Browsing articles tagged with " beer festivals"
Sep 6, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Drink up: Founders, Brewery Vivant, Perrin line up fall beer festivals – The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Three of Grand Rapids’ most prominent breweries have slotted their annual autumn festivals for 2014.

First on the calendar is Perrin Brewing Company’s “sort of annual” Backyard Beer Bash, which celebrates the brewery’s birthday, 4-11 p.m. Sept. 13. The Comstock Park spot will set up outdoors, host live music and offer several limited-release beers, including the new batch of Kona Brown.

On the concert schedule are Particle, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish, Thickest Thieves and Soul Club of Grand Rapids. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 day of show.

Those who purchase Bash tickets in advance will be allowed entry to a special pre-party at 3 p.m., with an acoustic set by Jesse Ray and the release of the “Flanders red style ‘Dr. Lacto’” brew, according to the Perrin website.

Next is Brewery Vivant’s fourth annual Wood Aged Beer Fest, 1-8 p.m. Oct. 4. The East Hills brewery will feature 20 limited-release bourbon barrel, wine barrel and oak-aged beers.

This year’s WABF will feature two firsts: it’ll be a street party in front of the brewery, on Cherry St., to accommodate an expected 2,500 attendees. Tickets also will be offered in advance for the first time, available for $12 at the Vivant website only.

Vivant is offering a trio of barrel-aged beers in its taproom now as a fest sneak preview: Whiskey Rooster, Cemetarian and Devastation.

Finally, Founders Brewing Co. will put on its 11th annual Harvest Party Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to closing time. As is tradition, the brewery’s wet-hopped Harvest Ale will be released.

Tickets are $10, or $8 for Founders Mug Club members, and include a commemorative pint glass and your first pour of Harvest Ale. Whiskey Shivers, The Hooten Hallers, The Carboys and Angela Sheik will provide live music.

Founders features another event for hopheads’ calendars: the Breakfast Stout Breakfast, 9 a.m. Nov. 8. Details are TBA.

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Sep 5, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Ohio Craft Brewers Association looks to raise profile

The Ohio Craft Brewers Association is looking for some help in raising its profile in the state. The nonprofit group this week (Sept. 4) released an RFP (request for proposals to the layman) for assistance from marketing/advertising/public relations firms in branding the association.

“This is just the next step in the progression of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association,” said Mary MacDonald, who was hired as the group’s first full-time executive director last year. “[Ohio is] number four in production of craft beer and we need to do a better job of telling our story.”

She has spent her time so far developing a strategic plan and growing membership. There are now 107 members, including 71 craft breweries, she said Friday.

But the marketing effort has been disjointed over the years, she said. “I’d like to have a cohesive message that we can put out there and that our breweries can use as well,” MacDonald said.

The RFP provides a peek into the group’s aggressive goals, which include redesigning its website next year, redoing its logo, and producing billboard ads and beer trail maps. MacDonald cautioned that the group is still getting on its financial feet so goals such as adding billboards aren’t in the immediate future.

The document also highlights two new beer festivals being organized by the group: the Holiday Craft Extravaganza set Nov. 8 in Cincinnati; and the Spring Fest on May 9 in Columbus.

The Ohio Craft Brewers Association was formed in 2007. But it wasn’t very active in marketing or promoting craft beer. That has changed as craft beer continues to surge in popularity, the number of craft brewers in Ohio has exploded and the group hired MacDonald.

Proposals are due Oct. 10, although anyone interested in submitting a proposal must notify the association by 4 p.m. Sept. 19.

To read the full RFP, see below:


Request for Proposals for Branding Services

Proposal Deadline: 5:00pm EST, Friday, October 10, 2014

Ohio Craft Brewers Association (OCBA), a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization, requests proposals for Branding Services for OCBA to be completed and presented to OCBA by 5 pm on Friday, October 10, 2014. Please provide notice of your intention to submit a proposal by 4pm on Friday, September 19, 2014.

Questions regarding this RFP should be directed to OCBA Executive Director, Mary MacDonald at Electronic submissions of the proposals are preferred and should be submitted to with “Proposal for Branding Services” in the subject line. If submitting a hardcopy proposal, 2 copies must be delivered by the proposal deadline to: Mary MacDonald, Executive Director, Ohio Craft Brewers Association, P.O. Box 8249, Columbus, OH 43201.


The Ohio Craft Brewers Association was founded 2007 with the intention of unifying craft brewers statewide for legislative initiatives and promotional opportunities. After operating through the volunteer efforts of the Board of Directors in the initial years, the OCBA hired its first Executive Director in September 2013. The organization also filed for nonprofit status in June 2013 and was designated a 501(c)6 nonprofit in February 2014. OCBA membership went from approximately 40 brewery members in 2012 to a current total of 106 members for 2014 including 69 Brewery Members, 7 Breweries in Planning and 30 Allied Members.

Ohio Craft Brewers Association Mission Statement:

To promote and preserve Ohio’s unified craft brewing industry.

