Browsing articles tagged with " beer festivals"
With a number of upcoming beer festivals, it’s time to study up on the best pairings of craft beer and food.
We asked Randy Hayden, general manager of Wine World Destin, to describe common craft beers and pair them up with some food for us.
Between his suggestions as well as information from an advocate of American craft beer, Brewers Association, you should now be able to grab a snack at one of the local beer festivals that compliments the beer you’re tasting.
Check out the graph.
Want to learn more? The Brewers Association has a full graph describing and pairing 28 different craft beers available for purchase on its website: www.brewersassociation.org.
Several beer festivals are coming up in the next few weeks.
Want to learn the finer points of beer tasting?
Did you think you’ve tasted everything the Dauphin Street Beer Festival had to offer? Think again.
“There is a difference this year, and I am very excited about the difference,” said organizer Joanie Stiff, an event coordinator with Mobile’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. “This year it is craft beer only.”
Devotees of fine brews likely will agree with Stiff that this is a tremendous development. Over the course of the last 16 years, the festival has certainly brought its share of genuinely innovative flavors to Mobile’s downtown entertainment district. But its roster has also featured plenty of mainstream beverages. So, yes, it has been possible to hold out your commemorative mug for a tasting pour of something you might casually pick up by the case at your local supermarket.
This year, Stiff said, beer snobs will find more to get excited about. A look over the list (Click here) reveals that there’s not a single light beer on it. Stiff said the approach was based on feedback from participating venues and patrons, and involved the support of the distributors involved in the event.
“We’re very very pleased with what we’re seeing,” she said. “It separates us from some of the other beer festivals.”
“We’ve got some local Alabama beers, we’ve got some beers from throughout the South,” said Stiff. “We’ve got beers from California. We’ve got three beers from Hawaii … We’ve got English beers, we’ve got German beers, we’ve got Belgian beers.”
If that paragraph made you salivate, here are a few things you need to know:
1. The 17th annual Dauphin Street Beer Festival takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, in Mobile’s downtown entertainment district. Tickets are $25 per person, and are available at each of the 29 participating venues. Because each venue gets an allotment of 125 tickets, some will sell out sooner than others, so don’t assume you can wait until the last minute and pick up passes at your favorite downtown haunt. Stiff said Monday that the few venues doing online ticket sales already were sold out or close to it.
2. This year’s participating venues are: Alchemy Tavern, B-Bob’s, The Bar, The Blind Mule, Boo Radley’s, The Brickyard, The Crescent Theater, The Flip Side, Gabriel’s Downtown, The Garage, Grand Central, The Haberdasher, Hayley’s, Heroes, The Joe Cain Café, LoDa Biergarten, Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que, O’Daly’s Irish Pub/Dauphin St. Blues Co./Draft Picks Tap Room, OK Bicycle Shop, Pat’s Downtown, The Royal Scam, Saddle Up Saloon, Serda’s Coffee Co., Soul Kitchen, Studio 5’4″, T.P. Crockmier’s, Union, Veet’s Bar Grill and Wintzell’s Oyster House.
3. Click here to see the list of beers that will be offered at each venue. Click here for a map to help you locate any of the venues.
4. Ten of the participating venues are licensed as private clubs, which means they have to keep membership rolls and issue membership cards. If you buy your ticket early, you get instructions for an online registration process. If you show up on Saturday without doing this, you’ll probably end up having to fill out some paperwork before you can get started. Don’t be that guy.
5. Organizers will maintain an info booth in Cathedral Square during the event. To find out who has tickets left or to resolve last-minute registration issues, come to the square. You can also register for prize drawings. (Note: If you’re hunting for last-minute tickets, it also pays to keep an eye on the Dauphin Street Beer Festival page on Facebook.)
6. As you can see from the accompanying map, the festival venues are scattered over a 12-block stretch. Fear not, however: A free trolley runs during festival hours, helping patrons cover the distance.
7. Beer Fest traffic tends to be heaviest at the intersections where Washington Avenue and Joachim Street cross Dauphin Street, two areas with clusters of popular nightspots. But great beers (and shorter lines) are on offer at venues along Royal, Conti and St. Francis streets. Asked for tips on how to make the most of the event, Stiff suggested: “Start someplace new, and end someplace new.”
8. Several downtown hotels are offering specials for Beer Fest patrons; for information, visit the event’s Facebook page. To contact organizers, www.ncsmobile.org or call the city’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services at 251-208-1550.
