Browsing articles tagged with " beer festivals"
Jun 27, 2014
Freddie Kitson

5 ways to get the most out of a beer fest (there are 2 on tap in Syracuse this … – The Post

This weekend offers Central New Yorkers the opportunity to attend not one, but two different beer festivals.

The World of Beer Empire Brewfest is tonight and Saturday at the State Fair’s Chevy Court. The Tipp Hill Beer Fest is Saturday evening in the pavilion next to Coleman’s. See details on each.

So how do you get the most out of a beer fest? (Hint: It’s not by drinking more than anyone else).

1) Embrace the variety. The greatest thing about a beer fest is the ability to try lots of different beers (in small samples). So maybe you’re primarily a pale ale/IPA drinker who also has a thing for porters. Try branching out: There’s sure to be a collection of summer wheats out there, or perhaps some Belgian styles. Live a little — try a style you’ve never had before.

2) Educate your beer palate. If you’re not an experienced beer drinker, try this: Look for a beer that is touted as being malty, or malt-accented (that’s the grainy, bready side of beer). Then try one that is loaded with hops (bitter, citrus, floral). In the side-by-side taste test, you may have that Eureka moment — you’ll know malt from hops. Then move on to stouts, wheats or Belgians.

3) Advanced education. OK, maybe you’re way beyond malt vs. hops. Do some advance comparisons. Say you really like over-the-top hopped IPAs. This is your chance to try a bunch side-by-side. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to compare the intense bitterness of a beer made with lots of Simcoe hops against the grapefruit aromas of Mosaic.

4) Ask questions. Don’t just walk up with your glass and say “gimme a beer!” Talk to the people pouring the beer — if you’re lucky, it will be a brewer or someone who works at the brewer or distributor. Ask them what’s in the beer, what’s the style, what other beers it could be compared to. That’s the only way to accomplish points 2 and 3 above.

5) Don’t be stupid. A beer fest is a way to sample lots of interesting beers with your friends. It’s not a contest to see who can get staggeringly drunk the fastest. And it’s always a good idea for your group to have a designated driver — or call a cab. And make sure you’re asking the pourer to tell you the alcohol content of beers you’re not familiar with. You don’t want to find out at the end of the night that you’ve drunk a bunch of 10 percent alcohol (or more) super brews.

Don Cazentre will sign and sell copies of his new book, ‘New York Breweries, 2nd ed.’ at the Tipp Hill fest Saturday. Look for him at the Middle Ages booth. Cash only. Don writes about food, beverages, restaurants and bars for syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Contact him by email, on Twitter, at Google+ or via Facebook.

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Jun 26, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Brewfest all grown up after 25 years


In the summer of 1990, Fort Collins’ two craft brewers, Doug Odell and Brad Page, got together with Maggie Kunze of the Downtown Business Association. They set up booths in Old Town Square and they invited nine other brewers from around Colorado to bring some beers and join them.

Unlike the Great American Beer Festival, then 8 years old, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival was social and noncompetitive. All of the brewers, including Odell and Page, stood behind their respective booths to greet customers, pour them a beer and tell them all about the craft, still new to Colorado.

The festival: What to see, do, taste

“In the early days, it was really to let people know about craft beer and communicate what we were trying to do,” said Dwight Hall, who was a brewer with CooperSmith’s Pub Brewing in 1990 and is now head brewer and co-owner of the business.

“We had all 11 Colorado craft breweries,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t remember the exact number of kegs, but it was in the dozens, and we thought it was a wild success.”

Twenty-five years later, the success of the annual festival shows: more than 10,000 in attendance last year, around 400 kegs, and up to 50 breweries participating in 2014.

More: 4 new breweries to try at Colorado Brewers’ Fest

Its duration is also an indication of its success.

“For a festival to be 25, that’s like 125 in craft beer years,” said Marty Jones, Denver-based beer publicist and consultant, who is working with the DBA to promote the festival this year.

As Jones puts it, “it’s hard to picture the Colorado beer landscape of 1990 when you see how much “beerly” splendor surrounds us now. I hope newcomers to craft beer will take a moment to appreciate all the work that’s been done before they got on board.”

Why so many beer weeks?

The beerscape of 2014 is lush and even wild. More than 230 breweries are open in the state, with countless festivals celebrating them, according to Steve Kurowski, operations manager at the Colorado Brewers Guild. On top of the festivals, as of this year there are at least four designated beer weeks that spread their cheer to Fort Collins.