Ohio Craft Brewers Association Vision:

• The Ohio Craft Brewers Association (OCBA) is recognized as the industry leader for preserving the art of making high-quality, unique craft beer.

• The OCBA serves as the unified voice for craft brewers across the state.

• Ohio craft beer industry prospers and evolves because of the OCBA’s advocacy.

• The craft beer industry contributes to systemic, local community development by driving economic and job growth, while creating experiences that bring people together.

• The OCBA serves as a beacon for local production and manufacturing through craft beer, resulting in diverse product choices for consumers.

Ohio Craft Brewers Association Core Values

• Stewardship: we sustain Ohio’s craft beer industry by promoting the creation of high-quality, unique products.

• Empowerment: we give independent breweries the training and tools to sustain and improve their craft.

• Advocacy: we protect, communicate and advance the rights of Ohio’s craft brewing industry.

• Fun: we commit to an industry culture built on transparency and a deep passion for the craft beer-making community.

Background on the Ohio Brewing Industry

Ohio is a significant player in the world of craft beer and beer in general. Ohio ranked fourth in craft beer production nationally (using 2013 figures) with 1,097,955 barrels. Large regional (Great Lakes Brewing Company) and national (Sam Adams) breweries contribute to Ohio’s craft beer prominence. As of mid-2014 Ohio has more than 95 operating craft breweries (70 are members of the OCBA) with at least another two dozen known to be in planning stages.

Additionally, Ohio is among six states that are home to both Anheuser Busch and Miller Coors Breweries (CA, GA, OH, TX, VA, WI) giving us additional economic and legislative challenges and advantages.

Definition of Craft Brewer

American craft brewers are defined as small, traditional and independent according to the Brewers Association. The Brewers Association is the non-profit trade group whose purpose is to promote and protect American craft brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.

• Small: annual production of 6 million barrels or less.

• Traditional: less than 25 percent of the brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

• Independent: a brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor is derived from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients or their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beers.

Background on the Ohio Craft Brewers Association/Ohio Craft Beer Brand

• To date, no formal brand exploration or marketing has been done for OCBA.

• Until hiring an Executive Director there was not much unified marketing. Pieces were made for specific events without adherence to any branding tenets.

• The OCBA logo was developed by a member of the organization for use in event promotions.

• Ohio Craft Brewers launched a website in 2011 ( and expects to overhaul the site using new brand standards in 2015.

• Ohio Craft Brewers Association intends to host up to four Signature Events per year throughout the state to raise awareness of Ohio Craft Beer and fund our nonprofit organization. Existing events include Winter Warmer Fest (established, 3/8/15, Cleveland), Holiday Craft Extravaganza (new, 11/8/14, Cincinnati) and Spring Fest (new, 5/9/15, Columbus).

• OCBA has created some merchandise featuring slogans “Think Globally, Drink Locally” and “Drink Beer Made Here” on t-shirts and stickers.

• There is still much work to be done to brand “Ohio Craft Brewers Association” and “Ohio Craft Beer.” As the nonprofit organization representing all of Ohio’s craft breweries we believe it is of utmost importance that we establish a recognizable, compelling brand the we and our member breweries can use to further elevate the profile of Ohio Craft Beer.

• The “Ohio Craft Beer” brand and name is also used by, an independent website run by a craft beer aficionado which is a more comprehensive and interactive site listing Ohio Craft Breweries.

• Protocols for the use of OCBA logos and branding by member breweries are not established.

• A complete list of OCBA member breweries can be found on our website at

Scope of Work

We seek a partner with a proven track record for creative excellence in brand development and execution to help us:

• Evaluate whether our name, Ohio Craft Brewers Association, is broad enough for both the internal work it does for its core audience (Ohio’s independent craft brewers), but also for our consumer audience (Ohio Craft Beer).

• Develop a brand platform for Ohio Craft Brewers Association/Ohio Craft Beer including positioning, personality, promise, differentiation, and value proposition.

• Develop a comprehensive brand strategy (including brand architecture) for a multifaceted brand that addresses relationships between brands (Ohio Craft Brewers
Association vs. Ohio Craft Beer).

• Establish brand identity, standards, guidelines and systems which can be applied to the following collateral:

— Logo

— Website

— Email newsletter design

— Social media accounts

— Event collateral

— Pop up tent banners

— Ohio On Tap magazine (future editions)

— Beer Trail maps (do not yet exist)

— Billboards

— Membership brochures

— Economic impact brochure for legislators

— Merchandise: stickers, t-shirts, pint glasses, bottle openers, ball caps, sportswear, other ideas welcome

— Ohio Craft Beer Conference promo materials

— OCBA wrapped vehicle

Other promotional collateral available to members:

— Tap handles

— Growlers

— Chalkboards

— Retail stand-alone display for Ohio Craft Beer

Program Budget

As a non-profit organization still building financial capacity, OCBA will evaluate proposals based upon efficient use of current resources and anticipated future resources. Proposals incorporating phases of production that enable us to build our branding along with our financial capacity are appreciated.

