Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival brings together 16 of West Virginia’s small-batch breweries and cideries and puts them inside a warm, spacious event space in Morgantown. Is there a better place to be on February 10?
In the middle of a crazy cold winter, one thing you don’t do a lot of is get out to visit all our wild wonderful West Virginia breweries. But with the Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival you can get many of the best ones delivered up to you in a tasting glass. I went to this festival last year and had a great time. It’s about the perfect activity for a mid-winter break.
Last year, the event attracted about 1,300 people before ticket sales were cut off. This year, with a new festival floor layout at Mylan Park’s Ruby Community Center, organizers think they can handle up to 2,000 attendees inside the one-acre facility. Ticket sales are going well, so it’s probably smart to go ahead and lock in yours now.
The long-range forecast projects decent weather for that weekend, good for getting to a festival outing.
Blissful breweries from Almost Heaven
Here is the list of West Virginia breweries and cideries that will attend:
- Big Timber Brewing, Elkins
- Brew Keepers, Wheeling
- Brewstel, Elkins
- Bridge Brew Works, Fayetteville
- Chestnut Brew Works, Morgantown
- Greenbrier Valley Brewing, Maxwelton
- Morgantown Brewing, Morgantown
- Parkersburg Brewing, Parkersburg
- Pubstomper, Morgantown
- Screech Owl Brewing, Bruceton Mills
- Short Story Brewing, Rivesville
- Sophisticated Hound Brewing, Princeton
- Stumptown Ales, Davis
- Weathered Ground Brewery, Cool Ridge
- Hawk Knob Cider, Lewisburg
- Swilled Dog Hard Cider, Franklin
Sure to be a hot taster-glassfull this year are the beers from Stumptown Ales in Davis. They are coming to the festival with extra wind in their sail from recently being named West Virginia Brewery of the Year. The hop-centric brews here will be ones to hit early and often.
Two of the state’s best new breweries that just opened in the last half of 2017 will attend: Weathered Ground and Short Story. Both were nominated for Brilliant Stream’s Best New Brewery 2017 recognition, with Weathered Ground receiving the win. If you haven’t had the chance to try out these two, you owe it to yourself to get out to this festival.
The festival is welcoming back two breweries that came away big winners last year at Cabin Fever’s beer competition. Brew Keepers took Best of Show last year with its Irish Pirate Foreign Extra Stout. Parkersburg Brewing won the top two places in the hot IPA category last February for its Citrus Tsunami Grapefruit IPA and For Ash and Ember Dark IPA.
Other breweries coming this year, that were not there last year, are Screech Owl Brewing from nearby Preston County and Bridge Brew Works from the southern part of the state at Fayetteville.
Another new feature this year are two WV cideries. A taster of Hawk Knob or Swilled Dog hard cider provides a nice palate refresher and diversion from what could otherwise become hop palate fatigue. And if your partner is among those who are not big fans of beer, a cider might be just the thing to keep him or her happy while you stand in the beer lines.
Meet the brewers
A really cool thing about a smaller, focused beer festival, such as this, is that the brewery owners or brewers (or both) will be on duty at about every brewery table. No more asking beer questions to a pleasant but clueless volunteer server. At Cabin Fever Fest you can get answers directly from the horse’s mouth.
Volunteers still needed
Because West Virginia alcohol regulations prohibit brewery and distributor employees from pouring and serving their beer at a festival, volunteer beer pourers are the only thing standing between your empty cup and a full one. That’s how important these people are.
The festival director tells us that a few more volunteer pourers are needed, so consider working a shift. You can work a shift and get free entrance to a nice Thank-You party event or possibly work the early shift and get free festival admission for the second half of the afternoon. You can also work for a charity and have your shift produce a donation to a specified non-profit group. Check the festival’s Volunteer Entry page for more info.
Stay all afternoon
With the Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival running from 12 noon until 6 p.m., you can come out for lunch and stay all day. No rushing to sample as many beers as you can in a short three or four-hour session, like at many festivals. At Cabin Fever Fest, you can relax, pace yourself, and stay reasonably sober while you sample leisurely over the six-hour period.
That means there will be plenty of time for food and water breaks, including lunch or an early dinner. The list of food vendors this year is good. They include Hound Dog Snackery, Garcia’s Latin Market, Old Goat Kettle Korn, Sandwich University, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dapper Dog Donuts, and Pyles of Pasta. A couple more will likely be added, we’re told.
The $35 ticket is a steal for a six-hour festival. There’s not a better beer festival deal in the state. Ticket includes a souvenir tasting glass and 4 oz. pours. The event goes off snow, rain or shine, but inside the community center, who cares what the weather is outside.
Merch vendors galore
This festival will have more merchandise vendors than you see at the typical beer festival. Festival organizer Kristina Szczyrbak worked hard to pull in a select group of merchandise. The line-up appears attractive.
“What I’m striving to do is mostly feature vendors that are offering local sourced or handmade products that are connected to West Virginia, beer culture, or Appalachian culture,” Szczyrbak said.
Some of those coming are Ole Tradition Soap Company, Gypsy Hollow, Full Circle Ceramic, Rustic Warrior Woodworking, Loving WV, Two Fat Cousins Barbecue Sauce, JP Owens Art, Hidden Treasures & Crafts, Ket Jewels, Stone Tower Joe, Simply Upcycled Crafts, and Classic Irish Imports. More vendors are expected.
WV Land Trust brings the water
West Virginia Land Trust is a festival sponsor that will be there to promote clean water and its importance to breweries. The group will be giving out free bottled water to festival attendees. Keep hydrated.
Benefitting Community Partners
Szczyrbak says that the festival helps out a group of nonprofits through its Community Partners program. This year’s community partners include Spark! Imagination Center, Solar United WV, and Friends of Cheat.
The festival venue sits a bit out on the edge of town, but Motown Taxi, as well as Uber and Lyft, can get you there from downtown and the residential areas. Several newer hotels are near the festival site. For those driving, plenty of free parking space surrounds the community center.
Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival
Ruby Community Center
111 Mylan Park Lane
February 10, 2018 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
$35 general admission