9. Sorry kids, tickets are strictly limited to participants age 21 and up.
TJ Glowicz holds his glass of beer wearing pretzel necklace during the Untapped Indie Music Beer Fort Worth at Panther Island Pavilion at Fort Worth, TX on March 8, 2014. (Kye R. Lee/The Dallas Morning News)
Get out your road map. The next couple months feature three huge craft beer festivals, each with a different twist. If you’ve never attended a beer festival, now is the time. There is no better way to explore the craft beer world. Small samples poured by hundreds, if not thousands, of brewers truly allow you to hone in and identify those brewers and styles you like best (and those you don’t).
Texas Craft Brewers Festival
First up is the Texas Craft Brewers Festival on September 27 at Fiesta Gardens in Austin. This festival focuses exclusively on Texas craft brewers and 57 of them will attend the event this year. Brewers outside of Texas are not even invited. You won’t find a better opportunity to experience Texas craft beer, as no other festival features as many Texas craft brewers. Each brewery will pour two of its best beers and a rotating tap will feature rare beers from 16 of these brewers. The rotating tap will dispense a new beer every 30 minutes throughout the festival.
Great American Beer Festival
Next up is the granddaddy of them all, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), held October 2-4 in Denver. Over 1,300 breweries will pour more than 5,700 beers. The GABF is the biggest beer festival in America. Not only does it last an entire weekend, but the GABF features the greatest beer competition in the world. Brewers submit their beers in one of 90 separate categories for judging, all in hopes of winning the biggest award in the craft beer industry — a GABF gold medal. There is no greater validation of a brewer’s skill than receipt of a GABF medal.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Untapped festival on November 1 in Dallas, at Gilley’s South Side complex. Untapped is a truly unique festival featuring the combination of beer and music. Local and national brewers pour beer while indie music fills the air on multiple stages throughout the complex. Brewers typically bring their rarest beers to Untapped, which entices even the biggest beer connoisseurs’ attendance. The musical lineup is dynamite in its own right. From local staples, such as the Polyphonic Spree, to international superstars, Cake, this year’s Untapped festival is sure to be a true gem.
Michael Peticolas is a fifth generation Texas trial attorney and owner/operator of Dallas’ Peticolas Brewing Company.
By Kathryn Millhorn
While the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest is limited to the 21+ crowd, activities abound for non-beer lovers too.
Olympia loves her brews. Whether locally roasted coffee or regionally created beers, we’re a town of skilled craftsmen when it comes to all things homemade and delicious. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” If that’s the case, then He’ll be smiling down on us Saturday, August 23, at the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest.
Jennifer Leach, Special Projects and Event Manager at the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor Convention Bureau explains that “this is second year of a beer event in Tumwater. Last year, we hosted the first Tumwater Oktoberfest, however we wanted to be able to hold the event in August and differentiate ourselves from the numerous Oktoberfests and Beer Festivals in the Pacific Northwest. That is why we chose to rebrand this year, as Tumwater Artesian Brewfest, paying homage to the Olympia Beer advertising campaign from the 1980s, as well as the Artesian wells all over town.”
One of the activities scheduled for the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest is a beer stein holding contest.
The event will take place at Tumwater Valley Golf Course from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. There will be more than 30 breweries participating, as well as the original Olympia Beer, and wine tastings from wineries across Thurston County. Aficionados interested in to-the-minute listings of registered brewers and vintners can follow the event online, where the names and specifics of participating food and drink vendors are updated. One such attendee is a new addition to the Olympia brewing scene, Three Magnets Brewery says “We’re excited to give a sneak peak to our community about what to expect from Three Magnets Brewing Co.”
Attendance is limited to the 21+ crowd but that doesn’t mean things will be staid and dull. Says Leach, “The reason we have so many activities is that we wanted to be unique from other beer festivals or brew fests, providing things to do besides standing or sitting and tasting beer (we will have plenty of tables, chairs and shade tents to do that too though).”
“Our partnership with the City of Tumwater allows us to do that, especially with the large driving range we host the event on,” continues Leach. ”Our hope was also to create an environment where there is plenty to do besides tasting beer (or wine or cider), especially for those people who are the designated drivers for the group or simply don’t enjoy beer. We will also have wine and hard cider available. So there will be something for everyone, but is it definitely not your average brew fest.”
Test your beer pong skills during the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest.
Activities will include—but are not limited to—Supersized Beer Pong, Cornhole, Giant Jenga, a Mechanical Shark, volleyball, field goal kick game, footballs, and Frisbees available for play, Beer Stein Holding Contests (whoever can hold a 1-liter beer stein filled with Olympia Beer the longest), First Tee Hole In One Contest, and a 168 yard hole are a few more examples. DJ’s will provide music from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. to keep things rocking.