Proposal Requirements

• A cover page with firm name, date, name of principal and contact person, mailing address, telephone number, fax number, email address and website.

• Provide a description of company background, experience, clients, characteristics of business strength, and products and services offered.

• Describe your approach and process for brand development. Your organization’s aesthetics, value proposition, and point of view about the value of branding, effective communications, advertising and marketing.

• Provide links to or examples of case studies of your firm providing similar services to organizations similar to ours and the scope of work outlined above. These case studies should include a brief description of the brand identity services provided and a discussion of the outcome.

• Introduce your proposed project team, including consultants. Provide resumes of all personnel assigned to the project including specific experience that each team member would contribute to the project. Identify and define their individual roles.

• References: Supply at least three (3) references that have used your professional services for a similar project. Include a contact name, address, a contact phone number and email.

• Submit a detailed schedule with your proposal for the project which includes critical milestones, assuming a start date of January 1, 2015.

• Provide a detailed fee proposal which outlines the specific activities that will be performed during the brand process. Including any cost saving and/or added value proposals offered.

• OCBA releases RFP 9/4/14

• Notice of Intent to Submit due to OCBA 9/19/14

• Questions due to OCBA 9/26/14

• Proposals due to OCBA 10/10/14

• Invitation to present issued by OCBA 10/31/14

• Finalist interviews 11/3/14 – 11/21/14

• Decision 11/28/14

Proposal Evaluation

Proposals are due to OCBA by 4pm on Friday, October 10, 2014. Selection criteria are outlined below and will be used to evaluate proposals. OCBA intends to negotiate contract terms with the vendor who’s experience, proposal and pricing best fits our needs. This RFP does not commit OCBA to award a contract or to pay any costs incurred in the preparations or submission of proposals. OCBA reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received in response to this RFP and to negotiate with any of the vendors or other firms in any manner deemed to be in the best interest of the OCBA.

Selection of the successful proposal will be made by OCBA based upon the bidder’s:

• Responsiveness to work scope and program needs (30%)

• Demonstrated experience and expertise in similar projects (30%)

• Cost effectiveness (20%)

• Comprehensiveness (20%)

Restrictions and Additional Considerations

• Confidentiality: It is understood that proposals may contain confidential information relating to previous client strategies, goals and results. That information will remain confidential.

• Acceptance/Rejection of Proposals: OCBA reserves the right, at its discretion, to reject any proposal that does not meet the stated criteria.

• Disclosure: Other than the name of the selected firm, no other information regarding the candidates or their proposals shall be made public.

• Cost for Preparation of Proposals: OCBA is not responsible under any circumstances for any costs incurred as the result of the preparation or submission of the candidates’ proposals.

• Business License, Registration, Certification: The selected organization shall be licensed to do business in Ohio as required by state codes and maintain current any certification, accreditation, or license(s) required to perform work under this agreement.

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Sep 5, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Local beer festivals get crafty

Things are about to get real crafty for beer lovers in the Lower Hudson Valley. With a bunch of beer festivals taking place locally in the coming weeks, if you lust for lagers, adore ales or need an IPA ASAP, you’ll want to check out at least one of these events. We’ve even included a wine festival for those vino aficionados out there.

The Best and the Wurst

A celebration of local brews, The Best and the Wurst promises a menu of beers made right in your own backyard. You’ll enjoy quaffs from Elmsford’s Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., from Pearl River’s Defiant Brewery and from Yonkers Brewing Co., among many others. On the snack side, there will be Wisconsin-style beer brats, hot dogs and pretzels. All proceeds from the event will fund the Rotary Club of Yorktown’s projects. Noon-5 p.m. Sept. 13. Yorktown Heights Firemen’s Field, Veteran’s Road. $30, $10 for designated drivers in advance at, $40 and $15 at the gate.

World Class Beer Night

Brewster Ice Arena‘s Player’s Sports Bar and Restaurant’s World Class Beer Night will exclusively sell quaffs that have been rated 95 or above by, giving them “world class” status. Selections include Speedway Stout by AleSmith Brewing Co., Dogfish Head’s 90-minute IPA, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout and many more, with additional beers still being added. You can even make your own suggestions on the event’s Facebook page. If they choose your selection, the first round is on the organizers. Entertainment will be provided by Funk Factor, playing an eclectic mix of both covers and originals. 7 p.m. Sept. 19. Admission is free and attendees will pay as they go. 63 Fields Lane. 845-279-2229.

