Browsing articles tagged with " beer festivals"
Sep 12, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Way more than 99 bottles of beer at Las Vegas beer festivals

We’ve never actually finished the song “99 Bottles of Beer” so we have no idea how long it takes. But we’d bet you could hum through the whole thing a few thousand times before Las Vegas runs out of beer. While you’re humming away, check out these upcoming beer festivals pouring into Sin City.

When it comes to beer, or anything really, it’s best not to argue with Germany. They’ve earned their reputation as world-renowned braumeisters. And one Las Vegas institution can trace its roots back through the ages to the 1589 founding of the original German Hofbräuhaus by Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria – they also have crazy good beer!

Bier ist wunderbar at Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of Hofbräuhaus.

Since 2004, Hofbräuhaus in Las Vegas, located across from the Hard Rock, has been serving up the best German food and most authentic Bavarian brews this side of Munich. And for the next month and half they’ll be going all out for the legendary Oktoberfest. Typically a quiet and understated people (wink), Oktoberfest is the chance for Germans, and everyone who enjoys a beer or 12, to let loose and savor great company and even greater beer.

This year, celebrity guests will be tapping kegs every weekend through October starting with Vegas institutions Siegfried and Roy on Sept. 13. Other guests include comedian Eddie Griffin, the Chippendales, “Pin Up” star Claire Sinclair and “Zombie Burlesque” on Halloween night. Stein holding contests will also be held each weekend and live music plays throughout the week. Wunderbar!

Mandalay Bay takes a personal approach to their weekend-long festivities. Through four events across three days, beer lovers will be treated to delectable brews from some of the best craft breweries and will also have the opportunity to converse with some of the brewmasters themselves.

Representatives from Brooklyn Brewery will be on hand to walk guests through “five courses of glory” at the Brewmaster’s Dinner on Sept. 12 at miX. And Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy will participate in a panel discussion at Eyecandy Sound Lounge on Sept. 13. The panel discussion is free, and special craft beers are only $4 – so you can relax from the Brewmaster’s Dinner’s $225 price tag.

Mandalay Bay features craft beers. Photo courtesy of Mandalay Bay.

When evening rolls in on Sept. 13, head to the BEER Festival at Mandalay Beach. For $75, revel in some of the finest beers from local and guest breweries. And be sure to pair them all with the exquisite food prepared by some of the best restaurants MGM properties have to offer. Take your time, savor the affair and don’t worry about hangovers the next day. They’ve got your hair of the dog covered too.

Starting at 9 a.m. on Sept 14, Fleur by Hubert Keller will host a beer breakfast offering a special à la carte brunch menu and perfect beer pairings to start off your Sunday morning the Vegas way. They don’t require a reservation, but since we know it might take a few tries before you finally roll out of bed, you might want to make one so you don’t lose your table.

In case you needed more proof that Mandalay Bay knows their beer, Sarah Johnson, their director of food and beverage, just happens to be one of only 700 Certified Cicerones in the world. (A Certified Cicerone is someone who knows way more about beer than you ever will and has a certification to prove it.) So when we say you can trust Mandalay Bay’s beer cred, we really mean it.

Like that cool beer you can always come home to, Las Vegas’ Downtown Brew Festival returns to the Clark County Amphitheater on Sept. 20. The evening event will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for General Admission ($35 – $45) with early entry ($45 – $55) and VIP access ($75 – $85) starting at 5 p.m. And don’t worry about missing dinner. This year food takes the stage with beer.

Backyard atmosphere at Downtown Brew Festival. Photo courtesy of Downtown Brew Festival.

Chefs from famous Las Vegas eateries like Comme Ça, DW Bistro and Forte will create special dishes designed to pair with the wide range of local and guest brews. In between sips of beer and outstanding snacks, check out the live music from A Crowd of Small Adventurers, Josh Royse and Daniel Park. And, if you get your tickets in time, make your friends jealous by getting in early and hitting up the VIP Pavilion for special treats from Chef Sonia El-Nawal, finalist on Food Network’s “Chopped” and executive chef at Perch restaurant – soon to open at Downtown Container Park.

We know this is Vegas, but we still have to point out that we do have drunk driving laws. And the festival will boot anybody who gets plastered. So to play it safe from the get-go, have a buddy pick up a Designated Driver ticket for only $20. They can get into the festival, enjoy all the sensational cuisine and still get you home safely. Note: Designated Driver is not responsible for text messages you may send to your ex.

Fine wines may get better with age, but never underestimate the impact of something new. The Boulevard Brew Fest, hitting the MGM Resorts Village – right across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Luxor – on Sept. 27, is the newest beer bash to soak Sin City. Partnering with Oregon Brew Festival, BLVD Brew Fest will bring in more than 50 Oregon beers that many Vegas tasters may not have tried, creating a truly unique experience within the Las Vegas beer scene. Local beer will be showcased as well.

Great music at the BLVD Brew Fest. Photo courtesy of BLVD Brew Fest.

Adding to the allure of the new festival is an impressive lineup of musical guests. Kings of Leon, Young the Giant, Kongos and more join local favorites like Brumby and Lady Reiko and The Sin City Prophets. General Admission tickets for $59 (plus fees) include access to all the concerts and live performances, as well as food trucks and $10 in tasting tokens, throughout the seven-hour event.

This is one event where they could add a few more Vs to the VIP. With a private VIP lounge housing its own bar, a complimentary happy hour, a premium viewing area and limited release beers and rare selections available for purchase, along with all the GA perks, the VIP tickets will make you feel like a very, very, very important P. They even offer “special A/C restroom facilities.” Because you’re too I to P anywhere else.

Even the DJs get beer at Desert Hops. Photo courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Desert Hops is an international beer festival at the outdoor Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan. With gorgeous views of the Las Vegas Strip, as well as an atmosphere that screams both “super classy” and “look how much beer I can drink,” the Boulevard Pool is perhaps the best location to stir together soothing brews and suave international flair.

Beer from more than 25 different countries will be showcased, totaling 150 different individual brews. And multicultural food from The Cosmopolitan’s restaurant partners will pair an evening of drinking with a night of delicious dining.

Tickets start at just $45 for General Admission and Early Entry VIP costs around $68.50. With a stage, bar, pool, unbeatable views and the always exhilarating autumn air in Vegas, it’s easy to see why Desert Hops bills itself as an “International Beer Experience.”

Vegas isn’t just a 24/7 town; we’re 365 too. Forever dodging the snowy season (in your face, New York) we can keep the beer flowing any time you like. So even when there’s no festival set up to tickle your taste for hops, some of the finest bars and pubs in the world will tap a keg or pop a top just for you.