With the gorgeous summer weather we’ve had, and more predicted, numbers at the Brewfest promise to be an increase over last year. “Last year we had about 1,500 people, and this year we are expecting 3,000,” Leach explains. ”We have made quite a few changes, and number of improvements, so it wouldn’t even be fair to compare last year to this year! Last year we had a very basic set up, and utilized a tap truck to handle all the beer. This year we will have about 30 breweries representing and pouring their own beer, four wineries and one cider producer.
“Each brewery is bringing 2-3 beers, so we are expecting about 75 different beers,” describes Leach. ”Our goal was to only have Pacific Northwest breweries, so we hand selected breweries from Washington and Oregon to celebrate all the great beer being brewed in the state. The idea of Tumwater Artesian Brewfest originated with the desire to celebrate Tumwater’s brewing history, as the former home of Olympia Beer. That is why in addition to all the micro brews available, we will have Olympia Beer on tap as well, to honor the former Olympia Brewing Company’s impact on the Tumwater community.”
Before Brewfest, there will be a 3-mile Fun Run which begins at noon. Runners will all receive a complimentary beer mug as well as access to the festival 30 minutes before gates open to the general public.
Discounted tickets are available through noon on Friday.
Discounted pre-sale tickets are available online through noon on Friday, August 22. You can purchase them online or at the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau at 103 Sid Snyder Ave SW, Olympia. Attendees are welcome to bring blankets, but pets must be left at home. Ticket prices include admission, a tasting mug, and five tokens to use towards samples. Additional samples are available for purchase. Pre-sale prices are $20 for regular admission, $15 with military ID, and $10 for designated drivers. At the gate, all prices increase $5.
Olympia is full of amazing after dark activities, but this combines all the greatest aspects into one fun-filled night. Where else can you spend a glorious summer evening mingling with friends and community members, sampling the best our region has to offer?
SEBRING — Linda Crowder, the executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Highlands, doesn’t drink beer. And until last year she had never attended a craft beer festival.
But that partly changed because she was looking for a fundraiser for the museum.
“I was looking for a fundraiser that would be attended by young adults and I have grown children who go to various craft beer festivals,” she said.
So, she said, she attended one and thought it would be a nice event for Sebring.
And last year’s event far surpassed her expectations that they will hold another one this year called “2nd Round of Beer.”
Crowder said that last year they only planned for 300 attendees. Once 300 tickets were sold they had to turn people away, she said.
This year, the event is planned for 500 people.
The 2nd Round of Beer Festival will be held Sept. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the downtown Circle. More than 30 different beers from a variety of brewers will be available, as well as food. Tickets will cost $25 and include samplings of beer and food. For designated drivers, tickets will cost $15 and include food samples and soft drinks.
Additionally, people can preorder and buy commemorative T-shirts for $15.
Crowder said this year’s event will feature more beer from a larger variety of craft brewers. Selections will include Black Cherry Ale and Hoptical Illusion.
Some of the featured beers are made in Florida, but “there’s some from all over the country,” she said.
Long Shot will provide entertainment.
Crowder said proceeds from the event will benefit the museum to help with operating costs. She said they hope to raise $10,000 this year.
Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch The 2nd annual Rails and Ales Festival is held on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, at Heritage Station in downtown Huntington.
HUNTINGTON — Anyone wanting to get tickets to the 3rd annual Rails and Ales festival next year at Heritage Station better line up early.
Only 1,500 tickets were available for this year’s craft beer festival in downtown Huntington, and they went fast. Diane Pendleton of Hurricane, W.Va, was able to get six the first day they went on sale. “We were lucky,” she said. “We got ours just in time before they sold out.”
“We’ve gone to other beer festivals,” she said. “This is comparable. This is a big success. Craft beer is very popular now. People love tasting the different beers.”
“My son got tickets for me,” said Pat Reger of Huntington. “This is a great little thing for Huntington.”
Jessica Pressman of the Better Beer Coalition, which hosts Rails and Ales, said tickets were limited because “we want the experience for everyone to be enjoyable. We want everyone to have a good time. We want to grow slowly so we can provide a quality experience for everyone.”
Eighty-nine different beers brewed or distributed in West Virginia were available at the festival. There also were six food vendors including the folks from Backyard Pizza, which has been without a home since a fire in downtown Huntington several weeks ago.