Southern Westchester Food Wine Festival

What began in 2012 as a one-day event known as the Taste of Scarsdale has exploded in the past two years, drawing thousands of attendees and expanding into a three-day celebration of all things food and wine with dozens of participating vendors. There’s plenty of events and activities taking place, but some highlights include a celebrity chef battle among Rocco DiSpirito, Graham Elliot, Franklin Becker and Dave DiBari on Sept. 19; Mrs. Green’s Healthy Eating Pavilion; and hands-on grilling demonstrations. There will also be live music, tastings, food trucks, kid zones and much more. The festival runs from Sept.19-21, but event times, prices and venues vary. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Big Brew NY Craft Beer Festival

Returning to the Westchester County Center Sept. 20, the Big Brew NY Craft Beer Festival promises more suds and fun than ever before. Upon arrival, you’ll receive a 4-ounce tasting glass and the opportunity to try any of the more than 250 varieties of beer being offered. Half Time, which describes itself as “The World’s Biggest Beer Store,” will be giving away more than $30,000 in beer and merchandise. 5-9 p.m. 198 Central Ave., White Plains. General admission tickets are $60, designated driver tickets are $10 and $85 VIP tickets include an extra hour of tasting (4-5 p.m.), access to more than 25 VIP-only brews and beer-infused hors d’oeuvres. 973-927-2794.

Hudson River Craft Beer Festival

Another event featuring all things New York, the Hudson River Craft Beer Festival returns to Beacon’s Riverfront Park for a day of fun, food, brews and tunes. Featuring more than 30 beers (almost all of which hail from the Empire State), the event features selections from Tuckahoe’s Broken Bow Brewery, from the Peekskill Brewery and from Brewster’s Bull and Barrel Brew Pub, to name a few. There’s also a smorgasbord of food to choose from, ranging from Texas BBQ to Jamaican and West Indian cuisine and just about everything in between. Combine all that with live music and the scenic views of the Hudson River and you’ve got a recipe for some frothy fun. 1-5 p.m. Sept. 20. $45 in advance and $55 at the gate. Designated driver tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. 1 Flynn Drive.

Hudson Hop and Harvest

A day-long celebration of craft beer and farm-to-table food, the third annual Hudson Hop and Harvest promises locally brewed craft beers and food sourced from area farms. Hop and Harvest is more than just a beer and food festival, though. It will feature a farmers market, crafts from local artisans, and four stages with live music all day. 2-9 p.m. Oct. 4. Admission is free and attendees will pay as they go. Riverfront Green Park, Hudson Ave., Peekskill.

Twitter: @kev_incredulous

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Sep 4, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Cincy Beerfest set to return to Fountain Square, expands event

CINCINNATI — One of Cincinnati’s biggest beer festivals is just around the corner but you still have time to get tickets.

Cincinnati’s Craft Beer Block Party will return to Fountain Square on Sept. 12 and 13. The festival will feature more than 200 craft beers from Cincinnati and across the country.

New this year is a Sunday tailgate party. Organizers said fans can help cheer on the Bengals at the square while quaffing craft beer.

Dozens of different beers will be on tap and fans can watch the team take on the Atlanta Falcons on the big screen. The start and date times for the tailgate session will be released closer to the event time.

Fifth Street will be shut down between Vine and Walnut streets to make room for the event.

Advance tickets are on sale right now for the VIP section. The VIP tickets get you access to 24 special beers, (think rare/expensive/hard to find,) as well as a souvenir mug and 25 sampling tickets.

Those beers will include:

  • Triple Digit Chicow! (Hazelnut Double Brown)
  • Triple Digit Aftermath (Scottish Wee Heavy)
  • Triple Digit Coconut Chicow! (oh my)
  • Ommegang Gnomegang
  • Samuel Adams TBA
  • Elevator Horny Goat
  • Mt Carmel Pale Ale
  • Moerlein Brewery Special Release
  • Great Lakes Silver and Gold
  • Thirsty Dog Old Druid
  • Sierra Nevada Ovila Dark Saison
  • Hoppin’ Frog Hop Heathen
  • Hoppin’ Frog TBA
  • MadTree Double IPA
  • Jackie O’s Waka Waka Waka
  • Fathead’s BA Battle Axe
  • Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale
  • Stone Mixtape Vol. 5
  • Dogfish Head Birra Etrusca
  • …and 5 more TBA

Those passes will be sold until 5 p.m. the day of the event.

The fun doesn’t end there either. Friday night is Big Joe Duskin Blues night with performances from Rio The Ramblers, Tickled Pink and The Blue Birds Big Band. Saturday night will feature TAG., Truslow and the headline act will be Bad Veins.

Plus plenty of food trucks will be on hand to serve up tasty treats.

If you can’t get your tickets before then don’t worry, you can passes at the gates.

To get a wristband to drink, it’ll cost you $15. Then you’ll have the option of either choosing pint glass tickets or sample serving tickets. After than it costs $5 per pint or $2 per sample to refill.

If you’re planning on going but not drinking, you can get a $10 designated driver ticket that gets you access to the VIP area (better access to bathrooms,) plus soft drinks and water.

There’s a way to get to sample the beers without getting a ticket too. Organizers said there are still a couple spots for volunteers to pour those beers and help out during the event.

Click here find out more about the event or to sign up to volunteer or check out their Facebook page.  Advance tickets can also be purchased at The Party Source in Bellevue, Ky., and Rock Bottom Brewery at Fountain Square.