Public House knows what we like. Photo courtesy of Public House.

Public House in the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian is a casual dining gastropub featuring more than 200 different beers. Lagers, ales and Belgians abound in this brilliant pub that also offers cocktails and an impressive list of malts.

Todd English P.U.B. at Crystals is another location where beer and food come together to make us wonder why we’d ever want to eat anything sober. A wide selection of beers, with expertly written descriptions of flavors and notes, are available by the glass, half yard or pitcher. They’ve even got Trappist beers which are brewed by communities of real monks in actual – we’re not making this up – monasteries.

Sin City Brewing Co. is pretty much the opposite of monk-made beer, but it’s still delicious. A local company founded by brewing expert Richard Johnson, Sin City Brewing Co. combines modern microbrew methods with strict regard for the Rheinheitsgebot. For those too lazy to google that long German word, it’s the 1516 German beer purity law that’s basically protected people from terrible beer for the last 500 years. While some of the big name brews could use a refresher course in the Rheinheiregsbhto-whatever, Sin City Brewing Co. is doing the German beer heritage proud with their outstanding selections available at the Grand Canal Shoppes, Miracle Mile Shops and Harmon Corner.

Las Vegas beer festivals are the perfect places to tastefully and politely sip your beer and converse with other connoisseurs. And Las Vegas in general is the perfect place to chug a few pints and argue about whether or not you could take a Chippendale in a fight. (You could not. Those guys are ripped like a losing keno ticket.) But you could buy them a beer. And grab a round for us while you’re at it!

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Recommended Reading

Sep 11, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Drink up: A guide to local fall beer festivals

Beer festivals have exploded in the Washington area in the last few years, held throughout the year at locations ranging from Nationals Park to the National Zoo. But fall is prime beer festival season, thanks to crisp weekend afternoons and idealized dreams of Oktoberfest. (Hey, after a beer or three, everyone thinks the Chicken Dance is a great idea.)

Beginning this weekend with Snallygaster, Washington’s biggest and best beer festival, there’s an event or two almost every week through mid-October. The problem is that the events can become a blur: Don’t they all have beers from Devils Backbone and Flying Dog? Which is the one with Bavarian dancers?

Brewer's Art

To help you make the most of the season, we’ve broken down six of the best festivals, based on key attributes ranging from the strength of the beer selection to the non-sudsy entertainment. We also have tips from festival veterans to help you navigate the myriad options.

Pro tips: How to make the most of beer festivals

Saturday, Sept. 13

Snallygaster (Web site)
Location: First and N streets SE. (Metro: Navy Yard.)
Ticket price: In advance: $30, which includes 25 drink/food tickets and a souvenir mug. At the door: $10 donation to local food charity Arcadia, including a souvenir mug while supplies last. Tickets are available from
Number of breweries: Snallygaster differs from other local beer festivals in that it’s not organized by brewery, with tables dedicated to pouring selections from just one place. Instead, Greg Engert, the brain behind the beer lists at ChurchKey, Rustico and other great local beer bars, handpicks more than 250 ales, lagers and ciders. Last year, you could find “the usual” Flying Dog beers in one area and rare and barrel-aged versions from the Frederick brewery in a different section of the festival.
Breweries to look for: Too many to count. The lineup includes gravity-poured German Kellerbier lagers, English-style cask ales and Bluejacket ales made just for the festival. There will be pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers from across the country, bourbon barrel-aged Stone, Green Flash and Perennial beers, and, for the first time, an “artisanal cider garden.”
Hours of drinking: Five (1-6 p.m.) with regular ticket.
Number of samples included: Up to you. Each beer costs a certain number of tickets (usually 3 to 6 for a half-pour or 5-9 for a full-size beer). Twenty-five tickets are included with advance admission. Extra tickets are $1 each.
Is there food? Yes, available for purchase from food trucks and restaurants, including Red Hook Lobster Pound, TaKorean and the Rappahannock Oyster Company.
Beyond drinking: Entertainment includes dance-punk band !!!, local electro-pop group Brett and DJs.
Beer-geek excitement level: Very high. Previous Snallygasters have included some of the best beer lists ever seen in one location in Washington. This year’s festival returns to the area near the Navy Yard, home to the 2012 Snallygaster, and an improvement over last year’s location in Union Market’s parking lot. Snallygaster can be more expensive than comparable festivals, especially if you want to try the rare beers, but the selection is unparalleled for an outdoor event.

The Annapolis Craft Beer and Music Festival (Web site)
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, 550 Taylor Ave., Annapolis.
Ticket price: $40. A designated-driver ticket is $20.
Number of breweries: 42, each pouring at least two beers. In all, at least 120 different beers will be offered.
Breweries to look for: The lineup is a mix of solid, well-known names (Ballast Point, Left Hand, Devils Backbone) and some worthwhile Eastern Shore breweries that don’t make it to this side of the bridge very often, including Burley Oak and RAR. Stop by the Flying Fish stand to try Forever Unloved Sandy, a wheat/pale ale hybrid that raises money for Hurricane Sandy charities.
Hours of drinking: Six (noon-6 p.m.).
Number of samples included: Unlimited.
Is there food? Bayside Bull of Edgewater will have pit beef, barbecue and vegetarian meals for purchase.
Beyond drinking: There will be classic rock and blues bands, steel drum lessons, craft beer seminars, and sessions on pairing beer and cheese.
Beer-geek excitement level: Medium. This Annapolis festival does a better job than most of balancing locals (Baltimore’s Full Tilt, Laurel’s Jailbreak) with bigger national names. Beer lovers may roll their eyes at four different Shock Top or Abita offerings, but the lineup has enough breweries you don’t see in every local bar – Victory, Weyerbacher, Eastern Shore – to keep things interesting for festival newbies and veterans alike.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Maryland Brewers’ Harvest (Web site)
Location: Bond Street Wharf, 1401 Thames St., Baltimore.
Ticket price: $35 in advance, $50 at the gate. A designated-driver ticket is $10. VIP tickets, which allow admission at noon and small-batch beers not offered to the public, are $65 in advance and $85 at the gate.
Number of breweries: 24, from across Maryland, plus two cider-makers.
Breweries to look for: Some of the bigger brewers, such as Flying Dog and Evolution, are bringing their standard beers. You’ll have more fun if you try the less-common offerings from the Brewer’s Art, Union, Milkhouse and Franklin’s.
Hours of drinking included: Four (2-6 p.m.) for general admission tickets; six (noon-6 p.m.) for VIPs.
Number of samples included: 10 four-ounce pours with general admission, and extra tokens are $1 each. VIP tickets allow unlimited beer.
Is there food? A variety of restaurants – including Spike Gjerde’s Parts and Labor, Dangerously Delicious Pies and 26, a seafood place in Annapolis – have prepared a small food pairing for each brewery. Additional food is available for purchase, including oysters from the Choptank Oyster Company.
Beyond drinking: Music performances start at 1 p.m., capped by the turbobilly sound of the Glenmont Popes.
Beer-geek excitement level: Medium-high, especially for Marylanders. If you want to experience the Free State’s brewing scene without racking up hundreds of miles on your car, this is the place. It covers virtually every major brewery and brewpub in the state, except for Burley Oak and RAR. The VIP tickets, with promises of rare and small-batch beers, sound especially interesting. A Brewers Association of Maryland festival in Frederick this year was packed with one-offs.