The COBF beer week leading up to this weekend’s Colorado Brewers’ Festival is one of them. Fort Collins Beer Week in May is another. In March, it was Colorado Craft Beer Week, and starting again in September will be the weeklong build-up to Great American Beer Festival, a lineup of events hosted by Visit Denver.

“It’s grassroots marketing at its finest,” Kurowski said of all the events. “That’s how craft beer has built itself, by putting a beer in someone’s hand and talking about it. That’s how we’ve marketed ourselves for 30 years in this state.”

4 new breweries to try at the Colorado Brewers’ Festival

Schedule for Colorado Brewers’ Festival

The beer weeks, which often go hand-in-hand with larger events, such as GABF, COBF or the Craft Brewers’ Conference in March), are also meant to stimulate local economies, to draw more and different people to the festivals.

“People are thirsty for both formats,” Kurowski said of beer festivals and beer weeks. “They have somewhat different target audiences. Festivals pull people from out of town. (Beer weeks) are more geared towards locals. I wouldn’t say (the events) are necessary, but they’re highly functional.”

But Jones said beer weeks work best in the brewers’ and retailers’ slow season, right after the winter holidays, in January and February. Before Visit Denver started a beer week in September, leading up to GABF, they consulted Jones on the matter.

“And I said that would be the last week that I would pick. You should do it when brewers can feel it … Or if your goal is to help local retailers, you want to do it at a time conducive to them as well,” he said.

Part of the difficulty of timing beer weeks and festivals has to do with the shift in control of the events, from brewers themselves to third parties.

“In the olden days it was brewers who put on beer festivals to market their product,” Jones said. “It was an affordable way to get people to try their beer … there was success in numbers.”

Now, though, “A lot of beer festivals are put on by people who do this for a living. More and more charitable groups find that it’s a way to raise money.”

Peggy Lyle of the DBA said the Colorado Brewers’ Festival is an important fundraiser for her organization. “It’s one of only two each year that help us continue to provide activities and programs for the community,” she said, mentioning downtown’s First Night and Santa Claus. “It all comes back to the community. We’re trying to make sure that downtown Fort Collins stays vibrant.”

Lyle and Jones said the COBF beer week involves downtown businesses that might not otherwise reap the benefits of such a large economic draw to Fort Collins. Throughout the week, retailers from bars to clothing shops to massage businesses offer COBF discounts.

Meanwhile, that original intent, the beer, may be spilling a little farther.

“I’m sure if it seems like a lot (of beer weeks) to beer fans out there, it definitely seems like a lot to brewers, too,” Hall said.

His favorite beer festival is one put on by the Brewers Guild every July in Salida. There, he and the other brewers still stand at their booths, pouring and talking craft with each other and with visitors.

For efficiency and to better cater to more than 10,000 customers, the Colorado Brewers’ Fest now has volunteers, rather than brewers, working the beer stations.

“The festival has been a victim of its own success,” Hall said. “It has changed from those early days, and there’s something lost of that small, intimate contact. But what’s gained is we’re now 50-plus breweries … there’s more choices, more going on and more activities peripherally.”

He will still volunteer this weekend, selling tickets, and he’ll be one more “beer fan” in the crowd on Saturday.

“In the early days, it was really to let people know about craft beer and communicate what we were trying to do,” he said. “And now, certainly in Fort Collins, people are very aware and have a fantastic knowledge base of craft beer. That job has been largely accomplished … Now it’s just an outlet to have a fun environment where we’re being served side by side with other beers.”

A year in review: Beer weeks and festivals

Colorado Brewers’ Festival and beer week, June: Because the 25-year-old festival, highlighting more than 50 Colorado breweries, is organized by the Downtown Business Association, the 5-year-old beer week leading up to it is designed to promote downtown businesses. Restaurants, bars and retail stores offer COBF discounts throughout the week and in turn get visibility from the festival association.

Great American Beer Festival/Denver Beer Fest week, September-October: The festival and competition that brings more than 600 national breweries to Denver each year started in 1982. The beer week surrounding the festival was created in 2009 to showcase breweries and businesses around Denver. While most activity takes place there, Fort Collins beer tourism is abetted as well.

Colorado Craft Beer Week/CBC, March: The week of beer tappings and parties started in 2010 and was taken over by the Colorado Brewers’ Guild in 2012. Last March it coincided with the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America in Denver. During the week’s events, which mostly take place in Denver, breweries in Fort Collins also tap one-off or limited edition beers.

