium” beer, an unusual term in the world of beer.
“It can’t just be words; it has to be in the proof,” he said. “You’ve got to have a world-class beer; you have to have a world-class experience.
“If I’m selling ultra-premium beer, I have to resonate all the way through with ultra-premium, in our staffing, in our restaurant, in our food, in our beer, in our packaging, the whole experience,” he said.
But how does this all square with the normal image of the craft brewery, with rogue homebrewers gone big time, mad scientists cooking up extreme brews, and bewhiskered beer geeks at the taproom looking for the next big thing?
“It’s definitely a different model,” admits Jones, who has a small ownership stake in the new brewery. “Most brewing startups are cobbled together with very little money; they struggle to get investors, they struggle to get loans.”
But, she said, with the first generation of craft brew fans reaching and passing middle age, and perhaps looking for a more refined experience, “We decided it was the right approach to do a startup that doesn’t feel like a startup.”
Dahl and his main business partner, construction company owner Greg Knittel, largely financed the operation themselves out of their personal savings, Dahl said, though he declined to put an exact number on it.
Napa Valley is probably a good place to experiment with such a model in brewing, Dahl and Jones say, since people who live in or visit Wine Country are well acquainted with the more winery-like establishment that Napa Point represents.
“I think the brewing industry is behind the wine industry in how it engages and creates experiences for consumers,” Dahl said. “I think the wine industry has a very strong grasp on what it takes to engage and get people to come back over and over and over again.”
Dahl may be onto something, said investment banker and beverage industry consultant Ian Malone, co-author of a recent study that suggested beer makers may be poised to follow the wine industry in “premiumizing” their products. That means both higher prices and more diverse and unusual offerings, trends that are increasingly evident in brewing.
But, Malone said, beer and wine have very different cultures. Breweries, to a greater degree than wineries, value a good back story and tend to recoil from the somewhat elitist image that wine has developed, or “baggage,” as Malone calls it.
“He needs to be a little bit careful and create a unique story about his beer,” said Malone, who has no business connection with Napa Point. “It has to ring authentically with the consumer.”
Dahl says his story will be the beer: balanced, delicious, diverse, and yet true to traditional styles, all hallmarks of Jones, who was also brewmaster at Third Street Aleworks from 1998 to 2006.
And, he said, his business model is increasingly necessary for breweries interested in surviving in the long term; as much as brewing is an art form, breweries are still businesses. Dahl said his entrepreneurial background — starting in the chemical manufacturing industry in the Midwest and moving more recently into wine — will make sure that Napa Point Brewing will last where smaller operations, run by the brewers themselves, might not.
“If you’re the brewmaster, you’ve got to brew obviously,” he said. “But who’s running your business? You can’t brew and run the business; it’s very, very hard.”
MARQUETTE, MI — Today I’m driving back from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as I conclude my search for Michigan’s Best Pizza.
What a journey: I traveled to 34 restaurants and even stopped at a few surprise locations to check out some of the top pizzas selected by the readers of MLive.com.
The winners will be announced Thursday, Nov. 21.
In between all my travels, I had time to compile my Gonzo’s Top 5 things to do in Michigan this weekend.
Have a great week, and make sure to come back to MLive.com or your local newspaper to find out our Michigan’s Best Pizza results.
1. Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Danielle Bradbery, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 23, The Palace of Auburn Hills
He is a talented singer, songwriter and musician, and he is probably my favorite male country music entertainer. I loved watching him recently on the CMAs. Now you get to see him concert, where Brad Paisley really shows off his skills as an entertainer. For ticket availability, go to palacenet.com.
2. Grand Rapids Wine, Beer Food Festival, Nov. 21-23, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids
This one of the premiere wine and beer festivals in the state, and it’s for everyone — from the connoisseur to the beginner. Attendees will experience wine, beer and food with an international flair! Tickets are $15 for admission; sampling tickets are 50 cents. More details at GRWineFestival.com.
3. The Brian Setzer Orchestra, 9 p.m., Nov. 22, Four Winds Casino, New Buffalo; 8 p.m. Nov.23, Fox Theatre, Detroit
Yes! This is a Christmas show, and it’s from that cool cat Brian Setzer and his orchestra. Now this is a way to ring in the holidays, daddy-o. Fans will get a chance to see him twice with concerts in New Buffalo in Southwest Michigan and Detroit. I can guarantee he will rock both towns! More information at fourwindscasino.com and olympiaentertainment.com.
4. Paramore, Metric, HelloGoodbye, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21, The Palace of Auburn Hills
The Self-Titled Tour with Paramore is going to be presented in a theater-like setting at The Palace, so the show promises to be an intimate and in-your-face night of rock ‘n’ roll. I’m still digging Paramore’s latest single, “Still Into You,” off its No. 1 “Paramore” CD released earlier this year. I can’t get that song out of my head. Ticket information palacenet.com.
