November 2011

A Salute to Beer - First Annual Beer Fest Comes to Buffton

Author: David Gignilliat

Mark Weisner knows his beer. A beer enthusiast, he’s even visited Belgium to try the country’s renowned Trappist and abbey beers. Twice. He had to go back.

“I’ve been to Belgium twice, and the reason I’ve been to Belgium twice is to drink beer,” said Weisner, owner of Bearfoot Sports, and sponsor of the upcoming 2011 Bluffton International and Craft Beer Fest.

The inaugural event will be held Saturday, November 5, from 2-6 p.m. at The Promenade in historic downtown Bluffton. Proceeds will benefit the Palmetto Animal League, and bottles, cans and cardboard will be recycled by Fisher Recycling.

“I think anyone who has an appreciation for beer can come to this festival,” Weisner said. “I want to bring Belgium to Bluffton, and I think we’ve done that.”

Belgian beers include St. Bernardus (West Flanders), Bockor (Bellegem) and Rodenbach (Roeselare). Beers from Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and England will also be featured.

Like many epicurean delights, craft and international beers have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, buoyed by a proliferation of breweries, increased public awareness, and modern technology, making information, and ultimately product, more accessible.

“I think it’s the availability [of craft and international beers], and that people are willing to try them,” added Weisner, who has recruited several local sponsors, including restaurants Captain Woody’s, Mellow Mushroom, The Lodge and Wild Wing Café. “You can’t even compare domestic light beer to beer that we’re going to have at this beer festival.”

In other words, the beers featured at November’s festival are probably not the beers your father drank.

“You’ve really got to look for some of this stuff. It’s not the type of stuff you find in the grocery store at all,” Weisner said.

Regional craft beers will include Palmetto Brewing Company and Pig Swig (Charleston), New South Brewery (Myrtle Beach), Thomas Creek Brewery (Greenville), RJ Rockers (Spartanburg), and Sweetwater and Red Brick (Atlanta). All of the beers have been handpicked by Weisner, who hopes to have even more regional beers next year.

“I think as the festival grows and we establish it, we’ll be able to get even more of the local beers,” Weisner said. “You have to save a few for next time.”

For more information, including a complete list of beer selections available at the 2011 festival, visit blufftonbeerfest.com. For additional information please e-mail bfs@hargray.com or call (843) 757-8520.

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