Fort Collins Beer Week (American Craft Beer Week), May: Fort Collins’ first official beer week started this year and featured beer dinners, beer forums and other beer events designed to showcase the craft to the local community. Some events already in place for American Craft Beer Week, such as collaboration brewing and Brewers Olympics, overlapped with the new Fort Collins celebration.

25th anniversary collaboration beer

In honor of the first 25 years, COBF founders Doug Odell, Brad Page (previously of CooperSmith’s, now of Colorado Cider Company) and Dwight Hall(CooperSmith’s head brewer/co-owner), have brewed a collaboration apple ale. The pale, dry, tart-finishing ale is 5.5 percent ABV and will be on tap only at the Brewers’ Fest, Odell’s taproom and CooperSmith’s while supplies last.

Want to go?

The Brewers’ Fest attracts more than 50 brewers from around Colorado for two days of beer-tasting fun. The festival starts Friday with an “All Brewers’ Eve” and continues through the weekend with the main events. An activity area will feature rock climbing, ziplining, bull riding and bungee tram­polining. There are commemorative glasses, brats and a lineup of local bands. See a schedule at Coloradoan.com or www.downtownfortcollins.com.

WHEN: Main festival: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

WHERE: Civic Center Park

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Jun 26, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Upcoming beer festivals and beer dinners

It’s summer, so that means that pretty much every day has some sort of beer events coming up.

Here are some cool looking events thatlook like they’re worth checking out.

Firs up, on Thursday, Rye Thyme in Leominster is hosting a beer dinner with White Birch Brewing of New Hampshire.

The dinner begins at 7 p.m. and costs $40.

The dinner includes grilled coconut and lime chicken skewers paired with the Belgian Pale Ale; pork belly sliders paired with Berliner Weisse; grilled peach-Habanero pork ribs paired with Hop Session Ale; and chocolate goat cheese mousse paired with Our Humble Porter.

White Birch brewer Dave Morrell will be on hand to discuss the beers.

For reservations, call 978-534-5900.

On Friday and Saturday, the third annual Hyper-Local Craft Brewpfest is taking place at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville.

The festival runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday; 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., also on Saturday.

Tickets are $45 and available by clicking here.

Looking for a great Father’s Day gift? Stop by Night Shift Brewing, 87 Santilli custom-logo-w-text2-e1367952915562Highway, Everett, on Saturday. I’ll be setting up shop around noon and hanging out signing copies of “Boston Beer: A History of Brewing in the Hub.” Come by for some great beers and a book I hope you or the person you buy it for enjoy.

Also on Saturday, the Wachusett Brewing Company is hosting its 20th Anniversary Brewfest at the brewery, 175 State Road, Westminster.

The event, which runs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., will feature tons of Wachusett beers, live music, food, give aways and beer.

Tickets are $25 and available by clicking here.

Recommended Reading

Jun 26, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Your guide to beer festivals across Wisconsin this summer

The arrival of summer brings with it a run of beer festivals across the state. Here’s a quick guide to events in the coming weeks celebrating craft brews.

JUNE 7: The Beer Barons World of Beer Festival will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Schwabenhof Pavilion, Milwaukee. This festival is an opportunity to taste more than 200 different beers, meads and ciders. The event also includes presentations and a pig roast. www.wobfest.com.

JUNE 14: The Door County Beer Festival will be held from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Baileys Harbor. The day includes a bicycle ride, live music, seminars and a tasting tent. www.doorcountybeerfestival.com.

JUNE 14: The Great Northern Beer Festival is held at Hi-Pines Campground in Eagle River. Attendees may try many different styles of beers from various breweries from 2 to 6 p.m. Designated drivers get free admission. greatnorthernbeerfestival.com.

JUNE 14: Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival in Glendale boasts more than 40 Wisconsin breweries alongside local restaurants and cheese makers that will provide samplings of more than 100 Wisconsin beers, restaurant favorites and Wisconsin cheeses. The festival is open from 1 to 5 p.m. wisconsinbeerloversfest.com/beer-lovers-festival.

JUNE 21: The 19th annual Brews n’ Blues event features craft beer, home brew and music. With more than 30 brewers on hand from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Leach Amphitheater in Oshkosh, attendees have the opportunity to sample more than 100 home brews and craft beers while enjoying music from local blues bands. jcioshkosh.org/brews-n-blues.