5. Cedric The Entertainer, 8 p.m. Nov. 21, MotorCity Casino, Detroit
It’s fun to see Cedric — who is indeed a great entertainer — on TV’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” I think he is my favorite of the show’s multiple hosts. (Sorry Regis.) You can check out the comedian when he performs this weekend at Sound Board at the MotorCity Casino. More info at olympiaentertainment.com.
Brian Connatser, Head Brewer Owner of Sleepy Owl Brewery poses with his wife Heather and sons Dylan, in blue and Brady. Photo by David Grace
KINGSPORT — Brian Connatser has an idea some people believe will bring fresh money into downtown Kingsport.
He’s the brains behind Sleepy Owl Brewery, a craft beer startup business planning to open next spring on Main Street in a section of the former Kingsport Chamber of Commerce building.
“I have been a home brewer for a number of years,” Connatser said. “I really got seriously into home brew two years ago, and started going to beer festivals and competing in different categories. … We’re not looking at bottling or canning (beer) the first couple years at least. Really what we want to do is let me take my hobby of home brewing and let it be something Northeast Tennessee could enjoy. … We will have staple brews on tap. … We’re not going to do food, but it allows people to come in and taste our beer. … We would have a brewery with a tap room and live music, family and dog-friendly. … We just need help promoting it. We’re financing everything ourselves.”
Connatser, a software engineer who works out of his Bristol home, has some advocates in high places.
“We’ve finally got a guy who’s willing to take a risk and come down here, and we really need to get behind him. If he’s successful, I think more (craft brewers) will follow,” Miles Burdine, the chamber’s president and CEO, recently told members of the Kingsport Economic Development Board.
KEDB members believe Connatser’s brewery could be a hook to bring more young people to the downtown area. According to craftbrewingbusiness.com, craft beers have found a way to appeal to 49 percent of millennials and 40 percent of Gen-Xers. The website also noted beer drinkers aged 36 to 47 are slightly less likely than consumers aged 21 to 35 to show a preference for the taste of craft beer.
There is also hope Kingsport could duplicate the success Asheville, N.C., has had in attracting multiple craft beer breweries that have marked the tourist town as the hub of North Carolina’s so-called “Ale Trail.”
But KEDB members have expressed concern Tennessee’s alcohol laws could make their hopes go flat.
One worry is based on restrictions involving higher-alcohol content beer.
“Tennessee is so restrictive on their alcohol license that breweries just won’t locate here,” Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips told KEDB members. “And none of our legislators want to be known as the ‘alcohol legislator’ so you’re not going to get that changed. They’re willing to do the wine in grocery stores (legislation). That’s about all they are willing to tackle right n o w. ”
Still, Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Director Keith Bell said there’s a healthy craft beer market in Nashville and Knoxville.
“I’m not sure what the hindrance of the state law is because with breweries, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) does not have jurisdiction or authority over beer if it is less than 5 percent (alcohol) by weight which is equivalent to 6.2 percent by volume. … Most craft breweries produce less than that. … Unless it is over that amount of alcohol content, the ABC does not have authority over it. If a brewery does wish to produce a product over that amount of alcohol content, then we would have jurisdiction.”
Bell insisted the market for so-called “low gravity beer” is really up to local people.
“What Tennessee offers is much more business friendly than what Asheville offers as far as craft beer goes,” Bell said.
Connatser, however, said higher alcohol “high gravity beer” is sold in both North Carolina and Virginia.
Phillips observed a brewery nowadays appears to be a “very important part” of a downtown area’s appeal.
Jeff Fleming, the city’s assistant city manager for development, told KEDB members he had a hard time grasping the concept that brewing beer is manufacturing.
“If we help this manufacturer incubate and grow in supply, … as he grows he could sell to other distributors,” Fleming said of Connatser.
Local breweries represented include Inveralmond, Strathbraan and Highland Brewing Company
Perth Beer Festival is the largest in the region. It’s organised in June by Perth Rugby Team, so as well as a long beer list there’s a sevens tournament. Beers are mostly from Scotland, with a few from further south.
“Joust” when you think there could not be another venue to host a new beer festival, along comes another. On the weekend of November 22 – 24, the Chicago Medieval Times Dinner Tournament venue and Chicago Scene host “Ale Quest,” proclaimed to be “the first and only Medieval Craft Beer Festival.” (See what I did there?)
Being as I’m your pal, I’ll answer the obvious question right away. No. It’s very unlikely you’ll find any replicas or beers as made in medieval times.* But there will be 20 to 30 brewers, local, national and international, plus a selection of homebrewers, sampling over 60 beers in five sessions. Those are Friday, 8:30 to midnight, Saturday at 11:30 am-3:00 pm and 8:30 to midnight, and Sunday at 11:00 am – 2:00 pm and 5:30 – 9:00 pm.