The group would like to expand the festival next year, Pressman said.
Shelly Keeney of Huntington went to the inaugural festival last year and knew she wanted to come back this year. Only 750 tickets were sold last year.
“It was really good, and the food vendors were very good, so I’ve been looking forward to it,” she said.
Bill Rittenour, owner of Chestnut Brew Works in Morgantown, W.Va., was attending the festival for the first time. He opened his brewery in April of last year and plans to expand from 200 barrels to 1,100 barrels this November. Things are going well.”
He was offering three types of draft beer, but his Halleck Pale Ale was the favorite of many.
Chip Roedersheimer of the North End Tavern and Brewery in Parkersburg, was another of the microbrewers participating in the festival.
“We were here last year,” he said. “I picked up five accounts. I deliver to Huntington every other week or so.”
“I was bred to this,” he said. When his parents brought him home from the hospital, they put him in an Inglenook wooden wine crate instead of a baby bed. “We’re the oldest, continuous operating brewery in West Virginia. The company has been in business since 1899.”
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Las Vegas already has so many beer festivals—but damn it, we need more! Luckily, the folks at Mandalay Bay are well aware of this, and have scheduled a three-day Beer Weekend to celebrate not only the best beer has to offer, but some of the Strip’s finest cuisine.
The beer list is tempting enough by itself: Dogfish Head, Ballast Point, Stone and Firestone Walker, as well as local breweries Big Dog’s, Tenaya Creek, Chicago Brewing Company, Joseph James, Bad Beat and Crafthaus. But Mandalay Bay’s Director of Food and Beverage (and the state’s first female certified cicerone) Sarah Johnson is taking the event over the top by including food from some of Mandalay Bay’s finest restaurants.
The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. September 12 with a brewmasters’ dinner at Mix, featuring a five-course menu served with Firestone Walker and Brooklyn Brewery beers, with presentations by the brewers themselves. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is $225 per person.
If that’s a bit too much for your wallet, wait until September 13 for the beer festival at Mandalay Bay Beach at 7:30 p.m. It’s $75, but there will still be plenty of beer on offer, as well as food from chefs including Hubert Keller, Michael Mina, Alain Ducasse, Shawn McClain, Matthias Merges and more.
And to get you in the mood to drink, attend a craft beer revolution panel discussion from 3-4 p.m. at Eyecandy Sound Lounge earlier that day, featuring Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy. The event is free, but seating is limited to the first 100 who attend.
Assuming you’re in good enough shape the following morning, check out Beer for Breakfast at 9 a.m. September 14 at Fleur. Chef Hubert Keller will prepare a special brunch menu, all of it paired with beers selected by Johnson. To make a reservation, call 702-632-7400.
For more information got to mandalaybay.com/beer.
For Luther Dickinson, writing about tough times isn’t easy, but it is one way to make great music. Dickinson is the vocalist and guitarist of North Mississippi Allstars, a Southern roots rock group with a long legacy and large fan following. The band will headline EdFest, the local craft beer and music festival in Edwards today. Like their name suggests, North Mississippi Allstars are heavily influenced by their home state, and the hard life that many in the deep south experience.
“It’s the home of the blues,” Dickinson said. “Mississippi, it’s a rough place. I guess people use music as an escape to try and find a way out.”
‘MODERN MUSIC OUT OF AN ANCIENT MELODY’
Dickinson might be more inspired by hardscrabble moments than happy ones, but more than anything he’s interested in fusing old-school soul into tunes that make you want to move.
“A large part of what we do is incorporate traditional music into a new aesthetic,” Dickinson said. “We just love working within the roots music vernacular and making danceable modern music out of an ancient melody and rhythm.”
Dickinson formed North Mississippi Allstars in 1996 with his brother, Cody. The sons of Memphis record producer Jim Dickinson, the brothers have music in their blood and a bond that’s hard to break, even if sometimes they wish they could.
“(Working with my brother) in a lot of ways is telepathic and unspoken and the music comes really easy,” Dickinson said. “But of course it’s stressful in other ways. The payoff is no matter what, you can always keep the band together, you know that (at least) two of us will be at the show.”
This will be the first time in three years the band has played in Colorado, and six years since they took to the stage locally. Dickinson said he loves playing in Colorado because the jam band scene is still celebrated and going strong.
“It’s one of the best audiences in America,” Dickinson said. “It’s fun because (people in Colorado) like live music. It’s like New Orleans or San Francisco or Chicago, it’s a great musical environment because of the people.”