JUNE 28: The Appleton Ale Fest is a benefit for the Appleton Family Ice Center. Memorial Park will serve as the venue for this inaugural event showcasing breweries from around Wisconsin, the Midwest and the nation. Food will be available for sale from local restaurants. www.appletonalefest.com.

JULY 19: The Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival features more than 150 beers, more than 40 cask-conditioned ales, brewing exhibits and home brew sampling. Held at Cathedral Square Park in downtown Milwaukee, the festival is open from 4 to 8 p.m. www.milwaukeefirkin.com.

JULY 26: Milwaukee will host its fifth annual Milwaukee Brewfest at the Old Coast Guard Pavilion Park on the lakefront. In addition to unlimited sampling of hundreds of craft beers, micro brews and ciders from around the world, there will be musical performances, a silent auction, food for purchase and food sampling. www.milwaukeebrewfest.com.

JULY 26: The 10th annual Lac du Flambeau Brewfest is designed for sampling of micro, craft and specialty brews. The event is held in Torpy Park in Minocqua. lacduflambeaubrewfest.com.

AUG. 9:
Great Taste of the Midwest, held from 1 to 6 p.m. in Olin Park, Madison, features more than 100 of the Midwest’s craft brewers. This year’s event will offer more than 1,000 varieties to sample. greattaste.org.

SEPT. 13:
Great Lakes Brewfest is in its ninth year and will feature unlimited sampling of more than 250 craft beers and sodas from nearly 100 brewers. The festival also features live music and is held at the Racine Zoo. www.greatlakesbrewfest.com.

SEPT. 13: The 12th annual Thirsty Troll Brewfest will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at Grundahl Park in Mount Horeb. This intimate beer sampling features 25 craft brewers serving more than 100 different beers. trollway.com.

SEPT. 20: Stroll among the National Railroad Museum’s historic trains while sampling dozens of craft beers, fine wines and food prepared by local chefs during the annual Rails Ales Brewfest in Green Bay. www.nationalrrmuseum.org.

SEPT. 20: Beautiful Door County offers the Egg Harbor AleFest from 1 to 5 p.m. with more than 100 different craft beers to sample. Complimentary trolley transportation will be available as well as live music by the O2M Band. www.EggHarborAleFest.com.

SEPT. 27: Meet Wisconsin’s best craft brewers in Wausau for the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Brewmasters Oktoberfest. The festival offers samples of more than 100 craft beers and foods from area restaurants. wisconsinbeerloversfest.com.

OCT. 4:
Quivey’s Grove Beer Fest will be held from noon to 5 p.m. in Madison. The 21st annual event features more than 35 breweries with more than 100 beers for sampling. www.quiveysgrove.com.

NOV. 1: Admission to JCI Wisconsin’s Brew Bash ’14 craft brew experience includes sampling of various local, statewide and national craft brews. The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Darboy Club in Darboy. Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation of non-perishable items to support the St. Joseph’s Food Program. www.jciwisconsin.org.

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Jun 26, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer festivals on tap across Wisconsin

The arrival of summer brings with it a run of beer festivals across the state. Here’s a quick guide to events in the coming weeks celebrating craft brews.

JUNE 7: The Beer Barons World of Beer Festival will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Schwabenhof Pavilion, Milwaukee. This festival is an opportunity to taste more than 200 different beers, meads and ciders. The event also includes presentations and a pig roast. www.wobfest.com.

JUNE 14: The Door County Beer Festival will be held from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Baileys Harbor. The day includes a bicycle ride, live music, seminars and a tasting tent. www.doorcountybeerfestival.com.

JUNE 14: The Great Northern Beer Festival is held at Hi-Pines Campground in Eagle River. Attendees may try many different styles of beers from various breweries from 2 to 6 p.m. Designated drivers get free admission. greatnorthernbeerfestival.com.

JUNE 14: Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival in Glendale boasts more than 40 Wisconsin breweries alongside local restaurants and cheese makers that will provide samplings of more than 100 Wisconsin beers, restaurant favorites and Wisconsin cheeses. The festival is open from 1 to 5 p.m. wisconsinbeerloversfest.com/beer-lovers-festival.

