Rumors have been swirling for months about the Minneapolis Beer Fest, but information has been hard to come by. It was almost as if the sponsors wanted to keep it a secret. The rumors were that it would be big. The first person to mention it to me, a sales rep at one of the local beer distributors, called it "the biggest beer event of the year in the Twin Cities." Given the number and scope of beer fests in the metro that was a bold claim. Still, my further attempts to dig up more dirt on the fest came up empty.
The veil has finally been lifted. A new website launched recently detailing the who, what, where, and when of the newest entry in the rapidly expanding pantheon of Minnesota beer festivals.[jump]
The Minneapolis Beer Fest takes place on Saturday, September 24th in parking lots at the intersection of Portland Avenue and S 4th Street in downtown Minneapolis. The doors open at 5:00 pm for general admission ticket-holders and the festival is scheduled to go until 9:00 pm.
Tickets are already available for purchase. The cost is $30 in advance and $40 at the door. Designated driver tickets will run you $10. Admission gets you access to the event with unlimited tasting and a complementary tasting glass.
For those who want the VIP treatment, local beer distributor JJ Taylor is sponsoring what is being called the VIP Experience. A $75 ticket gets you free adjacent parking, early admission, a separate event entrance, VIP area access-only to free food, deck seating, full 12oz. beers of your favorite JJ Taylor products, and private restrooms. I'm told there will likely be special beers available only to VIP ticketholders. VIP tickets are only available in advance and only online.
What's a beer festival without food? Vendors at the event will include Barrio, Buffalo Wild Wings, Smack Shack, Chef Shack, Turkey to Go, and 128 Mobile Café.
There will be two stages of musical entertainment. Your sampling will be accompanied by the sounds of 4 on the Floor, White Iron Band, and Jambo Joe Bones.
Will it really be the biggest beer event of the year? That remains to be seen. The list of sponsors and breweries leads me to question the quality of the event. While there are a number great breweries listed, including some of our fine local and regional beer-makers, the bulk of the list seems to be macrobreweries, light lager imports, and faux micros such as Shock Top and Landshark. The fact that Four Loco is one of the sponsors doesn't exactly boost my confidence. Will this be a quality sampling event or a drunkfest? I will reserve judgment until it actually plays out.
Cheers, Michael Agnew Certified Cicerone A Perfect Pint