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Sep 4, 2014
Freddie Kitson

If you love beer, you’d better head to Lafayette

If you go

What: Third Lafayette Craft Brew BBQ Festival

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6

Where: Atlas Valley, 95th and Arapahoe, Lafayette

Tickets: $25 advance, $30 at the gate


What: Lafayette Brew Fest

When: 1 pm.-6 p.m. Sept. 13

Where: Lafayette Marketplace, 400 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette

Tickets: Free admission; beer samples sold by the pour

Info:, 303-666-9555

Lafayette will be a focus of Boulder County’s beer scene as two different craft-beer festivals set up shop over two consecutive weekends.

First up is the third Lafayette Craft Brew BBQ Festival, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday in the Atlas Valley Shopping Center. Attendees can sample beers from more than 30 local breweries, as well as barbecue from more than 10 vendors during the family-friendly event. Tickets, $25 in advance or $30 at the gate, include unlimited samples of both beer and barbecue. A barbecue-only sampling ticket and children’s ticket options also are available. Proceeds benefit the YMCA of Boulder Valley scholarship fund and the Boulder Rotary Club.

The following Saturday, Sept. 13, the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce will host the inaugural Lafayette Brew Fest from 1 to 6 p.m. in the Lafayette Marketplace behind Jax Mercantile on South Boulder Road. In lieu of an entrance fee, patrons ages 21 and older can purchase $2 tokens for beer samples sold in 4-ounce increments from a variety of local breweries. Food and vendor booths, live music by Chris Daniels the Kings and a homebrew demonstration by Lafayette Homebrew Supply also highlight the fest. Proceeds will be used to help fund Chamber events.

“Lafayette is quickly becoming one of the higher-density areas for breweries,” said Davin Helden, co-owner of Liquid Mechanics Brewing Co., which opened Aug. 16 in Lafayette and will be pouring at both festivals.

Helden said Liquid Mechanics participated in both the Erie Brew Fest and Front Range Rally in Loveland before the brewery even opened its tasting room. He believes beer festivals are a great way to promote the business and local craft breweries in general, which collectively serve as a draw for the area.

“Our favorite beer fests are ones that benefit charity,” he said. “Generally they’re fun, community-oriented events where people can sample a wide variety of beers, and we get a chance to socialize with guests and with our fellow brewers.”

Andra Coberly, Communications Specialist with YMCA of Boulder Valley, which is organizing this weekend’s Lafayette Craft Brew BBQ Festival, likes to stay up-to-date with the latest brewery and restaurant openings but admits that, with so many, it’s difficult to try them all.

“There are breweries on our list that I haven’t had a chance to try yet — like Pug Ryan’s and Odyssey Beerwerks,” she said. The festival, Coberly said, “is a great opportunity for residents to sample newer, smaller breweries all in one place. That’s what’s really cool about beer festivals and, I think, why you see so many of them.”

Pat Vero, special events coordinator for the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the Lafayette Brew Fest on Sept. 13, said she was inspired by the proliferation of breweries in eastern Boulder County, especially in creating the event — including Liquid Mechanics, The Post Brewing Co., Front Range Brewing and Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette, as well as breweries in Louisville and in surrounding communities.

“We wanted to showcase all the different smaller breweries, which have just exploded over the last few years,” Vero said. By giving people the option to purchase individual 4-, 8- or 12-ounce pours and sample as little or as much as they like, she also hopes to “create a street-fair type festival that will bring in people who might not normally go to a brew fest, as well as people who love sampling a variety of beers.”

“We were also cautious about the timing and made sure that it’s not held the same weekend (as the Lafayette Craft Brew BBQ Festival),” she said. “I think we’re going to get different kinds of people at each, as well as some overlap.”

“It’s still summer and people are still in a beer-drinking frame of mind,” Helden said. “I hope people go to both.”

Gravity turns 2

Gravity Brewing will celebrate its second anniversary with a bash from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday in the brewery’s tasting room, 1150 Pine St., Louisville. Live music and special tappings of barrel-aged and small-batch beers on the hour, every hour, highlight the festivities. Get more info at

Contact Tom Wilmes at

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Sep 3, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Try something new at fall beer festivals

With Labor Day now behind us, the autumn months of cooler temperatures, changing colors and squeezing in as much time as possible outdoors have officially arrived. But that’s not all that fall brings around these parts.

For beer drinkers, fall is about the many craft beer festivals happening in and around the Sioux Falls area.

First up is Hy-Vee Brewtopia at 5 p.m. Friday. This celebration of beer is coming up quick, and you’re not going to want to miss out on the 200 craft beers they’ll be featuring from more than 40 breweries across the country. When you pay for this event, you’ll get a lanyard that entitles you to free samples from all the breweries in attendance. On top of that, you’ll get six samples of unique, limited quantity beers that will also be featured that evening. Pick up your punch pass at Hy-Vee Wine Spirits locations for $30, otherwise you can get one at the door for $35.