The location for your Ale Quest at Medieval Times.
A basic “Jester’s” ticket package at $34 gets you 20 three-ounce beer samples (extra sampling tickets can be bought on-site for $1 each). There’s also the “Knight’s” package ($59) which adds a regular Medieval Times dinner and tournament event, and the “Duke’s” ticket ($69), which adds VIP seating, a commemorative program, “Knight’s Cheering Banner,” and a “Behind the Scenes” DVD. Tickets are available through Eventbrite.
There will also be a costume contest for those interested: awards will be given for the best group costume at the fest.
Ale Quest is presented by Global Scene Productions and Chicago Scene. Founder Ted Widen told me how the social event outfit he started in 1998 came to get involved with craft beer:
“We started doing New Year’s Eve parties at the Drake Hotel in 2000, and this year will have one at the Hilton Hotel Chicago, each with thousands of people. But New Year’s Eve only comes once a year, so I wanted to get into other events. I was doing Halloween parties and Valentines parties, but those come and go.
“I picked up on the craft beer industry about a year ago. A friend of mine’s brother-in-law owns Lagunitas Brewing (Tony Magee). I took a tour of their new building a while ago, and; wow! It’s the biggest open building I’d ever seen in my life, about 300,000 square feet. He’s the one who told me that ‘if you want to do an event, you should jump on the craft beer industry.’ Thanks to my friend, who unfortunately passed on a few days after showing me the brewery.
“The first beer event I did was the River North Craft Crawl about a year ago. Then we did the Highwood Craft Beer Festival in August, that was a huge success. So we’re looking to do craft beer festivals all over the place. We ended up taking to the people at Medieval Times and thought they’d be a great partner to do an event with. They have a huge venue that can get a whole lot of people.”
Medieval Times has nine “castles” across the country, which have been running the same program successfully for 25 years. So Widen said accommodating this new event has been a challenge. “The local outlet has to work with corporate, which has to figure out how to get it in their ticketing system and put it on their web site.”
What usually goes on at Medieval Times outside of Ale Quest. Mostly horsing around.
But for Chicago Scene, this represents a ground floor opportunity. “That’s their reason for doing this, for going through the headaches of making it work out properly so it can work corporately at their nine other locations. We would like to end up putting these events at each of these locations once or twice a year.”
One new component of the fest will be sampling by homebrewers, thanks to the Illinois law signed in July allowing home brewers to sample at private events. Widen had first planned to invite home brewers to pour at his next event, the Windy City Craft Beer Festival, coming next February to the Drake Hotel. “We are also going to have homebrewers at the Drake Hotel festival, and when they heard about Ale Quest, they said, ‘we want to do this even sooner.’ Looks like we’ll have 5 or 10 homebrewers at Ale Quest as well, bringing in all sorts of interesting concoctions.
Ale Quest takes place November 22 - 24 at Medieval Times, 2001 N. Roselle Rd., in Schaumburg.
*That’s probably a good thing. One of the biggest internet repositories of beer recipes, Cats Meow, has as it’s oldest historical recipes a 16th Century Scottish swig called “Cock Ale.” The original recipe starts: “Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better; parboil the cock, flay him, and stamp him in a stone mortar until his bones are broken (you must gut him when you flay him)…”
For the past five years, local beer lovers have looked forward to the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival. They’d get to try a lot of good beer and, as a side benefit, help out some worthy causes – including the Emergency Food Network, the Boys Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound and the YWCA.
They were half right, anyway. While the beer flowed freely, the charities’ profits only trickled in – or didn’t materialize at all.
The charities told The News Tribune’s Kate Martin that they didn’t receive nearly as much money as the organizers, Union House Productions, said they would from the festivals held on the Thea Foss Waterway and at Cheney Stadium. The American Heart Association, a co-beneficiary of the Sept. 7 beer festival, has received nothing so far.
But it turns out, as Martin reported, that the nonprofits must share the blame. They didn’t follow state law that requires them, not festival organizers, to handle the money when alcohol is served at an event. That’s to protect nonprofits from having their good names exploited by profit-making businesses.
One of the organizers, in fact, noted that Union House didn’t make much money on the beer festivals. But under the state law regarding the “special occasion” license under which the festivals operated, they’re not supposed to; they’re only allowed “reasonable operating costs.” The charities are supposed to receive 100 percent of the profits, and that doesn’t appear to have happened.
It’s unfortunate that the charities didn’t get more money out of the beer festivals, but they should have done their homework regarding their responsibilities. Now that they know the score, it’s unlikely they’ll repeat their mistake. And the state Liquor Control Board is now aware that it needs to do a better job of educating charities about what’s involved with special occasion licenses.