JUNE 21: The 19th annual Brews n’ Blues event features craft beer, home brew and music. With more than 30 brewers on hand from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Leach Amphitheater in Oshkosh, attendees have the opportunity to sample more than 100 home brews and craft beers while enjoying music from local blues bands. jcioshkosh.org/brews-n-blues.

JUNE 28: The Appleton Ale Fest is a benefit for the Appleton Family Ice Center. Memorial Park will serve as the venue for this inaugural event showcasing breweries from around Wisconsin, the Midwest and the nation. Food will be available for sale from local restaurants. www.appletonalefest.com.

JULY 19: The Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival features more than 150 beers, more than 40 cask-conditioned ales, brewing exhibits and home brew sampling. Held at Cathedral Square Park in downtown Milwaukee, the festival is open from 4 to 8 p.m. www.milwaukeefirkin.com.

JULY 26: Milwaukee will host its fifth annual Milwaukee Brewfest at the Old Coast Guard Pavilion Park on the lakefront. In addition to unlimited sampling of hundreds of craft beers, micro brews and ciders from around the world, there will be musical performances, a silent auction, food for purchase and food sampling. www.milwaukeebrewfest.com.

JULY 26: The 10th annual Lac du Flambeau Brewfest is designed for sampling of micro, craft and specialty brews. The event is held in Torpy Park in Minocqua. lacduflambeaubrewfest.com.

AUG. 9:
Great Taste of the Midwest, held from 1 to 6 p.m. in Olin Park, Madison, features more than 100 of the Midwest’s craft brewers. This year’s event will offer more than 1,000 varieties to sample. greattaste.org.

SEPT. 13:
Great Lakes Brewfest is in its ninth year and will feature unlimited sampling of more than 250 craft beers and sodas from nearly 100 brewers. The festival also features live music and is held at the Racine Zoo. www.greatlakesbrewfest.com.

SEPT. 13: The 12th annual Thirsty Troll Brewfest will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at Grundahl Park in Mount Horeb. This intimate beer sampling features 25 craft brewers serving more than 100 different beers. trollway.com.

SEPT. 20: Stroll among the National Railroad Museum’s historic trains while sampling dozens of craft beers, fine wines and food prepared by local chefs during the annual Rails Ales Brewfest in Green Bay. www.nationalrrmuseum.org.

SEPT. 27: Meet Wisconsin’s best craft brewers in Wausau for the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Brewmasters Oktoberfest. The festival offers samples of more than 100 craft beers and foods from area restaurants. wisconsinbeerloversfest.com.

OCT. 4:
Quivey’s Grove Beer Fest will be held from noon to 5 p.m. in Madison. The 21st annual event features more than 35 breweries with more than 100 beers for sampling. www.quiveysgrove.com.

NOV. 1: Admission to JCI Wisconsin’s Brew Bash ’14 craft brew experience includes sampling of various local, statewide and national craft brews. The event will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Darboy Club in Darboy. Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation of non-perishable items to support the St. Joseph’s Food Program. www.jciwisconsin.org.

Recommended Reading

Jun 25, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Upcoming beer festivals and beer dinners

It’s summer, so that means that pretty much every day has some sort of beer events coming up.

Here are some cool looking events thatlook like they’re worth checking out.

Firs up, on Thursday, Rye Thyme in Leominster is hosting a beer dinner with White Birch Brewing of New Hampshire.

The dinner begins at 7 p.m. and costs $40.

The dinner includes grilled coconut and lime chicken skewers paired with the Belgian Pale Ale; pork belly sliders paired with Berliner Weisse; grilled peach-Habanero pork ribs paired with Hop Session Ale; and chocolate goat cheese mousse paired with Our Humble Porter.

White Birch brewer Dave Morrell will be on hand to discuss the beers.

For reservations, call 978-534-5900.

On Friday and Saturday, the third annual Hyper-Local Craft Brewpfest is taking place at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave., Somerville.

The festival runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday; 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., also on Saturday.

Tickets are $45 and available by clicking here.

Looking for a great Father’s Day gift? Stop by Night Shift Brewing, 87 Santilli custom-logo-w-text2-e1367952915562Highway, Everett, on Saturday. I’ll be setting up shop around noon and hanging out signing copies of “Boston Beer: A History of Brewing in the Hub.” Come by for some great beers and a book I hope you or the person you buy it for enjoy.

Also on Saturday, the Wachusett Brewing Company is hosting its 20th Anniversary Brewfest at the brewery, 175 State Road, Westminster.

