Friday, August 17, 2012

Preview of MWBF 2012

Don't everybody thank me all at once.  I have a sneak peek at what is coming for the Midwest Brewers Fest in Plainfield, IL on Aug 25.  It's only 8 days away now and my excitement is pretty high!  Not only is it amazing craft beer festival, but the funds raised help to restore Plainfield Riverfront Park to its former glory.  Oh, did I mention that the very Riverfront they're raising funds for is where the park is held?  And that it also raises funds and awareness for "Pints for Prostates"?  I think that they're synopsis does a better job at capturing the basics:

"A Little bit about the Midwest Brewers Fest – is a true craft beer festival where you will find over 150 unique beers. Many of brew master’s and their staff will be on site to for you to directly interact and ask questions about your favorite brews. 

The event has three purposes. The first is to raise funds that will be used to restore the Plainfield Riverfront Park. The Riverfront Foundation plans are focused on a total restoration aimed at bringing people together ( ) so that generations to come can enjoy the scenic views and recreational amenities the park once held.  

The second is to benefits Pints for Prostates - a grassroots campaign that uses the universal language of beer to reach men with an important health message. Founded by prostate cancer survivor Rick Lyke in 2008, the campaign raises awareness among men about the need for regular health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising.  Pints for Prostates has registered as a 501(c)3 charity and 100% of all funds raised by the group go to fighting prostate cancer and assisting men with the disease.

The third is to introduce those not familiar to the art and craft of fine beer.

This event is 100% ran by over 350 volunteers and this year’s organizers are Rahul Wahi (President) and Chip Kahsen (VP) with other board members Kevin Herbst (Treasurer) and Ken McMullen (Board Member)."

First things first, if you haven't seen how awesome last year's fest was, then you really need to check it out.  Now, imagine that they actually plan on improving on it.  "How" you ask?  Let me tell you.

1.  The brewery list.  It's bigger than last year's.  Click here to check it out.  Most notable are the additions of Oskar Blues, Lagunitas, and Six Point!

2.  "Best of Midwest Brewers Fest" Craft Beer Competition - Marty Nachel will be conducting their 1st annual craft beer competition.  Marty Nachel is a craft beer celebrity!  He's been a BJCP since 1986 and recently was a finalist judge in Samuel Adams' "Longshot Homebrew" Competition.  Yeah, I think he's qualified.

Marty Nachel
3.  Food.  Last year, I was quite taken by Gilbert's Craft Sausages.  They're coming back.  Whole Foods was handing out free things dipped in chocolate.  They're also returning.  Plus 5 more food vendors!  One of which is Bigby's Pour House and the famous flatbread pizzas.  There's gonna be some good eats, kids.

A Gilbert's sausage.
4.  Music:  This year will have three bands and from what I can hear from the first two artists' websites, Beth Bombara and Overman, they both sound like just the right chill, Americana, acoustic tunes you want while sitting outside on a riverfront, drinking delicious beer, and having all sorts of good conversation.  The last band, The Jack Pines, plays much more driving music and adds a bit of blues to a rock-a-billy vibe.  Should be a good way to end the night.

5.  Extras:  Little things that definitely make the difference.  At this beer festival, that includes a bags (a.k.a. "cornhole") tournament, cigar booth, more brewmasters than I've ever seen in one place, PLENTY of rinsing stations, a really nice program for tasting notes, and lots of sweet merchandise.  Oh, did I mention homebrewing demonstrations, tons of volunteer pourers so you can actually talk with the brewmasters, and lots of local craft beer bloggers from Chicago and the surrounding area?  If you're part of the craft beer scene online (and if you're reading this, you're closer than you think), it's a real pleasure to meet some of these folks face-to-face.  Even if you're not part of the craft beer scene (online or otherwise), there will be a "Craft Beer 101" area hosted by the PALE Homebrew Club, so that folks can learn about craft beer.

6.  The grounds:  I know I already mentioned that the festival is being held on a back drop of the Dupage River and 80 acres of grassland.  This provides more niceties than one initially realizes.  Grass means plenty of places of sit or lie down.  Grass also means that you're not cooking on some blacktop or asphalt surface in the middle of summer.  The trees there equal plenty of shade should the sun show up the way it has been all summer.  Speaking of shade, even the tents are large enough where, last year, the first two to three people in line would actually be standing in shade while waiting for or receiving their beer.  Brilliant!

Still not sure you want to come?  OK, there's an after party and YOU'RE invited.  It's at the Tap House Grill across from the festival.  There may be a food and/or drink special from 6:00 pm til close.  Maybe.  You'll have to check to be sure, won't you?

I don't know what else to say!  If that doesn't convince you to find some tickets to this thing, I don't know what will.  If you still need tickets, you can save $10 by purchasing in advance here.  Needless to say, I highly recommend it.  See you there!

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