Summer beer festival season hits West Virginia

Brilliant Stream has the latest updates on the premier summer beer festivals in West Virginia.  We communicated with the organizers of Sound Waves & IPAs, Rails & Ales, and Mountaineer Brewfest who gave us the scoop on their events.

[To see a complete list of recommended events around the region, visit our Summer Festival Page. ]

Sound Waves & IPAs • Bridgeport 

We got hold of Mary Kay Greer of the Bridgeport Arts Council and she provided us with these updates.

Question.  What changes will attendees want to be aware of this year? Answer.  Changes are the time, VIP’s enter at 3:30.  More brewers will be there to represent their breweries.

Q.  How many different beers do you expect to be offered?
A.  We should have about 125 different beers, but the list will not be announced until that day on the app that is being created just for the festival.

Q.  Briefly describe your food service set-up this year.
A.  We have food vendors available with tapas (small fares) from many different local vendors and food trucks.  From Kettle Corn to Cheese Steak.

Q.  What is one key thing that will make beer fans not want to miss you festival this year?
A.  I would think there is a lot not to miss, from the debut of many new craft beers, fabulous food, and  great entertainment.  This is a copy of the bands that will be there, and the website ect.

Q.  How do thre funds raised by the festival benefit the community?
A.  The Bridgeport Arts Council uses these funds to bring quality cultural arts to the community.

Q.  What are the ticket prices for 2017?
A.  $40 General Admission;  $60 VIP

Q.  What are the date and times for 2017? 
A.   June 25  at 4:30 PM – 10:00 PM  (VIP enter at 3:30)

Sound Waves Website & Ticket Link

Rails & Ales • Huntington

Jessica Pressman, one of the lead Rails & Ales festival organizers, provided us the latest info on West Virginia’s most successful craft beer festival. Here’s what she told us.

Question What changes and improvements will attendees notice at the festival this year?
Answer:  In an effort to preserve the intimacy of the festival and to allow us to continue to grow the festival, we are adding an evening session this year. We will host two 4 hour sessions, with a VIP hour prior to the afternoon session. There will be no VIP session in the evening. We are also continuing to tweak our layout to provide the best possible flow and use of space. We’ll also be welcoming some new artisans, musicians and food vendors to our line-up.

Q.   About how many breweries and beers do you expect this year?
A.  We will offer a selection of nearly 300 beers from at least 80 breweries! Our beer wizard doesn’t mess around!

Q.   Briefly describe your food service set up for this year.
A.  We will have two “food courts” set up  with a selection of 13 restaurants, some of whom are from out of town and are making their Rails & Ales debut.

Q.  What is one key thing that will make beer fans not want to miss you festival this year?
A.  The Rails & Ales festival has such a great vibe not to mention a beautiful location in a riverfront park, great entertainment, food and art. But the best thing we’ve got going for us is the selection of beers we offer. Jeff McKay is so knowledgeable about beer and puts together, without a doubt, the largest and most impressive beer list of any festival in the state. We also offer a fairly large selection of imported beers, which sets us apart.

Q.  How has your festival benefitted the local community? 
A.  We donated over $10,000 to six local non-profit organizations last year in exchange for their time as volunteers. Those organizations were: Pony Express Basketball Club, One by One Animal Advocates, Friends of Ironton, Little Victories, INTO MU and Team for WV Children.

Q.  What non-profit groups or community projects will receive funding from your festival this year?
A.  We are currently in the process of recruiting volunteers for the festival so it’s too early to say which groups will be participating. We will have some groups returning and some new ones as well. With the addition of an evening session, we will need twice as many volunteers this year and are expecting to donate at least $20,000 to various non-profit organizations in our area. It is a great source of pride for us to give back to the community that has been so supportive of us.

Q.  What are the ticket prices for 2017?
A.  Ticket prices: VIP tickets are $60 and General Admission tickets are $40

Q.  What are the date and times for 2017? 
A.  Saturday, August 12, 2017. The afternoon session opens up at 11 AM for VIP ticket holders and noon for guests with a General Admission ticket. The afternoon session closes at 4 PM. The evening session opens at 6 PM and closes at 10 PM and all evening session tickets will be General Admission.

Q.  What is your website address and ticket link?  
A.  We have just launched a brand new website and all the information on it is up to date. Website — Ticket Link 

Mountaineer Brewfest • Wheeling

We went right to the source and communicated with Jeff Hayes,
president of Mountaineer Brewfest. Here’s what we learned.

Question: What changes and improvements will attendees notice at the festival this year?
Answer: We continue to improve our ticketing process both at the gate and online via new integrated capabilities with Eventbrite on mobile devices and on our website.

Q. About how many breweries and how many beers do you expect to be represented this year?
A. We will have 13 WV Brewers represented including new participants Hawk Knob, Mash Brewing, Brewstel, and North End Tavern. And returning attendees Big Timber, Greenbrier Valley, Wheeling Brewing, Brew Keepers, Morgantown Brewing, Mountain State Brewing, Chestnut Brewworks, and Bridge Brew Works. While we will not know final beers until we get closer to the August, we expect 40-50 WV beers for sampling and another 50+ craft beers available in our Beer Garden.

Q.  Briefly describe your food service set up for this year.
A.  The festival will have everything from BBQ to Street Tacos, artisan food to compliment the artisan beer.

Q.  What is one key thing that will make beer fans not want to miss you festival this year?
A.  Our opening ceremony this year will feature a bagpipe parade thru the Heritage Port culminating with the tapping of the firkin provided by Morgantown Brewing by a special guest (TBA).
What was the approximate number of dollars that the festival provided to non-profit groups or community projects last year?

Q.  How has your festival benefitted the local community? 
A.  The 2016 Mountaineer Brewfest raised $16,000 for St. John’s Home for Children thru proceeds from the festival, tips collected in our beer garden, and other donations. The Mountaineer Brewfest has raised almost $40,000 to date for local charities in our first three years.

Q.  What non-profit groups or community projects will receive funding from your festival this year?
A. The Mountaineer Brewfest committee has just completed the charity selection process, this year’s recipient, (to be announced on Thursday May 18th), will be “Habitat for Humanity-Wheeling Area Inc.”.  The proceeds from this year’s festival, along with all tips received in our Beer Garden manned by volunteers from the Wheeling chapter of the Circus Saints & Sinners, will benefit Michelle Poole, 45, of Wheeling, and her daughters, twins Alonna and Amari, 13, and Devyn, 11 bringing the Poole family one step closer of realizing their dream of owning their own home.

Q.  What are your ticket prices?
A.  Early Bird ticket pricing from June 1st to July 31st: General Admission $25. VIP Admission $65. After August 1st, GA pricing is $35, with VIP tickets at $75. Designated Driver tickets are available for $10 GA $20 VIP. Tickets for the 2017 Mountaineer Brewfest go on sale Thursday June 1st 2017. General admission includes 10 samples, commemorative mug, and great entertainment. In addition to the general admission items, the VIP ticket includes an invitation to our Thursday August 17th beer & food pairing at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, early festival entrance (3:00pm), special VIP only beers, special entertainment, a food voucher, 10 additional samples, and a commemorative VIP item.

Q.  What are your festival date and times?
A.  Date: Saturday, August 19. The festival hours are: VIP entry 3:00 PM, General Admission entry at 4:00 PM. The festival ends at 10:00 PM.

Mountaineer Brewfest website link

Recommended summer beer festival list

Want more festival ideas? Summer days bring out some of the best beer festivals in our region. Here’s a link to a brief rundown and listing of all the ones we like, in chronological order, both in and around West Virginia.

Master summer beer festival list   

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