Published on March 5th, 2016 | by TLV News0
The Library Sports Bar Hosts Oxford Craft Beer Festival Saturday, March 5, 2016
The Oxford Craft Beer Festival will be returning to The Library Sports Bar for its fourth year, featuring 16 breweries and three chefs who will each present a food and beer pairing.
We spoke with Darryl Parker, Assistant Director of the Oxford Beer Festival about what to expect from what has become a yearly, local staple of Oxford.
“If it’s not snowing or icing, we should have about a thousand people,” said Parker. “The first 500 will get a souvenir mug.”
While all breweries are welcome, Parker wants to bring in as many from the south as possible.
“I’m trying to get regional beers here, as many as I can, as well as beers from outside” said Parker.
To go with the beer sampling will be food pairings occurring during the VIP exclusive hour from 11 am to 12 pm. The pairing will be broken into three parts representing the appetizer, entree, and dessert portion of a meal.
The appetizer portion will be presented by a guest chef, who plans to ofer a sampler of Italian meats and cheeses. James Allen Sanders of Delta Steak Company will pair a beer with an entree. And despite beer not being a typical dessert, the third chef is taking a straightforward approach.
“He’s actually going to do strawberries dipped in chocolate paired with a Peroni beer to cap it off,” said Parker.
Aside from the large selection of beer that will be available, the festival will also be holding its traditional pretzel necklace contest.
“It’s customary at a beer festival to have a pretzel necklace,” said Parker. “It’s two-fold in that it keeps you sober and it cleans your palate.”
Rather than formal judging, the winner will be chosen by audience applause.
“Everyone that got up there got a prize last year,” said Parker. “We’re doing it in the spirit of having fun.”
Parker recognized a complaint he heard from last year’s festival that the live music was disturbing conversation among festival goers.
“At a music festival the talent is the music, but at a beer festival, the talent is the brew masters,” said Parker. “People want to talk to them.”
Rather than remove live music from the festival, they found a compromise.
“We are going to have music,” said Parker. “Instead of it being set up like a concert, we’re going to have musicians floating around the crowd. They might stop and play for 15 or 20 minutes then move on to somewhere else. Really, if you’re not within 20 feet, you’re not going to hear it.”
Parker sees the beer festival as a chance to show Oxford how much potential there is in beer culture.
“This is an entry-level beer festival,” said Parker. “We try to sneak in education and make people aware that you can do these things with beer and food…this is a baseline standard for what beer can go with what.”
Accommodatingly, the festival also offers designated driver tickets at a cheaper price. While a regular ticket is $45 ($85 for VIP), the Designated Driver ticket is $15 ($25 for VIP) or free if you have purchased one for a previous year. DD ticket holders will not receive a mug or the wristband allowing them to drink.
If you are interested in volunteering, the festival is still in need of helping hands for setup, working the festival, and clean up afterwards.