Huntsville Beer Week, 4th Annual

Huntsville Beer WeekWell, it is that time again for Huntsville Beer Week. It runs September 19th through September 27th. With the Huntsville Area’s growing beer community, this year’s week is celebrating 8 breweries and many beer centric venues.

There will be events throughout the whole week at breweries, restaurants, and bars all over town.  Many types of events will be available included tastings, educational, give-aways, and many other kinds of events.  Be sure, you check with your favorite brewery, bar, or restaurant.

 

bdg_huntsville2014_lgThe local Free the Hops chapter has reached out to Untappd to actually get a badge that can be earned by checking in beers at local venues.

Events are still being updated on the Huntsville Beer Week site.

Zythos Bier Festival in Leuven, Belgium

031The 10th annual Zythos Bier Festival was held in Leuven, Belgium on Saturday and Sunday April 27/ 28, 2013. Over 500 different Belgian beers were available to sample. Admission to the festival is free; each 150 ml sample costs one token (€1.40). Attendees seemed to be mostly Belgian, though we also met other visitors from the United States, UK, and the Netherlands. Getting to Leuven was easy – trains from Brussels run every 30 minutes. There was a free shuttle bus from the Leuven train station to Brabanthal hall. The wide variety of Belgian beers was fantastic. Old classics from Dupont, St. Bernardus, and many others (including all of the Trappists, except Westvleteren) were available, as well as innovative new Belgian brewers like de Struisse, The Musketeers, and Verzet.

In addition to buying tokens, you need to put down a refundable deposit (€3) for a souvenir tasting glass, and likely purchase a thorough program listing all of the beers (€0.50). With glasses in hand, we then started visiting the 100+ tasting booths. One of the more popular stands was the double-sized booth shared by De Struisse and Alvinne. My favorite here was the Rio Reserva. Also available were Cuvee Delphine, Pannepot, Shark Pants (a hoppy collaboration with Three Floyds), two barrel-aged variants of Melchior, and many other beers. Other standout offerings were La Vermontoise (Blaugies/Hill Farmstead collaboration), Duvel Tripel Hop (Sorachi Ace this year), Prearis Quadrupel (coffee infused), St. Bernardus Paasbier. Only a single AB InBev product was available (Leffe Royale, being served via a self-serve tap system that they are marketing for in-home use. (The Diamond Club in the Brussels airport also had the same system serving Leffe beer to their customers.).052

The Sunday session was less crowded overall, so there was more opportunity to talk with the brewers, as well as other attendees. Food was available for purchase – frites, pizza, hamburgers, paninis, pasta, etc. The festival hall is located at the edge of a business park, so the only food options are the ones provided by the festival. A small amount of beer-related merchandise was available for purchase, as well as bottled beer at many of the booths. Very few of the beers ran out before the end of the day’s session (with the exception of de Strusse/Alvinne, where about half the beers were depleted before the end of each day) and there were few lines to wait for beer).

A nice touch that is perhaps common at Belgian festivals, was that the servers at each booth would wash (with soap) and rinse (separately) your glass for each sample. Seating at tables, as well as some free- standing tables was available. All of the tasting booths, as well as the seating was located indoors (non-smoking), with a small outdoor smoking patio, as well as the food trucks which were located outside. Another unusual feature (from my perspective at least) was that while admission to the festival was free, use of the restrooms cost €1.50 (one time fee for the session).

We had a great time at Zythos and I would recommend attending to anyone who loves Belgian beer. The Belgian beer drinkers that we met were very knowledgable of Belgian styles and brewers. Many in attendance were members of clubs (with matching club shirts) that meet to learn about and sample beer – usually under the guidance of a brewer or other experienced taster. And if you make it to Belgium, then you will have the opportunity to visit any number of classic beer destinations.

15th Annual Knoxville Brewers’ Jam

15th Annual Knoxville Brewers’ Jam was very successful this year. The weather was wonderful with clear skies and temperatures in the mid-60’s. The festival featured over sixty beers to sample at the World’s Fair Park.

Some breweries of note are the Marble Brewery, Terminal Brewhouse, and Woodruff Brewing.

The Jam featured music from Kelsey’s Woods, Barstool Romeos, Black Cadillacs, and Cutthroat Shamrock.

This year the organizers, Community Shares, had an area setup for children including a moon bounce and craft table.

Community Shares helps area groups in need.

Southern Brewers Festival

The festival is going well and here is a view from the pier.

The crowd is not bad due to distributed booths and food areas. The music has been great featuring good mix of bands.

The pier is the right value for what you get. You have access to over 10 beers without purchasing $3 tokens per beer. The foods is great. The food included Kobe beef sliders, pork bar-b-q, chicken bar-b-q, dessert and much more.

The crowd got very large late in the evening, but the beer tent area remained very accessible.

Southern Brewers Festival

Big River Southern Brewers FestivalThe Southern Brewers Festival is just around the corner. This is a great effort put on by Big River Grille & Brewing Works of Chattanooga in support a local cause. This year “Kids on the Block” will help run the festival and receive all proceeds. It all starts Saturday, August 28th.

The festival will have 31 breweries including: A1A Ale Works, Barley Mob, Bold City Brewery, Twains Billiards and Tap, Foothills Brewing Company, and many more.

This year’s festival will feature music by: Big Head Todd and The Monsters, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Ponderosa, and American Aquarium.

The Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, which owns Big River Grille & Brewing Works, has kindly sponsored our trip by giving us VIP passes to the festival.

First Alabama Beer Festival

Free The Hops is hosting the first annual Magic City Brewfest at the Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama on June 2nd, 2007. Here is the flyer:

They will be serving just about every beer available in Alabama. They are raising money to help change the Alabama beer laws to allow speciality beers into our state. Presently, most beers listed as the best beers on Beer Advocate can't be sold in Alabama. Here is a great chance to help change Alabama for the better and enjoy some food and beers.

Free The Hops’ Fundraiser on January 20th

I hope that you have cleared your calendar on January 20th so that you can make it to Free The Hops' Fundraiser at the Flying Monkey Art Center here in Huntsville, Alabama. It is great chance to try some great beers and meet other beer lovers.

It will be a great event!

If you don't know about Free The Hops, they are organized to change Alabama beer laws to raise the allowed alcohol percentage and container limit. These change will allow all the speciality beer that have come into the market place to be sold in Alabama.

Great Time at Oktoberfest

Karen and I had great time at this year's Redstone Arsenal Oktoberfest. Each year we run into so many friends at the festival and this year was no different.

Terry Cavanagh and Alpine Express provided great entertainment. I snapped a good picture of Michael Hoffer playing his trombone in the audience.

Karen and I tried for the first time an Elephant Ear topped with powder sugar and cinnamon. It was good, but I think we will be sticking with Funnel cake.

– Brian Allen