Heurich House Oktoberfest (Web site)
Location: Heurich House Museum, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW (Metro: Dupont Circle).
Ticket price: $60.
Number of breweries: Eight
Breweries to look out for: All eight members of the Washington Brewers Guild – that’s every brewery and brewpub in the city – are bringing Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest-inspired beers, and all are worth sampling.
Hours of drinking included: Three (1-4 p.m.)
Number of samples included: Unlimited.
Is there food? Yes. Admission includes sausages from Cafe Berlin and pretzels from Das Pretzel Haus.
Beyond drinking: The day includes guided tours of the Heurich House Museum, the Victorian home of turn-of-the-century brewing magnate Christian Heurich (until 2 p.m.); a Best Dirndl and Best Lederhosen contest (3 p.m.); and live German music by Die Zwei (1-4 p.m.).
Beer-geek excitement level: High. This is your chance to try DC Brau’s first-ever Oktoberfest, traditional lagers from Gordon Biersch and District Chophouse, and a funky festbier from Bluejacket. After guests try small pours of all the beers, they can vote for a favorite. It’s a smaller scale than other Oktoberfests, but in terms of local beer pride, it’s huge.

DC International Beer Festival (Web site)
Location: Andrew Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW. (Metro: Federal Triangle.)
Ticket price: $50. VIP tickets, which allow early entry to the festival and access to a VIP area with exclusive beers, are $70.
Number of breweries: 60 American beers and 60 international beers are promised.
Breweries to look for: “We’ve focused on finding breweries you may not have tried,” says the festival’s Web site, right above the logos of Guinness, Smithwick’s, Bass and Boddingtons. There’s not a lot here that an even halfway-serious beer drinker hasn’t tried: Dogfish Head, Bell’s, Goose Island. Some interest comes from smaller breweries, such as Bluejacket, Great Divide and Hardywood.
Hours of drinking: Three (12:30-3:30 p.m. or 4:30-7:30 p.m.). VIP tickets allow an extra 30 minutes of drinking at each session.
Number of samples included: Unlimited.
Is there food? Organizers promise “a bunch of food options” but the list of said options hasn’t been released.
Beyond drinking: “tons of games, arts, activities” says the web site, but organizers don’t go into details and didn’t answer e-mails about specifics.
Beer-geek excitement level: Low. There’s some good beer to be had here, and some smaller breweries to balance the near-ubiquitous Brooklyn and Dogfish Head. But when a festival’s “featured beers” include Modelo Especial, Peroni, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, it’s hard to get worked up about the event, especially when a three-hour session costs $50.

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ (Web site)
Location: Lerner Town Square at Tysons II, 8025 Galleria Dr., Tysons. (Metro: Tysons Corner.)
Ticket price: $39 in advance, $45 at the gate. A designated driver ticket is $25. $75 VIP tickets include two extra hours of eating and drinking, restaurant tasting stations and “a gourmet bacon station featuring bacons from all over the country.”
Number of breweries: More than a dozen.
Breweries to look for: Heavy Seas, Boulevard, Mad Fox and Starr Hill.
Hours of drinking: Four (2-6 p.m.) for regular ticket holders; six (noon-6 p.m.) for VIPs.
Number of samples included with ticket: Unlimited.
Is there food? Did you miss the name of the event? Multiple barbecue stations will sell all manner of porky treats.
Beyond drinking: Check out live bluegrass and rock cover bands, take part in a Maker’s Mark tasting or watch cooking demonstrations. Men can participate in a “Best Beer Belly” contest, while women can vie for the title in a “Miss Daisy Dukes” pageant.
Beer-geek excitement level: Very low. A beer festival that lists National Bohemian, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Woodchuck Cider among its offerings is not going to get pulses racing. This is definitely one for people more excited about bacon and bourbon: The whiskey options, including multiple varieties of High West, Bowman and Knob Creek, are far more interesting than the beers.

Mad Fox Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 27

Hoppy Oktoberfest (Web site)
Location: Mad Fox Brewing Company, 444 West Broad St., Falls Church.
Ticket price: Free entry. Anyone drinking pays $20 for a tasting glass and six drink tickets.
Number of breweries: 30, each with one or two offerings, plus four IPAs and an Oktoberfest beer from Mad Fox.
Breweries to look for: The mix of local and regional brewers includes Sunken City, Champion and Apocalypse Ale Works, as well as bigger names such as Devils Backbone, Hardywood and Port City.
Hours of drinking: Six (noon to 6 p.m.).
Number of samples included: 6 four-ounce pours. Additional tickets are $2 each.
Is there food? A selection of sausages, sandwiches, pretzels and snacks will be for sale.
Beyond drinking:Music starts at 1 p.m. Activities for kids include a moon bounce; adults can occupy themselves with cornhole and KanJam.
Beer-geek excitement level: Medium-High. This annual celebration of India Pale Ale features IPAs and IPA-inspired beers from big-name local brewers and up-and-comers from across the Old Dominion. It’s also educational: If you’re curious about Old Ox, Forge Brew Works and Champion, this is where you can see how they stack up against similar beers from DC Brau or Lost Rhino. If you don’t like hoppy beers, though, you might want to look somewhere else.

