Riverbend Brew Fest showcases growing craft beer scene

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Wendi doing a small, independent beer tasting at Jalepenos in the Alley.

Does it seem like I’m always talking about beer? Because I think I’m always talking about beer. Not that I’m complaining!

The latest beer-centric activity on my radar is the Riverbend Brew Fest. As the name suggests, this is a celebration of beer, but also so much more than that. This is the fifth year for the event, and, as Alabama’s craft beer scene has grown, it has become a showcase for this growing industry.

“Obviously, there are a number of new breweries that have come into the state since the last Brewfest,” says Ken Reynolds, Retail Development Coordinator for the City of Montgomery. “I’m really excited because there has been a huge explosion and interest in craft beers and we’ve got a terrific lineup.” This includes:

Photo by Andrew Hawkins.

Alabama Beer

Yellowhammer – Huntsville
Black Warrior – Tuscaloosa
Rocket Republic – Madison
Railyard Brewing – Montgomery
Red Clay Brewing – Opelika
Goat Island – Cullman
Back Forty – Gadsden
Fairhope – Fairhope

Regional Beer

Southern Prohibition – Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Jekyll – Alpharetta, Georgia
Grayton – Grayton, Florida

New to Brew Fest for 2017

Mill Creek – Nolensville, Tennessee
Carson’ Brewery – Evansville, Indiana

“And more beer lists are still coming in every day,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to have a terrific representation of craft beers and also some international beers.”

The beer festival will feature any brew that has not been widely distributed and available in the market in the past 12 months. This provides an opportunity to showcase new beers coming in and allows existing breweries to introduce a new product into the market.

“These are very talented brewers and this gives them an opportunity to showcase what they are doing,” Reynolds said. “They’re getting very creative with how they’re brewing their beers and coming up with exciting taste profiles.”

Locals JD and Kristin Dillensnyder checking out Brew Fest last year.

In addition to the star of the show (beer!), Brew Fest also features live music, local food vendors. New to the festival this year is Sanctuary Cigars.

For the second year, Brew Fest will be held on Friday night, May 19, under the Union Station Train Shed behind the Montgomery Visitor Center. The event will take place from 6-9 p.m. and is open rain or shine. For a very nominal admission fee of $25 per person, attendees will be able to sample around 100 beers. This event is open to age 21 and older only.

Purchase tickets online.

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