The event, which runs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., will feature tons of Wachusett beers, live music, food, give aways and beer.

Tickets are $25 and available by clicking here.

Recommended Reading

Jun 25, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford: Summer is the time for beer festivals

By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers

Saturday was the first day of summer, Hooray! While some complain about the heat and humidity, I absolutely love summer weather. After living (and working outdoors) in Arizona during the early 1980s, the Midwest summer is not a problem for me. My stint in the Arizona heat may have (probably) damaged me. I’m sure my family and friends would agree. HA!

There is also another season related to summer: beer festivals — WHOOP! Beer festivals are a great way to try out many different types of beers for a fairly reasonable cost. Along with beers that are usually available at area retail stores and some that are not, there are often some beers you just won’t find ever again called special tappings.

Sampling beer, combined with the camaraderie these festivals seem to create, makes for a unique and enjoyable experience — far from a drunk fest attended by fraternity-like individuals some people think of these as.

In addition to sampling beer, many of these festivals have short educational beer-related seminars, such as beer-food pairings and ingredients of beer.

Following is a list of a few of the upcoming festivals around the region, according to date. I’m sure I have missed some, but space constraints limit me.

• Appleton Ale Fest, June 28 — Appleton, Wis.;

• Barrington Brew Fest, July 12 — Barrington, Ill.;

• MKE Firkin Beer Fest, July 19 — Milwaukee (my wife and I are attending MKE Firkin for the first time and looking forward to it);

• Naperville Ale Fest, July 19 — Naperville, Ill.;

• Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America Midwest Edition, July 21 — Chicago;

• Milwaukee Brew Fest, July 26 — Milwaukee;

• Highwood Craft Beer Fest, Aug. 2 — Highwood, Ill.;

• Great Taste of the Midwest, Aug. 9 — Olin Park Madison, Wis. (Great Taste has been one of the Forest City Brewers’ much-anticipated festivals for many years);

• Oak Park Micro Brew Review, Aug. 16 — Oak Park, Ill.;

• Midwest Brewers Fest, Aug. 23 — Plainfield, Ill.;

• Screw City Beer Fest, Sept. 6 — Downtown Rockford (Forest City Brewers will be pouring our home-brewed craft beers!);

• Great Lakes Beer Fest, Sept. 13 — Zoological Gardens, Racine, Wis. (A group from Forest City Brewers will be pouring our home-brewed craft beers at Homebrew Island);

• Thirsty Troll Brew Fest, Sept. 13 — Mount Horeb, Wis.;

• Egg Harbor AleFest, Sept. 20 — Door County, Wis.;

• Rails and Ales Brewfest, Sept. 20 — Green Bay, Wis.;

• Wisconsin Beer Lovers Brewmasters Oktoberfest, Sept. 27 — Wausau, Wis.;

• Lisle Ale Fest, Sept. 27 — Lisle, Ill.;

• Munster Ale Fest, Oct. 18 — Munster, Ind. (This is an inaugural event hosted by 3 Floyds).

Don’t forget about the various Oktoberfest festivals in late September.

Most, if not all, of the above-mentioned festivals have a website that can be found easily by searching for them on the Internet.

If you plan on attending any of these festivals, please make an effort to attend the Screw City Beer Festival. Not only is it right here in Rockford, but it has developed into a very nice festival, and as I mentioned, the Forest City Brewers will be there with some of our fine crafted beer. Don’t hesitate to get your tickets, as this event sells out rather quickly!

Prost!

Michael Sears is president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a homebrewing club dedicated to the art of finely crafted beer. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at Thunder Bay Grille on East State Sreet. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to http://forestcitybrewers.org. If you have comments or recommendations, please contact Mike at rockfordcraftbeer@comcast.net.

From the June 25-July 1, 2014, issue

Recommended Reading

Jun 24, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Like craft beer, Colorado Brewers’ Festival going strong

If you go

What: 25th Colorado Brewers’ Festival

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 28-29

Where: Civic Center Park, Laporte Avenue and North Howes Street, downtown Fort Collins

Tickets: Admission is free. Festival Buck tickets for beer tasting are for sale; packages available in advance online and at the event

Info: 970-484-6500 or downtownfortcollins.com

Craft beer had an identity crisis in the late 1980s — mainly that it had no identity.

There was a groundswell of activity in the Pacific Northwest and other pockets of the country, but for the most part, craft beer was a novelty, if consumers knew what “craft beer” was at all.