The next two will take some planning, but for the dedicated festival-goer, I think it’s more than possible to fit these in. The first year of the Rock River Beer Fest will be 2 p.m. Sept. 20 in Luverne, Minn. They’ll feature a number of breweries, including Luverne’s very own Take 16 Brewing Co., which opened earlier this year. Another great feature will be the homebrew contest for those who want to show off their IPA, porter/stout or lager/ale brewing skills. Add live music to this outdoor event, and it’s really going to be a great afternoon. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the event.

If you’re like me, you’re going to find someone to safely drive you from the Rock River Beer Fest back to Sioux Falls to take part in Monks House of Ale Repute’s Beervana 2014 at 4 p.m. Sept. 20. Monks will be featuring more than 50 specialty craft beers again this year to be sampled on an unlimited basis. Unlimited is good. What’s also good is the live music that will be accompanying the entirety of the event. Nick’s Hamburgers from Brookings and Snortz BBQ will be on hand to accommodate the hunger that this busy Saturday will no doubt produce. Cost is $40. And the person driving you around that day can drink all the soda they want for a discounted price of $10.

Finally, a brand new beer event is coming to Sioux Falls at 2 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The Sioux Falls Craft Beer Expo will showcase more than 40 breweries from across the country, all of which you’ll get to sample in your commemorative tasting glass. There will be a homebrew competition for those interested in showcasing their talents, and plenty of education opportunities for attendees to learn about homebrewing, food pairings and the history of brewing. You can purchase VIP admission for $45, which will get you into the event an hour before general admission. General admission is $35, and designated driver admission is $10. Tickets go on sale Friday.

I cannot wait to attend these great beer events. For beer drinkers of all varieties, these are perfect opportunities to try excellent beer from some of the best breweries in the country. Make sure to put these festivals on your calendar and make it a point to make at least one, if not all, of these events.

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Sep 2, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Lebanese craft beer Pour me another

LEBANON’S newest microbrewery sits in the shadow of an unfinished aquarium on the shores of Batroun, a coastal town. The eco-themed brewery’s garden, filled with second-hand furniture and umbrellas, is full of drinkers tasting the four beers made by Colonel. The bottled lager is already stocked in bars around Beirut, the capital. 

Jamil Haddad, Colonel’s owner, started out making liqueurs and eventually a vodka at home. When he finally admitted to himself that he hated vodka he decided to make the leap to beer. The bronzed windsurfer was working as a marketing executive with Adidas in Lebanon at the time. Over four years he travelled around Europe learning the ropes of brewing. In the summer of 2013 he quit his job to focus on founding the brewery and a year later, in June, he started to sell the first bottles of Colonel, named after a local stretch of coastline popular with windsurfers.

Mr Haddad and his family invested $2m in the business and borrowed $400,000. Happily, the tipple is proving popular. In the first three years he expected to make 500 litres per day, half the brewhouse’s capacity. But after just two months the brewery was turning out 1,000 litres each day and was already running out of stock. The company is planning to expand.

Craft beers have long been popular in Europe and America, but they are relatively new to Lebanon, where the beer market is dominated by Almaza, a brand owned by Heineken. That may be slowly changing. 961, a brewery named after Lebanon’s international dialling code, produces around 1.6m litres a year, including beers flavoured with zaatar, or Lebanese thyme. A Lebanese-German man who brews Schtrunz in a 20-square-metre room, and sells only to his friends, will shortly be expanding to a 75-square-metre space. And at the end of July the Kassatly family in the Bekaa Valley, in the country’s east, launched Beirut Beer. The family, who already make vodka and wine, say their aim is to rival Almaza. Mr Haddad’s more modest hope is for more beer festivals and further examples of craft beer in Lebanon.

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Sep 2, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Capital awash with beer as two festivals take place

By Evie Andreou

THE fourth Septemberfest Nicosia Beer Fun Festival is opening its gates in Aglandjia on Friday and the organisers, Display Art, promise an upgraded event with concerts, competitions and of course local and imported beer.

Display Art chairman, Savvas Nicolaou, said that the aim is to enrich events taking place in the capital and to attract visitors from other towns and tourists.
Visitors will be able to choose from 80 beers from around the world and taste traditional beer food.

“We have brought bacon from Germany and pork shank will also be available, which is traditionally served with beer in Germany,” Nicolaou said. Fish and chips will also be offered.

The festival includes live music and shows with alternative, pop and rock music performed by Greek and Cypriot singers and bands.

Performers include Pyx-Lax rock band’s members Philippos Pliatsikas and Pampis Stokas on Friday and popular Greek singer Glykeria on Saturday, as well as rock and blues music on Sunday from the pop and rock cover band Minus One and The Zilla Project blues band. On Monday, the Greek singer Dimitris Mpasis, along with Asmation Live and the Mitropanos Orchestra will perform songs of the late Dimitris Mitropanos. Georgos Tsalikis will perform on Tuesday, while the Melisses pop band and 40+ Rock Band will perform on Wednesday.

