Story last updated at 9/12/2012 - 2:19 pm
Alaska's brewing up some good taps and two Juneau organizations want to celebrate and fundraise - so on Saturday, September 15, they're holding the first Capital Brewfest.
Juneau Rotary Club member Andy Mills, co-chairman of the event, is enthusiastic about the event.
He and his fiancée, Cori Badgley, attended the California Bewers Festival in Sacramento, which is hosted by a Rotary Club in California.
"It was such a good fundraiser for charity and it was a lot of fun to put on," Mills said. "When Cori and I both got home we were talking about getting one started in Juneau. She co-chaired the event down there. We felt we had enough of a grounding to translate up here. Everyone seemed really enthusiastic."
At the same time, Southeast Alaska Guidance Association (SAGA), was also planning to a have a brewfest. Mills said due to a federal funding shortfall, SAGA was looking for good fundraiser.
"We didn't want to do a competing event or second event so we joined forces," Mills said. "That was three months ago."
Both Rotary and SAGA are the primary beneficiaries of the event. Mills said SAGA wants to use their proceeds to further AmeriCorps and serving SAGA's mission, and Rotary will use funds to support local scholarships, community projects and international projects. He said the local project Rotary is wrapping up now is building a greenhouse at the Lemon Creek Correctional Facility.
Capital Brewfest is from 1-5 p.m. (with the last pour at 4:50 p.m.) on Sept. 15 at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
Planning has been a bit of a whirlwind, as they've only been doing so for about three months. Mills said normally people take about a year to plan an event like this.
"It's come together so wonderfully," he said. "We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 breweries that are going to pour a beer."
There also will be three distributors, pouring beer from all over.
"The brewers specifically will be pouring tap," Mills said. "All the brewers, if I remember correctly, are all Alaskan."
The distributors will be pouring from bottles, and includes gluten-free and hard cider options.
"There's even a weird one - banana bread," Mills said.
Event tickets are $25, or $5 for a designated driver ticket. With the event ticket, a person gets 10 tokens. A token is presented to a brewer or distributor for a "pour" of beer. Extra tokens will be available for purchase.
Fire on McGinnis, an Irish/Celtic rock band, and C. Scott Fry, a blue musician, will be playing at Capital Brewfest. Spinning Pig, Bernadette's and a yet-to-be-decided third food vendor will be cooking up some barbecue as well.
Mills said they've found it to be "immensely successful" to offer a designated driver ticket - not only for the safe drinking aspect, but also for people who don't like beer to still come and enjoy the festivities.
"Some people don't like beer, and that's understandable," Mills said.
Mills, however, is not one of those people.
He recently bought all the equipment to start homebrewing, and is excited about getting started.
"It looks like a lot of fun with experimentation," he said. "It's part chemistry, part cooking. It's an interesting art."
Juneau has a strong homebrew community, Mills said, and organizers have been working with homebrewers to get their input on the brewfest.
"They'd like to have more time to brew before we do any judging," he said. "Next year, we'll have a judging event. I believe quite a few will attend because they're brew enthusiasts."
Mills is also pleased with the variety of Alaska breweries participating.
"We love that there's such a successful brewery in town, but there are so many other wonderful breweries in the state," Mills said. "It's fun to see how (brewing in Alaska) has matured."
While this year is the kick-off year, Mills said they will be looking for feedback on what people want in a brewfest.
"In future years we'll look to make it bigger and evolve it," he said.
For more information or for tickets, see www.capbrewfest.com.
Sarah Day is the editor of Capital City Weekly. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.