“When we started, people thought beer was light American lager and that was it,” said Doug Odell, who founded Odell Brewing Co. in 1989 in Fort Collins. “We needed to help people understand what we were trying to do.”

Brad Page, one of the original brewers at Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing Co., opened CooperSmith’s Pub Brewing in downtown Fort Collins, along with partner Scott Smith, within two weeks of Odell. After attending the Oregon Brewers Festival and seeing how the event helped bring together regional brewers and promote the budding industry, Page proposed hosting a similar festival in Fort Collins.

Odell Brewing and CooperSmith’s partnered with the Downtown Fort Collins Business Association to put on the first Colorado Brewers’ Festival in Fort Collins in 1990.

Today, Fort Collins is a craft-beer hotbed in a state known for great beer, and hardly a summer weekend goes by when there aren’t at least a few beer festivals happening somewhere in Colorado. But in 1990, there were only 11 breweries operating statewide, and the Colorado Brewers’ Festival was instrumental in fostering community among the brewers and in promoting craft beer.

The Colorado Brewers Festival has been serving up samplers for 25 years.

“That was in the days when craft beer was looked at as an oddity and not really a legitimate industry,” Page said. “It was also the first time all the microbreweries got together in one place, and I think (the festival) really did help encourage camaraderie among all of us.”

In addition to Odell Brewing and CooperSmith’s, Old Colorado Brewing Co., Boulder Beer, Walnut Brewery, Wynkoop, Breckenridge Brewery, Durango Brewery, Carver Brewing Co., Coors and Budweiser all were represented at the inaugural Colorado Brewers’ Festival.

Said Odell: “We thought it was pretty good that we were able to get all 11 breweries in the state together.”

There are currently more than 230 breweries and brewpubs in Colorado, more than 50 of which will be represented at the 25th Colorado Brewers’ Festival, scheduled for June 28-29 in downtown Fort Collins.

Kickoff events include COBF Beer Week, which leads up to the festival with beer tours, dining and beer specials around town, as well as an All Brewers’ Eve beer dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. June 27, and a COBF Breakfast and Brews event at 9 a.m. June 28.

There’s no cost to enter the festival, which includes themed areas such as “The Wilderness” with a zip-line and climbing wall, “The Backcountry,” which features Colorado-made products, and “The Summit,” sponsored by the Colorado Brewers Guild and featuring educational presentations as well as specialty beers throughout the weekend.

Patrons 21 and older can purchase beer tickets individually or a Beer Package ($20 in advance online or at the event) that includes 10 tasting tickets. Buyers of the online Beer Package also receive a commemorative tasting glass and entry in a drawing to win a Year of Beer from Odell.

Proceeds from the Colorado Brewers’ Festival help fund activities and programs in downtown Fort Collins.

For the first time, this year’s festival will feature different beers from each brewery on each day of the two-day event, as well as ciders and a special anniversary ale.

Odell and Page recently collaborated to brew the official 25th anniversary beer.

“It was fun brewing with Doug on his old pilot system in the midst of all the giant brewery madness that was going on around us,” said Page, who has since founded Colorado Cider Co. in Denver.

The anniversary beer is brewed with 50 gallons of the apple juice Page uses in making his ciders for a lightly hopped, tart-apple ale that’s designed to be a refreshing summer drink.

Looking back on the past 25 years and the ensuing growth, Odell sees a correlation between early awareness-raising efforts such as the Colorado Brewers’ Festival and the current state of Colorado’s multimillion-dollar beer industry.

“There’s been a symbiotic relationship between the festival and growth of craft beer in Colorado,” Odell said. “Some of the early interest can be attributed to the fest and other fests like it, and the intense interest in craft beer is what drives these festivals and events today. It’s worked both ways.”

Contact Tom Wilmes at boulderbeerguy@gmail.com.

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Jun 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer Fields Craft Beer and Music Festival a hit in Selden

A crowd gathers at the third-annual Beer Fields

A crowd gathers at the third-annual Beer Fields craft beer and music festival at Pennysaver Amphitheater in Selden on Saturday, June 21, 2014. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

Microbrew aficionados gathered for the third-annual Beer Fields Craft Beer and Music Festival at Pennysaver Amphitheater in Selden on Saturday.

Among them was Keith Collins, who trekked in from Brooklyn to sample some of the 200 beers from 100 Long Island and nationwide breweries that set up booths on the theater’s grassy grounds.