Das Best Oktoberfest (Web site)
Location: The DC Armory, 2001 East Capitol St. SE (Metro: Stadium-Armory).
Ticket price: $39. The $59 VIP ticket includes two extra hours of drinking and a pretzel.
Number of breweries: At least 20 breweries and cideries.
Breweries to look out for: The selection includes German Oktoberfest beers from Spaten and Beck’s alongside American versions by Victory, Blue Point, Lancaster and others.
Hours of drinking included: Four (2-6 p.m.). VIP tickets include entrance at noon.
Number of samples included: Unlimited.
Is there food? Yes. Expect plenty of sausages.
Beyond drinking: Music alternates between the Edelweiss Band and popular cover bands Liquid A and Flip Like Wilson. There is a Best Beer Belly contest for the guys, and a Miss Oktoberfest contest for the ladies.
Beer-geek excitement level: Low. With the exception of Devils Backbone and Victory, the beer list is uninspired, and filled with brands owned or affiliated with Anheuser-Busch. (I’m not saying that”s always a bad thing, but some diversity would be nice.) Does anyone really associate Shock Top or Singha with Oktoberfest? Organizers deserve credit for including gluten-free options, such as Omission and a choice of multiple ciders, but Das Best Oktoberfest is a place for fake lederhosen and pretzel necklaces, definitely more drunken Oktoberfest party than beer festival.

Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest

Saturday, Oct. 4

Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest (Web site)
Location: The streets of the Village of Shirlington. The main gate is outside Capitol City Brewing Company, 4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington.
Ticket price: Free entry. Anyone drinking pays $30, which includes a tasting glass and 10 drink tickets.
Number of breweries: At least 65.
Breweries to look for: Most of the local powerhouses, including DC Brau, Sweetwater Tavern, District Chophouse and Lost Rhino, will bring their Oktoberfest brews.
Hours of drinking included: Seven (noon to 7 p.m.; taps close at 6 p.m.).
Number of samples included: 10 four-ounce pours. Additional tickets are $1 each with a minimum purchase of five.
Is there food? Shirlington restaurants sell everything from Thai food to pub grub. A German food stand will feature brats and pretzels.
Beyond drinking: The Alpine Dancers will perform traditional Austrian and German dances with musicians.
Beer-geek excitement level: Medium. After 15 years, you know what you’re getting at Cap City’s Oktoberfest: Sam Adams, Rogue, Delirium Tremens and Dogfish Head have tables alongside the locals, plus relative newcomers such as Old Ox, Forge and Champion. It’s always crowded: More than 9,000 people attended last year (including kids and designated drivers), and lines for food or drink often stretch longer than you’d like. The festival also draws people trying to drink as much as possible in an afternoon, similar to a Clarendon bar crawl. But it’s an annual fixture for a reason: Plan right and it could be one of the best days of the year.

Saturday, Oct. 18

Chesapeake Real Ale Festival (Web site)
Location: Pratt Street Ale House, 206 W. Pratt Street, Baltimore.
Ticket price: $40. The $60 VIP ticket includes an extra hour of drinking, plus food.
Number of breweries: 26 have been confirmed so far. 27 participated in 2013.
Breweries to look out for: As hosts, Oliver Ales always put on a good showing, thanks to English brewer Stephen Jones. Yards, Blue Mountain and Sly Fox are always worth trying. If you see an English cask – like Thornbridge last year – jump on it.
Hours of drinking included: Five (1-5 p.m.). VIP admission is at noon.
Number of samples included: Unlimited.
Is there food? The bar’s kitchen will be serving its usual menu: crab cakes, crab-and-corn quesadillas, flatbreads and all manner of burgers, including one topped with crab.
Beyond drinking: This is an event for serious drinkers. If you need entertainment, head down the street to the Inner Harbor.
Beer-geek excitement level: High. The 11th annual Real Ale Festival serves only cask-conditioned-beers, usually a mix of English style-ales and American-style IPAs with everything from fresh hops to vanilla beans infusing in the cask. The firkins take over the pub’s patio and dining room, and the focus is entirely on the beer, not live bands or contests. If you love real ale, it’s like Christmas.

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 18-19

Northern Virginia Fall Brewfest (Web site)
Location: Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville.
Ticket price: $25 in advance, $35 at the gate. Designated-driver tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the gate.
Number of breweries: The list of breweries will be released “on or about” Sept. 20, according to the website; the Summer Brewfest in June featured 64.
Breweries to look for: The NoVa Brewfest is usually strong on Old Dominion breweries, such as St. George, Three Brothers and Corcoran, but June’s Brewfest added nine new Virginia breweries and cider-makers, including Crooked Run, Parkway and Winchester Cider Works. Throw in a strong national lineup with Firestone Walker, Allagash, Terrapin and Green Flash, and you have a nice assortment of beers.
Hours of drinking included: Eight per day (11 a.m.-7 p.m., though taps close at 6 p.m.)
Number of samples included: 6 pours of 4 to 4.5 ounces. Additional samples cost $1 each.
Is there food? Yes, everything from burgers to oysters to kettle corn.
Beyond drinking: Two stages feature blues and rock cover bands and acoustic performers. The TV Tent will show college and professional football games. At the Beer Stuff Tent, chefs will demonstrate how to cook and barbecue with beer as an ingredient. Vendors will sell T-shirts, jewelry, candles and other craft items.
Beer-geek excitement level: Medium. This is one of the nicest outdoor beer festivals around and bridges local and national tastes better than most; of the 64 breweries at the Summer Brewfest, 23 were from Virginia and five from Maryland. One important note: In the past, the festival has run shuttle buses from the Vienna Metro station. Look for information about buses to the festival grounds on the Web site “on or after September 20.”


Pro tips: How to master the beer festival

Do your homework.
Beer festivals are a great introduction to new breweries. So before you go, check the festival Web site – most events list the participating breweries, and some (such as Snallygaster and the Annapolis Craft Beer and Music Festival) provide the names of all the beers those breweries will be pouring – and plan your approach. Focus on beers that are not available at your favorite happy hour.

Washington-based beer lovers going to Annapolis on Saturday, for example, should look for beers from RAR Brewing (Cambridge, Md.) and Burley Oak (Berlin, Md.), which are hard to find on this side of the Chesapeake Bay. Lagunitas fans might want to skip its table, since the Petaluma brewery is bringing its IPA and Pils, which are common in local bars, and explore other beers instead – perhaps Victory’s Prima Pils or Finch’s Hardcore Chimera Imperial IPA?

With 275 choices over seven pages, Snallygaster’s beer list is overwhelming. But take time to study it beforehand instead of just scanning it when you arrive at Yards Park on Saturday. You don’t want to realize at 4 p.m. that your favorite rare Oktoberfest, Avery’s The Kaiser, has already kicked, and you didn’t even know it was available because it was buried down at No. 258.

Stretch your legs.
If a festival doesn’t offer a complete list of beers in advance, the best approach is to get a bit of exercise. Grab a beer from the first spot you see without a line and make a circuit of the tables. (This is time-consuming at more spread-out festivals, such as the Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest or the Northern Virginia Brewfest, but there’s no reason you can’t grab another sample along the way.) Make note of where your favorites are located and what they’ve brought.