An all-expense paid trip to Oktoberfest in Munich will go to the winning couple of the salsa dance competition that will take place at the festival. Interested parties can apply through the event’s Facebook page. Participants pay €5 to receive a number, available at the festival’s stands. There will also be a children’s singing talent show.

Nicolaou also thanked Education Minister Costas Kadis for initiating a dialogue with Aglandjia district school board, allowing for the festival to take place.
The event had been called into question earlier last month when the minister said he would not hear of it being held next to a school, a decision he reconsidered last week.

The school board had refused to adhere to the ministry’s concerns and instead allowed Nicolaou to use Akadimia park, as a venue for the festival.

Septemberfest is one of the two beer festivals taking place in the capital, the other, later in the month, is organised by Nicolaou’s former partners – the Nicosia municipality, Nicosia Tourism Board (ETAP) and the Nicosia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI).

Nicolaou decided to organise his festival after being informed he was not included in the consortium of organisers of this year’s municipality-sponsored beer festival which has taken place since 2011. He has taken out legal proceedings against the consortium organising this year’s event, seeking compensation for their use of the logo and for unfair competition.

The hearing was last week with a ruling expected on September 4.

Nicolaou said that his former partners had tried to stop him from organising Septemberfest and that they had put pressure on other municipalities in the capital not to cooperate with him and host the event, claims the Nicosia municipality says they are not true.

“In no way does the municipality accept the accusations concerning the beer festival,” said the municipality in an announcement last week and added that the claims require no further comment.

Display Art’s Septemberfest will take place from September 5 to 10. Entrance is €5 with one beer. Entrance is free for children up to 14 years old. For information visit

The municipality-sponsored Nicosia Beer Festival will open on September 10 and will run until September 14 at the Constanza Moat. Opening hours: 7pm until midnight. Entrance: €5.

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Sep 1, 2014
Freddie Kitson

MGM tapping into craft beer festivals – Las Vegas Review

For the past year, beer festival organizer Motley Brews in Las Vegas has cornered the local beer fest market.

Motley Brews drew 5,500 suds lovers to the East Fremont Street district for its Great Vegas Festival of Beer in April, and another 3,000 brew fans are expected to descend on its Downtown Brew Festival at the county amphitheater this month.

But now there is a new 800-pound beer-guzzling gorilla on the block.

And it’s MGM Resorts International, the heavy on the Strip partnering with the nationally known, Portland-based Oregon Beer Festival to throw an inaugural craft beer festival at MGM’s festival lot across from Luxor on Sept. 27.

MGM’s new Blvd Brew Fest — complete with the high-profile Kings of Leon band — is being tapped just one week after Motley Brews holds its annual Downtown Brew Festival on Sept. 20.

Beer-tasting events are hardly new to Las Vegas. But what is new is the growing scope of the beer bashes in Sin City and the fact that a Strip power like MGM Resorts has thrown its bottle opener into the brew-fest ring.

MGM’s event lot is playing host to three dozen Oregon brewers, including powerhouse brands such as Descutes Brewery of Bend and Rogue Ales of Ashland.

The opening of a half-dozen craft beer microbreweries in Southern Nevada this year combined with the advent of the large beer festivals shows that Las Vegas is adopting West Coast traits ranging from becoming more bicycle-friendly to opening downtown co-working business centers.


Motley Brews founder Brian Chapin doesn’t mind MGM entering the beer festival scene because he sees the new Strip beer event as advancing the craft market in Las Vegas. Having a major player on the Strip staging a big beer festival validates the notion that craft beer now has traction in this market, he said.

“Anything to push the craft beer movement is fantastic. What we’re trying to work on is complete acceptance,” Chapin said. “Oregon is considered beertopia.”

MGM’s business strategy differs than Motley Brews’ because the hotel-casino company is also using its inaugural beer festival on the Strip to drive traffic to its 11 hotel properties on the Strip.

It’s also part of MGM’s strategy to offer its hotel guests more outdoor options, such as the park plaza between New York-New York and Monte Carlo now under construction. It will lead to its 20,000-seat arena, slated to open in spring 2016.

MGM is also teaming up with its local event organizers Sonny Barton and Chris Hammond for another festival in October: a wine and music festival called Wine Amplified on Oct. 10 and 11.

For Blvd Brew Fest, Hammond expects 60 percent of the attendees to be local, while 40 percent will be tourists. Barton said they are advertising in the Southern California and Phoenix markets to lure brew fans to beer on the boulevard.

Besides lining up a high-powered musical act like Kings of Leon, Barton and Hammond is also setting up a second stage in the opposite corner of the MGM festival lot to feature bands from Southern California and Utah.

“It’s Vegas, and you got to go big and you have to do it right,” Hammond said.

At the Downtown Brew Festival one week earlier, Chapin projects 85 percent of the attendees will be locals.

“We give an alternative event to the Strip,” he said.

Tim Etter, owner of Tenaya Creek Brewery in Las Vegas, said he welcomes the Oregon beers coming to the Strip because the majority of those brands are not distributed in Southern Nevada.

