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Crafting a Craft Brew Fest
Tim Rutherford
The 2010 Savannah Craft Brew Fest takes place Sept. 3 and 4

It has been both a pleasure and an honor to chair the Savannah Craft Brew fest since its founding just three short Labor Days ago.

The project of the Savannah Convention and Visitors Bureau was a huge leap of faith back in 2008. No one knew what to expect, but more than 1,200 die–hard craft beer fans showed up for the fun.

We’ve tweaked events, added honest–to–goodness corporate sponsors and sill remain true to the path we set then – to celebrate the hard–working men and women of the craft brewing industry.

The 2010 edition is, as we say, bigger and better.

We anticipate 3,000 craft brew fans will fill the esplanade of the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center on Saturday, Sept. 4, for the Grand Tasting, a sampling of more than 135 beers from nearly 40  breweries. Food concessions, shady, misted tents and souvenirs will be available.

For a downsized version of the tasting, Friday night offers a well–designed Caribbean influenced–menu of casual food paired with beers from Asheville, NC, Highland Brewing Co. There’s method to that madness – Highland CEO and  founder Oscar Wong will be presented with the Fest’s inaugural Craft Beer Pioneer award. Wong will speak about Highland on Saturday at 2 p.m. Admission is free with your tasting pass. There will be live music at both events.

And as exciting as the fest itself is, we’re joined by more community partners this year. The Westin Savannah Harbor is hosting Brews ‘n’ Booms on Friday night after the dinner. The poolside event will showcase stunning desserts prepared by the Westin staff – and participants will have a ringside seat for the Savannah Waterfront Association’s First Friday fireworks show.

Golfers can take part in a scramble tournament Friday. The noon shotgun start will include in its $75 per person fee beer from Savannah Distributing Co. and food from Roger Wood sausage.

And, Saturday morning, the Westin will host its own craft beer forum with a Katie Barnes, marketing manager for Thomas Creek Brewery of South Carolina.

Lastly, The Distillery, the city’s foremost craft beer bar, will feature four consecutive nights of specials and special guests, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 1.

What can beer drinkers expect to taste at the fest that’s new...or pretty new? Kind Beer will be on hand with a Pale Ale and Abbey style Red Ale. Sand Francisco brewery 21st Amendment will pour its watermelon wheat, IPA and black IPA – as well as new label Hop Crisis.

Perennial favorites from New Belgium (Fat Tire) and Magic Hat (No. 9) are sure to be crowd pleasers. Flying Dog will pour four brands – including its new Raging Bitch Belgian IPA – and joins Georgia Crown Distributing sister brand Brooklyn, the parent of popular labels Local 1, a lager, a brown ale and Brooklyn Brewery Summer Ale.

I’m anxious to sample four labels from new Southern Eagle Distributing brand Southern Tier and beers from Dundee Ales and Lagers –  Honey Brown and Honey Brown IPA.

Of course, there will plenty of familiar faces, including Brewmaster John Pinkerton with several of his brands from Moon Rover Brewing Co. His former assistant, Chris Lady, is back in town as Jack of all trades for Kentucky Ales. Of course, good friends from Georgia–based Terrapin, Sweetwater and O’Dempsey will be present, too.

The list goes on...I hope to see you there!

For full details, to purchase tickets or to learn more visit