Geography matters: Tables near festival entrances are frequently crowded, as people try to score beer as soon as they arrive. Head for the fringes or the middle and beat the rush.

Planning is good, but be flexible.
While Beer Advocate and RateBeer are helpful Web sites, they’re not the be-all, end-all arbiters of what’s good. “People make the mistake of waiting in very long lines for massively hyped beers,” says Tim Prendergast, who works for craft beer distributor Kysela Pere et Fils and has manned taps at several festivals this year. “They show up with their lists [printed from Beer Advocate] and they’re only in line for the Hill Farmsteads of the world. But there are beers that are probably just as good that don’t have lines. People have preconceived notions about breweries before they’ve even tried a beer.”

“Part of the fun at a festival is finding new things,” says ChurchKey supremo Greg Engert, who picked the beers for Snallygaster. “Leave yourself open to new things: If you walk by a table and it’s not busy, and something looks good, go try it.”

At a festival with unlimited sampling, Prendergast recommends trying as much as you can: “Just get a half-pour, try it and if you don’t like it, move on,” he says. “You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t take advantage of this.”

Don’t drink things you’ve had before. If you do, save them for last.
You could run an entire festival by harnessing the power of beer geek eye-rolls as they walk past a Shock Top or Guinness stand. (Yes, you’ll be able to find those at some events.) The purpose of a beer festival is not to get as drunk as possible – it’s to try new seasonal beers, or find out why your friends came back from the beach raving about Burley Oak.

One exception I make: It’s fine to order an old favorite if you’re comparing two similar beers. If you know you love Sweetwater’s IPA, for instance, it’s nice to have that as a control before tasting Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA.

Choose quality over quantity.
“Sometimes people feel pressure to drink to get their money’s worth,” Engert says, which is why Snallygaster isn’t an all-you-can-drink event, but requires people to pay for each beer. “This is a beer festival for everyone. It’s not just a Rare and Obscure Festival – we don’t want it to be all expensive $9 rarities,” he says, pointing to AleWerks’ Shorty Time, a session IPA, as something everyone should try.

The No. 1 mistake people make, Prendergast says: “They drink too much. . . . People overimbibe and they bring the festival atmosphere down for everyone.” Just because the taps are open for four hours doesn’t mean you have to spend every minute with a beer in your hand. Most festivals have soda and water available, too.

Engert is more succinct: “Make sure you eat, and plan on drinking as much water as you do beer.”

Recommended Reading

Sep 10, 2014
Freddie Kitson

A Month of Beer Festivals

Fun lovers are in for a treat next month when the capital hosts two beer festivals in a space of two weeks.

The annual Delta Beverages Lion Lager Summer Beer Festival takes place on October 11 at Glamis Arena while new venue Sunset Arena hosts another beer festival from October 24 to 25.

While organisers of both festivals will be announcing their performers soon, it is obvious that there will be great packages at both events.

Beer festivals usually present fun-filled environments among revellers in addition to bringing good stage performances.

The Lion Lager festival is known for creating such fun among imbibers through promotions and give-away prizes besides hosting local and international artistes. International musicians that have performed at the beer festival include Beenie Man, P Square, Fantan Mojah and D’Banj. The festival brings fun every year.

On the other hand, the Sunset Arena Beer Festival is likely to bring a fresh feel of the social event through various fun activities.

The two-day festival is expected to feature an array of activities that include music performances, exhibitions as well as beer tasting and drinking competitions among others.

The new venue, Sunset Arena, which hosted the Harare Agricultural Show as Guard Alert Training Ground is situated near City Sports Centre on the fringes of Harare Civic Centre Grounds.

Organisers of the event said they had engaged manufacturers of various beer brands to present their products at an exhibition that promises to be fun-filled.

“This is an event meant to provide exciting outdoor entertainment this summer. The shows will just complement a programme that is mainly meant to give beer drinkers an opportunity to mix, mingle and have fun,” said one of the organisers.

“We want to utilise the new venue because we realised it is good for outdoor entertainment after it hosted its inaugural event, the show shut-down gig. A senior music critic in the country suggested we name it Sunset Arena because it is a place that can host afternoon and night shows, especially this summer.”

During the Harare Agricultural Show shutdown event, the venue hosted an array of dancehall artistes that entertained thousands of merrymakers until sunrise.

Organisers of Lion Lager Summer Beer Festival said they would release complete information about the event early next week.

Recommended Reading

Sep 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

MondoCon to Host Food Trucks, Exclusive Dogfish Beer



An exclusive Dogfish Head beer, special food menus themed cocktails are just some of the tasty treats in store for attendees

Austin, TX—September 8, 2014— Amazing food and drink options are just some of the ways MondoCon is seeking to offer a unique convention experience. Four local food trucks – Frank, JuiceLand, Micklethwait and The Peached Tortilla – will be on hand in the parking lot to offer delicious Austin cuisine to attendees throughout the weekend and a full service bar will be available inside with themed cocktails and a special Dogfish Head brew. The two-day convention takes place on September 20 21 during the first weekend of Fantastic Fest at The Marchesa Hall Theater in Austin, TX.

“When trying to craft our ideal convention, one of the things at the top of the list was to improve upon the food options. Austin is a food town as much as it is a film and music town and we’re eager to bring that experience to MondoCon. We’ve handpicked some of the city’s greatest food trucks to ensure that the dining experience will be as memorable as the panels and screenings themselves. We’re also excited to offer a full service bar in an effort to create a fun, relaxed atmosphere where you’ll want to hang out and have a beer or cocktail,” said Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael.

Creativity is the theme of the convention and the food and beverage partners have risen to the challenge to offer some incredible new flavors to their menus. Additionally, the bar will offer several themed cocktails from Alamo Drafthouse’s Beverage Director Bill Norris.

Dogfish Head
Dogfish Head, the official beer vendor, is brewing a special “Mondo Beer” exclusively for the convention. “Mondo Beer” is an English Old Ale that has been aged in Dogfish Head’s one-of-a-kind giant oak tanks at their brewery in Milton, DE. The oak-aging process shares a connection with Texas for its oak tree and the artists of MondoCon who use pulp and paper as the medium for their great works of art. The custom made logo, designed by artist Tyler Stout, can be downloaded here.

JuiceLand has concocted an exclusive smoothie called “Espresso Greens” – named after the popular poster collecting forum The ingredients are banana, cherry, coffee (kohana cold brew), cacao, dates, spinach and almond milk. A photo of the special smootie, available only at MondCon, can be found here.