“I sometimes drink Bud Light and Miller Lite, but as the microbrew industry has grown over the past five to 10 years, I’ve learned that there are a lot of different beers out there to try,” said Collins, 30, who favors Blue Point Toasted Lager.

Collins and thousands of other festival-goers waited in line to have their five-ounce tasting glasses filled with any beer, all for ticket prices that ranged from $35 to $75.

Montauk Brewing Co. and Oyster Bay Brewing Co. were two of the many Long Island microbreweries that showcased their brands alongside companies from as far away as California. Duffy Griffiths, co-owner of the Crooked Ladder, which launched in Riverhead last year, poured beer from taps on a firetruck.  

“It’s been great, great music and great people,” Griffiths, 42, said of the festival. “Everybody’s happy to try different beers. That’s what matters.”

The musical acts performed at the amphitheater and a smaller, satellite stage throughout the seven-hour festival. The headliners were Matisyahu, a band that boasts a Grammy Award nomination for best reggae album, and Ballyhoo, a Baltimore-based rock band that fuses punk and reggae sounds. The Long Island performers included Nonstop to Cairo, of Baldwin, and The Tweekers, of Northport.

“We’ve taken the typical beer festival and added a musical element to it,” said James Bonanno, a co-founder of Beer Fields and owner of Tap Room in Patchogue. “There’s a lot of beer festivals around the world, but not many bring the type of music that we bring.”

Sean Ward, 30, of Raleigh, is a regular at craft beer festivals in North Carolina. He called Beer Fields unique for combining craft beer with music.

“We’ve got these festivals in Raleigh that are awesome, because you spend $50 and it’s a lot of local beers,” Ward said. “It’s huge down there. But this festival is $45 and you get all these beers in addition to all these bands. I’m blown away by it actually.”

Beer Fields has grown from an estimated 3,500 people in 2012 to 5,000 on Saturday, which Bonanno attributes to the popularity among microbreweries, which typically produce a limited supply of speciality beers sold regionally.

“There has been a whole craft beer revolution and it’s just been growing,” he said. “I’ve been in the industry for three years and we see firsthand on my day-to-day job just how big the following craft beer has become.”

Greg Martin has showcased his Long Ireland Beer Co. at the festival all three years. He and his business partner sold their first keg in March 2009, and with minimal advertising the East End-based company has averaged about 25 percent growth annually on Long Island.

“As we open new markets and new territories further upstate or another state,” he added, “we expect exponential growth in those areas as well.”

Tags:

Beer Fields
, microbrews
, Pennysaver Ampitheater
, Montauk Brewing Company
, Oyster Bay Brewing Company
, Long Ireland Beer Company
, Crooked Ladder.

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Victoria Sparano, a bartender at Croxley Ales in
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Lindsey Myers, 31, Astoria Favorite beer: Ubu Ale

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Long Islanders spill on their favorite beers

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Jun 23, 2014
Freddie Kitson

DMN’s CrowdSource acquires firm behind Untapped craft beer festivals

CrowdSource, the event marketing company owned by The Dallas Morning News, has purchased majority ownership of Untapped, an indie music and craft beer festival organizer, for undisclosed terms.

Untapped festivals are held in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, and also include the Canned Festival in Denton.

“With the purchase of Untapped, we’ve gained a tremendous series of events,” said Alison Draper, general manager of CrowdSource. “While we have no intention of changing these popular festivals, we are eager to get to work with the team at Untapped to grow the brand.”

CrowdSource will partner with Untapped founders to produce the Untapped festivals.

Untapped was founded by Spune Productions, a music production and entertainment promotions company, and Corey Pond, owner of the Common Table, a Dallas-based restaurant and bar.

More than 4,500 people attended the 2013 Untapped Festival in Dallas, which featured more than 70 breweries and performances from eight bands. Local vendors and food trucks also participated.

“Among the goals we had when we formed CrowdSource was to extend our reach into certain consumer segments like millennials and to create or acquire events that could scale. With Untapped, we accomplish both,” said Jim Moroney, publisher and chief executive officer of The News. “We are looking forward to growing this event in markets where it already exists and into new markets, as well.”

The acquisition comes as The News and parent company A. H. Belo Corporation are seeking new businesses to reduce reliance on print advertising revenue, which has slid steadily industrywide for several years.

The company declined to say how much revenue and profit Untapped might record going forward.

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