On what turned out to be the best weather day so far this year for an outdoor festival, BrewFest CharlieWest poured lots of craft beer Saturday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
The sunny day, blue sky, mild temperatures, and WV Power baseball game made it a great day for beer. And there was plenty of brew.
Two local distributors pulled together the beer side of the event this year. Capitol Beverage and Mountain State Beverage offered selections that would satisfy both experienced and novice craft drinkers.
Capitol Beverage pours Morgantown Brewing and Greenbrier Valley beers
Robby Cline and Capitol Beverage brought their West Virginia breweries Morgantown and Greenbrier Valley. Additionally, two North Carolina breweries were featured: Foothills from Winston-Salem and New Belgium from Asheville.
Featured beers for Capitol included Greenbrier Valley Brewing’s MothMan and Devil Anse IPAs and Morgantown Brewing’s Alpha Blonde and Coal City Stout.
Mountain State Beverage brings Bridge Brew Works and the NET brews
Todd Moore and Mountain State Beverage highlighted their own two West Virginia breweries in Bridge Brew Works of Fayetteville, and North End Tavern Brewery of Parkersburg. He also had popular beers from Bell’s Brewery in Michigan, Flying Dog in Maryland, and Oskar Blues in North Carolina.
Two popular North End Tavern beers were featured, including Roedy’s Imperial Red Ale and West Virginia Wheat.
The brewing crew from Bridge Brew Works came out in force to promote their beers. As usual, they injected a high level of fun and festivity into their table. Along with their ever-popular Lager, they poured Momma Rye IPA, Mountain Momma Pale Ale, and Goliath Double IPA.
Getting to be a fixture at West Virginia beer events is the personable Ron Stenger, state representative for New Belgium, Asheville. He seemed to have a good time pouring at his first BrewFest CharlieWest. Among the out-of-state brands, New Belgium Brewing was the only one with a brewery representative at BrewFest CharlieWest.
They guys from Bridge Brew Works were the only WV brewery reps to work at the event this year. In past years, several other WV breweries attended and sent representatives. The event went through a bit of transition this year as the ballpark contracted a new set of distributors to sell beer at the facility, and they had a pretty short notice about the BrewFest date. That likely caused the lower participation.
Volunteers to help pour were in short pretty supply but local craft beer enthusiast David “Yogi” Dean recruited a few folks at the last-minute who saved the day. With all the beer events taking place these days, festivals will have to become more creative in recruiting volunteers. It’s a growing challenge.
BrewFest CharlieWest pint glass
The first 1,000 adults through the gate received a etched-logo Brewfest pint glass. It appeared as if just about everyone that wanted one got a glass, since it wasn’t anywhere near a full house.
At the festival, you could purchase craft-beer-pint tickets for $5 each, which is a dollar below the normal price they charge for craft at ballgames. As a popular alternative, they offered a $30 all-inclusive festival ticket that included your game ticket, Party Deck food, and five beer tickets.
While technically the festival didn’t begin until after the baseball game ended, all the craft beers were offered throughout the game. Following the game, craft beer sales continued and the crowd was entertained by the sounds of the Huntington-based band The Dividends.
The distributors say that even though the crowd wasn’t close to a sellout, a lot of beer was poured and they were happy with the event. Attendees were pleased with the festival format and selection of beers poured.
Now for the rest of the season
We should see a nice selection of craft beer sold throughout the baseball season, from what we hear. A mix of West Virginia and out-of-state breweries should be available. It looks like craft beer will be receiving a little higher profile at Appalachian Power Park this year. Here’s hoping that happens.