Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Saturday’s beer fest in Norfolk is Mid-Atlantic’s largest

Crowd at the Virginia Beer Festival
Thousands of beer lovers descend on Town Point Park each year (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of David Polston/Virginia Arts Festival)

NORFOLK — Saturday thousands of beer lovers will descend on this city’s Town Point Park in the Waterside District for the annual Virginia Beer Festival.

The beer festival is the Mid-Atlantic’s largest and longest running, entering its 17th year. It’s co-sponsored by Norfolk Festevents and Virginia Arts Festival.

This year there’s something new for beer aficionados: collaborative beers.

“The idea of having a beer specifically for the Virginia Beer Festival came about organically in a discussion with the folks at Virginia Craft Beer Magazine, who have a really good connection with all of the local brewers, and they spear-headed communication,” said Chaz Stuart, Virginia Arts Festival’s coordinator of the event.

There will be three unique collaborative brews that people can sample.

The first is The Other Guys IPA, a joint effort of Vanguard, Alewerks, Big Ugly, and MoMac. It’s light in color with a hazy complexion and was made using citra whole-cone hops.

The second is N2daB Mojito Inspired Ale, brewed by Bearded Bird, Coelacanth, Benchtop, Rip Rap, Smartmouth, O’Connor, and Bold Mariner. It’s a Belgian-style ale with a complex array of flavors and aromas and a distinctive “Mojito” lime character.

Finally, Erd Beer was brewed by Wasserhund, Home Republic, Deadline, Back Bay, and Gordon Biersch. The name itself is a play on the German word for Strawberry — Erdbeere. A New England-style dessert IPA, instead of the typical bitter hoppiness of an IPA, Huell Melon hops were used, thus giving it a fruity character.

The ‘Brew School’

“The cool thing is that there will be representatives from many of these participating breweries in the Brew School area of the festival, where the collaborative beers can be sampled, to talk more about these new beers,” Stuart said.

He said the Brew School, which is sponsored by Virginia Craft Beer Magazine, brings brewers and other figures from the craft beer industry to the festival to address topics that curious beer drinkers might be interested in, anything from beer-making techniques to business advice and more.

Aerial photo of beerfest 2014
Aerial photo of the event from a few years ago (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Rachel Greenberg/Virginia Arts Festival)

“This year we thought about adding the new element of a unique beer, and it turned out that the brewers really embraced the opportunity to be social and creative with their local ‘community’ of brewers,” Stuart said.

The festival will also offer music, with Southern Rock favorite Buckshot performing.

Tickets are still available online.

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