Author: Teresa Fitzgibbons
What could be better than spending a sunny day strolling along the water sipping a cold beer? How about spending two days sampling dozens of finely crafted brews from around the world and helping out a couple of good causes at the same time?
“Beaufort Festiv-ALE is the first beer festival in the city of Beaufort,” said organizer Chad Dally. “It’s a truly unique four-day event with a portion of all proceeds going to charitable causes.”
The first annual festival will be held February 26-March 1 at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort. The event will feature a wide assortment of beers from both domestic and international breweries. In addition to the dozens of beers available for sampling, patrons will also be able to enjoy live music and other entertainment.
“I consider myself a beer connoisseur,” said Chad. “Microbreweries are prevalent around the country, and festivals like this have been successful elsewhere. But this area hasn’t had an event like this.”
The Beaufort Festiv-ALE will kick off with the “Brewin’ on the Links” Golf Tournament on February 26 at The Sanctuary on Cat Island. Golfers will partake in a variety of craft beers and sausage while competing on the course.
Public tastings are scheduled for Saturday, February 28, from noon until 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 1, from 1-5 p.m. at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Brewers will compete for “Best Brew” in multiple categories and Best Authentic Brew Master Costume while patrons vie for Miss Beer Wench 2009 and the Bottomless Gut Contest.
Breweries from Washington State and California will showcase their brews alongside those from places like Denmark and Japan. Of course, no beer festival would be complete without numerous German beers, especially Bavarian, on tap as well. Over 100 varieties of beer from all over the world will be represented.
“It’s similar to a wine tasting,” said Chad. “People can truly taste the complexity of beer and learn about the intricacies involved in its flavor—the spices, hops, barley, and seasoning required to make a fine brew.”
While sampling and socializing attendees will be entertained with live music and historically authentic dance from Germany, Ireland, Belgium, and other countries known for their craftsmanship of beer. Food vendors will serve up the best cuisine to be paired with various styles of beer.
Those who really want to get to know their beer won’t want to miss the Sponsors’ Appreciation and VIP Party on Friday, February 27. The party includes a private tasting and seminars led by brew masters from featured breweries at the park pavilion. “The VIP Party will be limited to a select group,” said Chad. “People will be able to talk to the brew masters and chefs and learn why certain beers are paired with specific foods and how to select beer to accompany food.”
During the weekend of Beaufort Festiv-ALE, the waterfront park will be transformed into a concert venue. Numerous regional acts, including Branan Logan, Spare Parts, and Souls Harbor will perform. Two major concert events are scheduled for the weekend. Friday’s “Brewmaster’s Concert” will be headlined by Michelle Murray with an opening act by local favorite’s Chris and Christian., “Rockin’ in the Park” is scheduled for Saturday, February 28, from 7-11 p.m. with Souls Harbor opening for Drivin’ N’ Cryin’.”
A portion of all proceeds from the Beaufort Festiv-ALE will be donated to Senior Services of Beaufort County and the Brian Lanese Relief Fund. Several business and corporate sponsorships are still available. To purchase tickets, or for sponsorship or other information, visit www.beaufortfestiveale.com.