Frank has designed a complete custom menu for their food truck at MondoCon featuring delicious new sausages themed to comics creators and artist guests of the convention. The first five selections below will also be available at Frank’s restaurant on 407 Colorado Street from September 15 – 20.

Bryan Lee O’Malley Scott Pilgrim Sex Bob-ombs
Bacon and Pimento stuffed, Panko fried Cherry Peppers…”make you think about death and get sad and stuff.” order of 4

Mike Mignola Hell Boy Nacho Fries
Waffle fries dressed with spicy Habanero-Jack Queso, Cayenne-dusted Bacon bits and spicy Tobacco Onions w/ Cholula Sour Cream

Bernie Wrightson Swamp Salad
Veggie Apple Sage, Seaweed Salad, Miso Aioli shaved Bonito

Val Mayerik Waaaugh! Dog
Duck and pork sausage topped with Gruyere cheese, Habanero-Mango Aioli Fried Shallots

William Stout Tarman
Hudson’s Old Timer Sausage w/ Creamy Garlic “Brains”, Balsamic Tar reduction Zombie Soil

Alex Pardee Bunnywith (Available at MondoCon ONLY. Limited Run)
Rabbit Sausage w/ Fig-Habanero Bacon Mostarda, Goat Cheese Dr. Doppelgänger BBQ sauce

See below for cuisine descriptions of the four food truck partners at MondoCon.

Frank is a Chicago hot doggery with a focus on Luxurious Sausage Waffle Fries. Located downtown Austin, Texas at 4th Colorado, Frank slings dogs, sausage waffle fries as well as Craft Beer, Hand Made Cocktails, Espresso Drinks Spiffy Milk Shakes.

Since the summer of 2001, we’ve served superfood smoothies and fresh juices from a little stone cottage on Barton Springs Rd. A merry team of creative friends and family help harmonize 10 Austin locations plus one in Brooklyn, and we’d like to invite you to visit us soon – JuiceLand loves making your drinks come true!

Central Texas BBQ served up in East Austin specializing in award-winning beef ribs, house-made desserts and bread, world famous jalapeño cheese grits, a rotating cast of fresh-made sausage and of course brisket, pork ribs, puled pork and much more! As seen on Jimmy Kimmel.

The Peached Tortilla
The Peached Tortilla is an award-winning Austin catering company and food truck that specializes in Southern Asian influenced cuisine. The company has garnered national attention for its food from Food Wine Magazine, Live! With Kelly Michael and The Cooking Channel. The Peached Tortilla is set to open its first brick and mortar location in Fall of 2014 on Burnet Rd.

Mondo is creating a convention unlike any other, bringing together unique guests from a variety of areas to celebrate film, music, art, and toys with the world’s finest artists, designers, toy creators as well as filmmakers, composers and more. Panels and screenings will take place in the theater and the exhibition hall will host booths for individual artists and companies featuring artwork and products for sale. The exhibition hall will also offer a unique chance for fans to interact with creators in an intimate environment. To see the previously announced lineup of panels film screenings visit
· All Festivals Coverage [EATX]
· All Alamo Drafthouse Coverage [EATX]

Recommended Reading

Sep 8, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Beer festivals abound in Southern Tier

Like beer? You’ll love this fall.

A flurry of beer-centric festivals occupy almost every weekend of the fall calendar in the Southern Tier.

Whether the Binghamton Brew Fest on Sept. 13 or the Finger Lakes Beer Festival at the end of October, the events on tap now jostle with the more traditional harvest and community celebrations that have been a hallmark of fall merriment.

For Theresa Hollister of Apalachin, beer festivals celebrate the same enthusiasm for locally produced goods in a spirit of community and revelry.

“Beer fests have always been a popular thing,” said Hollister, a founder partner of the Finger Lakes Beer Trail. “We are definitely seeing more, and more markets having their own.”

Part of that comes from the proliferation of craft brewers creating and marketing locally made beverages. Hollister pointed to the growth of the beer trail itself, which stretches across the Southern Tier and central parts of New York. In 2011 the trail counted 24 craft brewers in the region. Now, that number has more than tripled to 75, according to Hollister.

Consumers are choosing more of the craft brews in a search for a fresher product, produced locally, with new and creative flavors, said Hollister. Part of their advantage is that local brewers can try smaller batches as compared to the bigger manufactures.

“They can really play around with the ingredient and flavor profiles and try interesting concoctions,” Hollister said.

And with the festivals popping up in counties across the region, consumers have the chance to sample more flavors and brands than they might otherwise, Hollister added.

“For people who maybe wouldn’t go on a day trip on the Finger Lakes, this is a nice way to bring the beer to them.”

Beer- and food-related festivals include:


Sept. 13. Brew Fest: celebration of craft brewing and New York wines with dozens of breweries and wineries offering sampling selections. Tickets cost $35 and are available at retail beverage centers in Ithaca and Binghamton and online at; 4 to 7 p.m. Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

Sept. 20. Apple Festival: Annual event featuring over 80 vendors, youth entertainment and fresh New York state apples; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Washington Ave., Endicott; (607) 748-9548

Sept. 25. Parlor City Brew Fest: The third annual event features regional breweries with proceeds benefiting The Family Children’s Society, Inc. that provides mental health treatment, counseling and home care services in the Broome and Tioga counties area, according to organizers. $35 entry. 5 to 8 p.m. Terra Cotta, 81 State St., Binghamton.

Oct. 11. Sudsy Brews and Fiery Foods, microbrew fest featuring a dozen breweries and spicy food from Binghamton area restaurants. Tour a vintage ice cream factory and check out the Vintage IBM Endicott Computing Center during the festival. Noon to 5 p.m. TechWorks! Prototype Workshop, 321 Water St., Binghamton.


Sept. 13. Twin Tiers Tap-In: Sample local and national brands with admission covering 25 three ounce tastings and a commemorative glass. Select vendors will provide choice beers which will only be available during the VIP hour from 4 to 5 p.m. costs $40 in advance, $45 at the door for VIP. General admission from 5 to 8 p.m. costs $30 in advance, $35 at the door for general admission. First Arena, 155 N. Main St., Elmira.

Sept. 20-21.

Big Flats Appleumpkin Days: A fall harvest celebration held at a variety of business locations in the Town of Big Flats. Activities throughout the weekend will include prize drawings, refreshments, and food available for purchase. Additionally, a children’s coloring contest is also planned and many craft and product vendors will be set up at the Cottage Gift Shop. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Visit for more information.