“It shows you what’s happening in Las Vegas. We’re catching up with the rest of the country,” Etter said.

“It’s a great thing for those Oregon breweries that can showcase their beers in front of the locals and also the tourists on the Strip,” Etter said.

“It exposes them to an audience that might not be familiar with their brands. More than half of those brands don’t distribute beer to Las Vegas. They’re not available here.”


Mark Lawson, Nevada Beverage Co. craft brand manager, said it’s great to have a big name like MGM spotlighting craft beer in the Las Vegas area, but he was hoping more local distributors and brewers could have been participating.

“Anytime you have a focus on craft beer, that’s a good thing. We need all the help we can get in this market. When someone like MGM puts an impetus behind it, people say, ‘Hey, maybe craft is viable.’ But it would also have been nice to also include our local guys to show the Oregon guys here’s what we’re doing here,” Lawson said.

Big Dog, a popular Las Vegas brewery, participates in many beer festivals in the Las Vegas area and holds its own festivals throughout the year at its locations.

Big Dog will be at the Sept. 20 Downtown Brew event but as of last week has not heard from the Blvd Brew Fest.

“Beer festivals are a lot of fun, but it’s a workday for us, and we’re out there promoting our brand,” said Robert Snyder, Big Dog chief financial officer and treasurer of the Nevada Craft Brewers Association.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at or 702-387-5273. Follow @BicycleManSnel on Twitter.

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Aug 31, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer and sun equal fun in Bolton

Lyrus Pond of Cabot held a Sip of Sunshine in his hand. It was his first beer of the day at about noon. The American IPA style beer was brewed by Lawson’s Finest Liquids of Warren.

Turns out Pond’s brew matched the day — sunny and smooth. Only a few clouds dotted the blue sky above him at the inaugural Hop Jam 2014 at Bolton Valley Resort in Bolton on Saturday.

An eclectic mix of bands matched the varied suds on tap. Bands played slope side as about 1,000 people from all over New England poured in throughout the day.

Featured music included JP Harris the Tough Choices, Soule Monde, Primate Fiasco, Spirit Family Reunion and the Alchemystics.

A tall white Abominable Snowman, the Vermont Adaptive yeti, entertained the masses, mostly by answering the question, “Aren’t you hot in that?”

The day started off with the Bolton Valley 5K to benefit Vermont Adaptive organized by Vermont Adaptive Northern Program Coordinator Amber Tierney of Bolton. She setup an information booth at the foot of the slopes with some of her adaptive ski equipment after the 5K.

“We provide sports and recreation equipment and opportunities for people year-round,” she said. “Every penny counts. We are always fundraising. Adaptive ski equipment is not cheap.”

The Woodbelly Pizza line was long, and people be-bopped to the music while they waited. Hop Jammers rested on the grass-covered hill to eat while taking in the sights and sounds. Most brought their own folding chairs and blankets.

Woodbelly’s Jonah Bourne of Cabot said he was prepared for the crowd. “We have all of our farm fresh ingredients ready,” he said. “We are psyched to be here. The music is great. And we love the hop head logo.”

The hop head logo Bourne referred to is a green hop named L’il Simcoe who jammed to music on T-shirts, signs, and lanyards at the event.

Simcoe is a variety of hop.

Bolton Valley Resort Marketing Director Josh Arneson said, “It’s a genius little logo. I hope that little guys stays with us for years to come.”

Arneson was busy selling season passes at the event. New this year is a Ski Bum pass for people ages 18 to 25. The pass is only $159, with no black-out dates, if it’s purchased before Oct. 31.

Arneson said the resort has never hosted an event as big as Hop Jam in the summer months. “This really adds a lot of energy to the resort this time of year,” he said. “We are getting the word out about our specials, and the resort is booked. We are sold out for tonight.”

Meg’s Events planner Meg Schultz of Moretown said just like wine has different varieties of grapes, beer has different varieties of hops. “That’s a big part of what makes one beer different from another,” she said. “A pinot grigio is a lot different than a merlot, it’s the same with beer.”

Tasty brews were from Burlington Beer Co., Hill Farmstead, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Treehouse Brewing, Lost Nation Brewery, Lawson’s Finest, High Horse Brewing, Citizen Cider, Sixpoint Brewing, The Alchemist, Zero Gravity, Trillium Brewing, and Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Hop Jam is one of five beer festivals Schultz organized for this summer.

Honky tonk, funk-fusion, and blue grass were in the lineup. “People like a lot of diversity in their music, and in their beer, so that was my mission here,” Schultz said. “I wanted something for everybody. The variety really makes the event.”

Soule Monde drummer Russ Lawton of Middlebury said, “It’s a beautiful day and we get a chance to play without sliding down the mountain,” he said. “I’m a drummer. I don’t ski. I just entertain.”

Lagunitas Brewing Co. New England representative Chris Marzi said he didn’t know what to expect of the event. “We can’t wait to come back next year,” he said.

Contact Lynn Monty at and follow her on Twitter at

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