BIGGER BANDS, MORE BREWS
It’s difficult to determine who’s more excited for the show today, North Mississippi Allstars themselves or the fans. Marisa Selvy, co-owner of Crazy Mountain Brewery and festival director for EdFest, said getting the band to headline was big coup for the festival, only in its fourth year.
“We’re just really thrilled,” Selvy said. “A lot of people are impressed that we’re able to book them on our own. Normally you have to book through a promoter or an agent. All we did was pick up the phone and called their managers. I like their vibe. It’s danceable music that attracts a fun crowd, but not a crazy EDM crowd.”
The band is not the only thing that’s bigger at EdFest this year. Originally held in the Crazy Mountain Brewery parking lot, EdFest will spread to the soccer field at Freedom Park and have 64 breweries, compared to 32 last year. In addition to all the cool brews, EdFest will also incorporate local craft spirits, including the new Parce Rum and Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Selvy said the festival has grown just as rapidly as the craft beer craze itself.
“People are becoming a little more educated with how they drink and what they drink,” Selvy said. “Instead of getting the cheapest beer, they look at the menu and see that a beer was made in a small batch from a (craft brewery). People like that craft beer has finer ingredients.”
A FESTIVAL THAT SELLS ITSELF
Selvy said the current trend in craft brews are session beers, which are five percent alcohol by volume or less.
“Craft beers are (normally) really high in alcohol,” Selvy said. “With session beers you can have a long drinking ‘session,’ and just hang out without getting too drunk so quickly.”
Selvy said festival-goers should keep their eye out for quite a few rare European brews, which aren’t sold anywhere locally. With more than 60 breweries, the festival is designed for craft brew lovers looking to try something new.
“I bet you there’s not going to be a single person who’s already tried every single beer we have,” Selvy said.
Personally, Selvy is pumped for opening band Laughing Bones, who will be reuniting just for EdFest.
“When I first moved here they were my favorite band in the valley,” Selvy said. “We said, ‘We’d love it if you would get back together and play (for the festival)’. They have such a unique Americana sound.”
Kate Kingsbery, event coordinator at Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver, said what makes EdFest better than other craft beer festivals is it’s run by an actual brewing company, who know how to craft not only good brews but a great atmosphere. A big fan of North Mississippi Allstars who’s seen them perform live several times, Kingsbery said the festival is a can’t miss for both beer and music fans.
“(At EdFest) you have craft beer, music and hanging out with a bunch of brewers,” Kingsbery said. “That sells itself.”
Both brewers and musicians will be crafting something made from the heart at the festival.
“For me personally, (performing) is about how to rise to the occasion, how to conjure up a special moment and then extend that moment,” Dickinson said. “It’s about making a shared feeling with the audience.”
Head down to Edwards to share a beer, craft a musical memory and savor the last drops of summertime, before they’re gone for good.
If you go
What: Boulder Craft Beer Festival
When: Noon-5 p.m. Aug. 23
Where: Central Park, west of Broadway on Canyon Boulevard
Tickets: $30 advance, $35 day of event
• Twelve Degree Brewing, Louisville
• Avery Brewing, Boulder
• Bootstrap Brewing, Niwot
• Boulder Beer, Boulder
• BRU Handbuilt Ales, Boulder
• FATE Brewing Co., Boulder
• Gravity Brewing, Louisville
• J Wells Brewery, Boulder
• Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont
• Odd13 Brewing, Lafayette
• Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont
• The Post Brewing Co., Lafayette
• Sanitas Brewing Co., Boulder
• Shine Brewing Co., Boulder
• Twisted Pine Brewing Co., Boulder
• Upslope Brewing Co., Boulder
• Vindication Brewing Co., Boulder
• Walnut Brewery, Boulder
• West Flanders Brewing Co., Boulder
• Wild Woods Brewery, Boulder
With more than 30 breweries and brewpubs, Boulder County is a thriving hive of activity in Colorado’s craft-beer scene. And while most of those breweries participate in many events locally and throughout the state, it might seem like an oversight that there are no beer festivals specific to celebrating Boulder County’s breweries.
That will change when the inaugural Boulder Craft Beer Festival sets up shop from noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 23 in the area of Central Park west of Broadway.
Presented by Liquor Mart and produced by Downtown Boulder Incorporated (DBI) — the nonprofit organization that puts on Bands on the Bricks, the Open Arts Fest, Munchkin Masquerade and many other downtown events — the Boulder Craft Beer Festival will include more than 20 local breweries pouring samples of their beers, as well as food, music, games and other attractions.
