Grab a glass and get ready, because craft beer celebrations are back!
Beer Week is in full swing with events at restaurants and pubs all across the city, as breweries gear up for the main attraction at the end of the week – the 7th annual Savannah Craft Brew Fest.
The festival returns on Saturday, August 30 with more than 200 different beers from 68 different breweries. From 1 to 5 p.m., the International Trade and Convention Center will be transformed into a beer enthusiast’s dream with import, cider, mixology and mead gardens as well as a sports bar, silent disco and cigar lounge.
“Last year was the first year that Red Mountain Entertainment took over operations of the event and they really did a great job,” said Chuck Fountain, a partner of Habersham Beverage.
In 2013 Red Mountain Entertainment debuted mixology and cider gardens; this year they’ve added a special mead garden, where five different meaderies will showcase 8 to 10 different meads, one of the oldest types of beers, known for its unique creation by fermenting honey with water.
They are also debuting a silent disco – an area where guests can put on headphones and dance around. “Nobody around can hear the music, except for the people with headphones on,” said Jay Wilson, the CEO of Red Mountain Entertainment. “It’ll be fun.”
In addition to the new activities, there will also be old favorites, including the World of Samuel Adams, which will be offering three different educational activities including a tasting and deconstruction of the Latitude 48, which showcases five distinct hops, as well as a drink and dessert paring session and the OctoberFest Stein Hoisting Competition.
There will also be prizes and exclusive activities including the Mound of Love raffle and cigar rolling sessions taught by world famous Papa Leo. Patrons can purchase a $5 raffle ticket for the chance to win a “Mound of Love” beer package and like Savannah Craft Brew Fest on Facebook for the chance to participate in one of the three private cigar rolling sessions.
And to help things run more smoothly this year, they’ve added an additional entrance to the event.
“We’ve created an entrance just for the people that are getting off the ferry,” said Wilson. “Our hope is that it reduces the length of lines, wait and congestion.”
But that’s just the beginning. Wilson and his team at Red Mountain Entertainment are also bringing back glassware to the event, at the request of previous patrons. There will even be specialty Belgian style glasses for VIP ticket holders.
These VIP tickets will get patrons into the event one hour early and allow them to get 20 exclusive beers and specialty food that will only be available in the VIP area. Folks from the Savannah Brewers League will also be in the VIP area, offering guided beer tasting tours.
“We will select a style, gather four, five or six gambles of that style and then tell a little bit of the history of it – how that beer is made and how it differs from other things – and then sample them,” said Vince Becker, beer lead at Habersham Beverage and a past president of the Savannah Brewers League.
But specialty craft beers aren’t exclusive to the VIP tent – they’ll be all over the festival. Distributors took on the challenge to bring new things to the event that aren’t normally available, said Wilson.
“There are some brews that are only available on draft and those are very limited releases,” said Becker. “Moon River is actually serving a beer called Everything Goes, that was actually brewed by a home-brewer, his winning recipe for the Summer Suds last year.”
Southbound, another local brewery, will debut Fade to Red, a special India red ale made for the Rock 106.1, and the wild IPA Secret’s Shared, made with help from the World of Beer, at the festival.
“I just love the buzz,” said Becker. “As a beer geek and now being able to work in a beer store, I tell people that it’s the beer, the beer has to come first. It’s a great thing.”
Savannah Craft Brew Fest takes place at the International Trade and Convention Center, located at 1 International Drive, from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 30. Tickets are still available for purchase at on Ticketmaster.com or locally at both Habersham Beverage locations. VIP tickets are sold out. For more information about this event, visit their website and for other events in Savannah, visit our event calendar.