Published on February 24th, 2015 | by TLV News0
3rd Annual Oxford Craft Beer Festival: February 28 at The Library
Hooray for craft beer! The first two years of the Oxford Craft Beer Festival were successful, with over 900 attendees in 2013 (two days) and 500 last year (one day), all heading to a sprawling setting at Colonel’s Quarters at Castle Hill Resort outside of Oxford. This year, festival organizers are proud to report there’s a new date, new venue, and new ownership. Last year, the festival was held on April 19—the day before Easter and just a week before Double Decker. This year, because of some scheduling issues and competition, the one-day festival has been moved to February 28, to coincide with the Saturday of the Oxford Film Festival.
We encourage you to get your ticket in advance—day-of-event ticket pricing is $10 more than advance ticket pricing. Joe’s Craft Beer has tickets for sale, as well as Locals Restaurant & Bar and LB’s Meat Market. Or you can get your tickets on the web (oxfordbeerfest.com/tickets-2). Advance General Admission tickets are $45 and advance VIP tickets are $85.
The festival will be set up inside The Library Sports Bar, with over 150 beers to sample from an ever-growing number of breweries. VIP ticketholders will be able to enter and begin sampling at 11 am, and will have the run of the place until noon, when General Admission ticketholders can enter. An hour of having a more intimate beer-tasting experience, with more time and elbow-room to ask the brewery representatives questions was my favorite perk of having a VIP ticket at the festival last year. Both General Admission and VIP tickets include your essential five-ounce souvenir sampling mug. And the best part of the festival, included with every ticket, is the chance to meet brewers and other beer lovers.
This year’s festival, as in years past, includes a “Food Show.” Two local chefs will be featured this year, Roland Snider of Locals Restaurant & Bar, and Spencer Green of LB’s Meat Market. The chefs will demonstrate how to prepare a dish, while offering samples they’ve paired with different brews from the festival.
Silas Reed ‘N’ Da Books will be providing entertainment throughout the afternoon—it won’t necessarily be an acoustic set, but it shouldn’t be loud enough to overshadow conversation. As of press time, details about food vendors are still up in the air because of space constraints, but we’ll do our best to post online updates closer to the 28th.
There are already a few new highlights to share with you, and festival organizers are still expecting more breweries to become part of this festival. Some of the breweries have new reps to meet, such as Abita and Southern Prohibition Brewing Company (whose rep is Stephanie, former bartender at The Blind Pig). Notable additions to this year’s brewery list include Wiseacre Brewing Co. (Memphis), Singin’ River Brewing Co. (Alabama), and SweetWater Brewing Co. (Atlanta). And Mason Meeks (owner/brewer of Oxford Brewing Co.) will be on hand at the festival, infusing his beers with different flavors.
I’d like to take a moment to enlighten readers about pretzel necklaces. They’re not just a stylish accessory; they really make the experience of a beer festival better. My now-husband and I ignored warnings to make and take our own, but thankfully we were invited to eat some of the pretzels from my friend John’s necklace. Pretzel necklaces not only serve the purpose of cleaning the palate between brews (you won’t want your new sample of fruit lambic to taste like the coffee stout you just finished off), but pretzels also help keep some modicum of sobriety throughout the afternoon. This festival is like an afternoon of being in beer wonderland, and it’s easy to taste way more beers than you anticipated (and get more schnockered than you expected). Oh, and there’s a contest. That’s right, there will be prizes for the best pretzel necklaces—local stores and restaurants have made donations of retail items, gift cards, and more. New to this year’s festival is the naming of a Grand Marshall—Butch Collier of Clark Beverage Group—who’s being honored for his over 40 years in the Mississippi beer industry. Festival-goers will have the chance to meet him and pick his brain, maybe even have their beer poured by him. Butch will also be judging the pretzel necklaces.
This year, with the festival being on the Square, VIPs can really benefit from the inclusion of free parking. The lot for the Oxford Beer Festival is directly beside the Chancery building on North Lamar, across from Lindsey’s Chevron. And keep in mind that designated driver tickets are available for the festival as well. There’s no “official” taxi company of the festival this year, but thankfully taxis are a little easier to get on the Square than all the way out at Colonel’s Quarters. Please don’t drive drunk after an afternoon that promises to be so awesome.
As the big day approaches, get updated news from festival organizers on Facebook (facebook.com/oxfordbeerfest) or Twitter (twitter.com/oxfordbeerfest). Cheers!