“We were a little surprised that no one had done a festival like this yet,” said event director Anna Salim. “We were looking to do something in conjunction with the start of the Pro Cycling Challenge (Stage 7 from Boulder to Denver is the following day), and we were also encouraged by the City of Boulder Parks Department, which is very keen on activating our downtown civic areas.”
The event will take place along Boulder Creek in the grassy area between the Boulder Public Library’s main branch and the Municipal Building.
Tickets, $30 in advance or $35 at the gate, include a commemorative tasting glass and unlimited beer samples, as well as snacks provided by Glutino and Udi’s Gluten Free. Food also will be available for purchase. Attendees younger than 21 or who choose not to purchase a sampling wristband still will be able to join in the fun, including music throughout the day and games such as Ping-Pong and Cornhole.
A Designated Driver ticket is available for $10 that includes five non-alcoholic beverages and a $10 voucher for use with onsite food vendors. Attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the event, and Boulder B-cycle will offer a bike valet service for a small donation.
Proceeds from the Boulder Craft Beer Festival will help fund other DBI events, many of which are presented at no cost to the community.
Just as these annual community events are a big draw for local residents and visitors alike, the concentration of Boulder’s breweries acts as a draw in its own right and is also a major contributor to the area’s economic vitality, said Terri Takata-Smith, DBI’s marketing and communications director.
“Roughly 6,000 jobs in Colorado have been created through the craft-beer industry, and about 600 to 700 of those jobs are right here in Boulder County,” she said.
Organizers sought input from local breweries to identify elements that would make for a successful, more collaborative experience.
Said Salim: “We wanted to come out of the gate with a really strong event and get everyone invested from the start, especially the breweries. The emphasis is on bringing everyone together for a great community event and the opportunity to taste all these great Boulder County beers in one location.”
Contact Tom Wilmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nearly 800 drinkers downed more than 3,000 pints at Saturday’s Fleet Lions Beer Festival, helping make it the most successful yet.
To celebrate its eighth year, the Lions picked the pirate theme Pieces of Eight and there was grog aplenty for thirsty revellers.
Beer festival organiser Dan Franklin was delighted with the response.
“We sold out of our 38 barrels of beer and 50 gallons of cider, with the cider gone by 8pm,” he said. “We had around 770 punters in all, 555 of whom were in the evening, which was busier than ever before. We even had to turn people away.
“There was a really interesting, varied selection of beers this year, which was commented on by many of the visitors, as was the well kept nature of it.”
This year’s festival on August 9, again held at The Harlington in Fleet, featured two sessions – one at lunchtime, from 11am to 3pm, and one in the evening, from 5.30pm to 9.30pm. There were 38 different real ales from 15 breweries, including those from the best local micro breweries in the area. Locally produced ciders also went down well.
In a unique twist, all six of the Monster Raving Loony Party’s range of Co‘ALE’ition ales were on sale together for the first time.
Monster Raving Loony Party leader, and Fleet resident, Howling Laud Alan Hope officially opened both the afternoon and evening sessions and was MC for the event, which featured live music from the Stomping Nomads and the Fleet Booze Hound Blues Band.
There was also a barbecue, with all the meat supplied by Clark Butchers of Fleet, and fresh rolls from Morrisons.
Fleet resident and CAMRA member Derrill Carr said it was one of the most enjoy-able beer festivals he had ever attended.
“It was brilliantly planned by the Fleet Lions organisers and the execution on the day was perfect,” he added.
“The Harlington once again proved to be an excellent venue and the sunny weather on the day was very helpful.
“The popularity and growth of real ale is remarkable as this event proved, once again, with lots of ladies and younger people in attendance, helping to destroy the myth that ale festivals are only for guys with beards who are over 50.”
Mr Carr said the real ales were served in “excellent” condition by “very knowledgeable” volunteers.
“All the real ales sold out by the time the festival closed at 9.30pm,” he added. “The evening session was a complete sell-out by 7.30pm and it was a one in, one out policy for the last couple of hours.”
Mash brewery’s Amber ale was voted best beer of the festival. A special commemorative glass, designed by Fleet artist Andy Johnson, was also given to every drinker.
Organisers are still counting the proceeds from this year’s festival, which will be donated to Sailability, but they hope to have raised in excess of £5,000.
Based at Frensham Ponds, the charity gives disabled people the chance to sail and offers a range of boating opportunities, from therapeutic to competitive sailing, all within a safe, caring and social environment.