Sept. 14. German Festival: Live German band and dancers, grape stomping, grape pies, German food, Polka contest, balloon art and costumes during this fun get-together for the whole family. $5 cover charge, 12 and under free, Free parking; 12:30 to 4:30 p.m, 3862 County Road 150, Interlaken,


Oct. 25. Finger Lakes Beer Festival: Thirty craft brews from 15 New York state craft breweries with live music, food and local beers. Each guest receives a commemorative sampling glass and 25 tasting coupons; $40, $35 advance sales. Watkins International Speedway,


Sept. 13-14. Harvest Celebration of Food and Wine: Tour the wineries of Keuka Lake and sample dishes prepared from locally

Sept. 18-20. Harvest Music Festival: The 19th annual event features Finger Lakes wine and beer tastings, live music, food and fun for the whole family. Thursday 7 to 9 p.m., Friday 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Corning’s Gaffer District, Market Street, downtown area, Corning. Visit for more info.

Sept. 20. Harvest Festival: Crooked Creek Hops Farm brings together a day of beer, barbecue and music to showcase the New York State hops industry and introduce people to hops farming. A family friendly festival with events for all ages. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Costs $20 for adults, $10 for 16-20 and under 16 are free. 6700 Holden Road, Addison.

Oct. 4. Crystal City Brew Festival: Over 30 breweries will be on hand to sample and discuss their varieties, with food and music throughout the afternoon from 5 to 8 p.m. $30 pre-sale and $40 at the door. Corning Harley-Davidson 300 Town Center Road, Painted Post.


Sept. 20. Potato Festival: Learn the history of the potato and why it is important to the Town of Richford. Get free samples of potatoes to bring home. Try potato ice cream and other delicacies made from the mighty potato. Details:

Sept. 27. Tioga Center Pumpkin Festival: Breakfast served until 9 a.m., with contests, games, food, entertainment, train rides for kids and vendors throughout the day during this seventh annual event. Free admission, free parking; 7 a.m. Ransom Park, Tioga Center.

Oct. 4. Annual Apple Festival: Kids’ activities, food, craft artisans and horse and wagon rides during this festival showcasing how people lived 200 years ago. Featuring demonstrations of cider pressing, blacksmithing, open hearth cooking, spinning and weaving, black powder shooting, soap making, candle dipping, quilting, tours of the farmhouse, and more. There will be live musical groups all weekend as well as traditional dancing; 10 a.m., Bement-Billings Farmstead Museum, 9241 New York 38, Newark Valley.

Oct. 24. National Food Day Festival: Free event will feature food demos, tastings, hands on activities, free raffles and more; 3:30 p.m. Owego Elks Lodge.


Sept. 20. Homestead Harvest Festival: second annual event with music, square dancing and old time craft demonstrations along with handspinners, fiber arts, goat milking and kids games; noon to 6 p.m. Southworth Homestead, Route 13, Dryden.

Sept. 21. Judy’s Day: In its 10th year, organizers urge guests to go bananas while exploring the fun and fascinating world of fruits with hands-on activities, music, and food are all part of this free learning festival in the outdoor setting of the F. R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell Plantations.

Oct. 3-5. Apple Harvest Festival: A three day celebration of food, fun, and apples during the 32nd annual festival featuring tasty products from farmers, wineries, bakeries, crafters, food vendors and more. Activities include music, dancing, eating, education, a Ferris wheel and giant slide, Iron Chef event, craft fair and street performers; Friday noon to JU6 p.m, Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;

Oct. 3-12. Cider Week Finger Lakes: The third annual event is a collaboration of local hard cider makers and orchardists to highlight the variety of local ciders from the Finger Lakes. Craft Cider Week offers events such as tastings, cider dinners with local chefs, a local orchard tour, and a cider-flavored square dance. Visit for more information on events and times.

Recommended Reading

Sep 7, 2014
Freddie Kitson

NH Oktoberfests and Fall Beer Festivals

New Hampshire’s fall season is packed with great beer festivals and celebrations.

Have an event you’d like to see listed here? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or add it to our events calendar.

Wicked Wine and Brew Fest

September 6
2 p.m.-6 p.m.
Mel’s Funway Park
454 Charles Bancroft HWY, Litchfield

Wicked Wine and Brew Fest is a unique tasting event featuring New Hampshire and New England wineries and breweries. Local musicians, artisans, and vendors will also be on hand to celebrate the beautiful fall day. The Telegraph is teaming up with the NH Food Bank to raise money for a good cause while enjoying the New England fall season.

$25 in advance, $30 at the door. Designated driver tickets are $5. Click here for tickets and more information.

2nd Annual Capital Cup Brew Festival

September 6
1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Kiwanis Riverfront Park
15 Loudon St., Concord

Twenty craft breweries will participate in the event sampling local craft selections as well as hard-to-find varieties from around the United States. A beer garden will also be open starting at 11 a.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $15 (including a commemorative glass).Tickets may be purchased at the door for $20. In addition, the Weekend on the Water features dragon boat racing, food vendors, duck boat rides, live music, crew race, maddog fitness challenge race and a rubber duck race!

5th Annual Greater Salem Rotary Club Oktoberfest

September 13
12 p.m.-10 p.m.
Rockingham Park
Rockingham Park Boulevard, Salem

Featuring traditional German food, beer and other beverages. The Chris White Band and Oberlaendler Hofbrau Band will both provide live music during the day. Adults are $5 and kids 12 and under are free. Click here for more information.

Schilling’s Oktoberfest

September 20
12 p.m.-11 p.m.
Schilling Beer Co.
18 Mill St., Littleton
(603) 444-4800

Celebrate family, community and autumn’s approach with Bavarian-inspired Schilling beers and local foods at Schilling Beer Co.’s Oktoberfest and First Anniversary Celebration. There will be live music, a classic Oktoberfest tent, a corn hole tournament and many other activities. Schilling family members will be on-hand to celebrate, including Dr. R.J. Schilling, after whom the brewery was named. Admission is free, and families are welcome. Click here for more information.

Symphony NH Oktoberfest

September 27
6 p.m.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery
221 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack
(603) 595-9156

Dust off your lederhosen, pull up your socks, and join us at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery to celebrate beer, harvest, and traditional music.

We have your choice of seasonal brews and year-round favorites on tap alongside German beer-hall food favorites like bratwurst and strudel. Festive traditional music will make you feel like you’re in a Bavarian biergarten!

$40 admission price includes a wide variety of beer on tap, German food and dessert, non-alcoholic beverages, and live entertainment.

For an additional $10, take an after-hours Brewery Tour.  Tour space is limited so reservations are strongly recommended; select this option at checkout.

This is a benefit for Symphony NH’s community music programs. Click here for more information.


