Clearwater Beer Festival in Altoona, Wisconsin: An easy beer road trip

Clearwater Beer Festival offers an alternative to sold-out local fests

Clearwater Beer Festival offers an alternative to sold-out local fests

Didn't get tickets to tomorrow's Surlyfest? Missed out on Summit's silver anniversary tickets too? Maybe you're just looking to get out of town. Well, beer fans, don't despair. Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has a beer festival opportunity just for you. The 12th annual Clearwater Beer Festival is happening this Saturday across the St. Croix in our neighbor to the east. It looks to be a more intimate event than either of the offerings at home. Go for the day or make a weekend of it. Northwestern Wisconsin is nice this time of year.

Here are the details.


The 12th Annual Clearwater Beer Festival is billed as the "premiere beer tasting event of northwestern Wisconsin."

When: Saturday, September 10, 3-7 p.m. Where: Altoona Hobbs Sports Center, 2300 Spooner Avenue, Altoona WI. That's just east of Eau Claire. It's an easy day trip from the Twin Cities. How Much: Tickets are $25 and are available at Designated drivers get in free! What: This event is a fundraiser sponsored by The Coffee Grounds and the Mighty Docs Hockey Team to raise money for rink improvements at the Altoona Hobbs Sports Center. Festival-goers receive a commemorative festival glass and unlimited beer samples. 30 brewers are listed, including many small Wisconsin breweries. A couple of brand-new entries into the Wisconsin beer scene are on the list. Bigger national and regional attendees will be represented as well, like Bells, Summit, and New Belgium. From photos it looks like a fun and intimate event.

If you happen to be a member of the Wisconsin Beer Lovers program of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild, you will have access to an exclusive table of special and limited-release beers from some of the state's fine breweries.

As with all beer festivals there will be food and music. Tap your toes to the Irish tunes of the Shillelagh Lads, back for their second year at the fest. Pizza slices "the size of your head" will be dished up by Bellatoria.

If parking is an issue, shuttle buses will be running from various Eau Claire locations. 2:30 pm-4:30 pm The Blue Bus will begin its route at the Holiday Inn (campus location: 2703 Craig Road, Eau Claire).The next stop will be the Haas Fine Arts Center (Water St between First and Second streets, Eau Claire). From there, it will drop off festival attendees at the Altoona Hobbs Sports Center (2300 Spooner Avenue, Altoona). This route will run continuously until 4:30 pm. From 6 to 8 p.m. the route will be reversed, with its first pick up at the Hobbs Sports Center in Altoona at 6 p.m.. From there the bus travels back to the Haas Fine Arts Center and then the Holiday Inn Campus location. This route will run continuously until 8 pm.

Cheers, Michael Agnew Certified Cicerone A Perfect Pint

**Follow Hot Dish on Twitter and Facebook**