September 27
Butler Park, Central St., Hillsborough
12 p.m.-5 p.m.

A day of great German food, beer and entertainment during foliage season in downtown Hillsborough. Authentically prepared schnitzel, sauerkraut, potato salad, breads and desserts are served under the tent. There are also plenty of beer, wine and craft vendors, shopping opportunities, oom-pah music and more. Click here for more information.

Upper Valley Oktoberfest

October 3
Top of the Hop and Alumni Hall on the campus of Dartmouth College, Hanover
6 p.m.-9 p.m.

A celebration of New England craft brewers and local food. Tickets are $35 and limited to the first 500 purchasers. Your purchase entitles you to 12 tasting tickets upon entry. All proceeds from the event will be used to benefit the Lions´ local charities and scholarships. Click here for more information.

Exeter Powderkeg Beer and Chili Festival

October 4
12 p.m.
Swasey Parkway, Exeter

Love beer? So do we! The 2014 Exeter Powder Keg Beer Chili Festival will take place alongside the 16th Annual Fall Festival, a long standing Exeter tradition that includes local crafters, vendors and street entertainment. So pack up the family and come on down to experience all the fun Exeter has to offer! Click here for more information.

Attitash Oktoberfest

October 11-12
Attitash Mountain Resort
Route 302, Bartlett

Attitash Mountain Resort will host the 17th Annual Oktoberfest on Columbus Day weekend and will feature live, traditional Bavarian music from the world renowned King Ludwig’s Band, dancing, Stein Hoisting and Keg Toss competitions for adults, kids’ activities and games, authentic German food and the Biergarten tent featuring local and regional brewers. This year’s attending brewers will compete for the “People’s Favorite” annual award.

Click here for tickets and more information.

Loon Mountain Oktoberfest

October 11-12
60 Loon Mountain Rd., Lincoln

Get a taste of the Bavarian Alps in the White Mountains during Oktoberfest, the annual celebration of German food, drink and culture. Timed to coincide with peak foliage season, you’ll enjoy beer, brats, and sauerkraut as you reconnect with old friends and make new ones. With an oompah-band providing the soundtrack to fun games like the stein-holding contest and keg toss, you’ll have an awesome time. Click here for more information.

NH Brewfest

October 25
Session 1: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Session 2: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
VIP Session 12 p.m.-1p.m.
Redhook Brewery
1 Redhook Way, Portsmouth

Held on the grounds of Redhook Ale Brewery, this event is a special fundraiser for the Prescott Park Arts Festival in partnership with Master Brewers Association of America and WHEB’s The Morning Buzz.

Admission includes entry to the event, 5oz souvenir sampler cup, beer samples and live music and entertainment.

Enjoy some of the best craft beer, great food and music and support a great cause.

Click here for tickets and more information.


Recommended Reading

Sep 6, 2014
Freddie Kitson

Elizabeth Hovde: It’s worth the time to research and find local products – The Oregonian

I was “shocked” to learn my two favorite, store-housed, go-to beers were produced by the big guys in the beer industry. It made me “blue.”


That revelation isn’t news to a lot of consumers, especially in this beer destination. But I hadn’t been frequenting area pubs and beer festivals nor had I paid close attention to articles about beer. My life is more quesadillas, spilled milk and “Gulliver’s Travels” with the kids.

When I started doing some writing for GrowlerWerks, a group of local engineers developing a growler that keeps craft beer carbonated and fresh, and therefore me happy, I started reading and tasting more. And that’s how I learned the origins of the beer that sometimes lived in bottles in my fridge. I already knew I wasn’t shopping local, but I didn’t know I was making a consumer choice that wasn’t really any different than that of my Coors- or Bud Light-drinking friends.

It’s not that brewery giants are bad: Even if locally made beers are typically better and give my go-to Shock Top and Blue Moon competition, I dig the free market. And encouraging an orange twist in most any edible product is always a good thing, even if doing so is primarily just smart marketing. Cheers, Blue Moon.

My beer palate is largely clueless. It knows it likes beer that is cold, carbonated and usually a little fruity, but it doesn’t know much else. I’m no beer snob. In “Stuff White People Like,” a book that’s a constant riot, Christian Lander writes, “White people don’t like stuff that’s easy to acquire. Beer is no exception. They generally try to avoid beers like Budweiser, Labatt’s, Molson, Coors, and Heineken because if it’s mass produced it is bad. No exceptions. … Being able to walk into a bar and order a beer that no one has heard of makes white people feel good about their alcohol drinking palate.”

Lander goes onto make fun of guys sitting in bars with journals and recording their experiences with hops. Yep. Those guys can be found in these parts. Again, we live in a beer destination. Beer nerds abound. So much so that beer made here helps the state’s economy significantly. Because of that, it will start getting my support exclusively. Knowledge is power.

The Oregon Brewers Guild reported that retail sales of Oregon-made beer sold in the state totaled more than $400 million in 2013. Oregon led the U.S. in percentage of dollars spent on craft beer. And the state’s brewing companies added more than 200 jobs in 2013, directly employing more than 6,600 people. A prost to that.

Oregon’s beer industry also attracts tourism dollars. Brian Butenschoen, executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild, said in a summer news release that 40 percent of Bend visitors visited a brewery or did the Ale Trail while there. Recent counts show Hood River has a brewery for every 1,433 residents, while Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world, says the OBG.

A CNN article put Portland at the top of its, “8 Best Beer Towns in the USA.” And an August 24 Thrillist article, “Every state in the USA, ranked by its beer,” had Oregon at number one, saying the state might be the epicenter of the craft beer movement and is the “best damn place to be a beer lover” in the United States. The article drenches Portland with compliments, saying, “Much ballyhoo has been made of the sheer number of breweries in the Portland metro area, which tops out at more than 70 and counting. But this isn’t a case of quantity over quality. It’s a case of quantity meeting quality head on. … Even the ‘crappy’ breweries by Portland standards would bury most of their peers based on pure deliciousness.”

We have something worth paying attention to and supporting, which is really convenient if you like beer and root for shopping local whenever possible.

The beer craze here reminded the consumer-me to do my homework. In 2014, we have the ability to research products fairly easily and become aware, quickly, of what’s produced locally. It takes as much time to get better informed about local options as it does for me to look up a favorite movie quote and post it on Facebook. For beer, I’ve been looking at and Beer Guy PDX.

If the price isn’t prohibitive, we can make local choices about meat, produce, coffee and clothing — and adult beverages — more than once in a blue moon.

–Elizabeth Hovde writes Sunday columns for The Oregonian.

Recommended Reading

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.

Recommended Reading

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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