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Brew Fest brings changes
All-indoor setting, food trucks are among tweaks to this year’s edition

A BIT OF meteorological serendipity is responsible for a big change in this year’s Savannah Craft Brew Fest.

Inclement weather at last year’s edition forced all the usual outdoor beer tents and entertainment inside the Trade Center.

“We found out that people actually liked that better,” says event organizer Alex Colee of Red Mountain Entertainment.

“It’s usually really hot in Savannah over Labor Day weekend, and last year people could stay out of the heat. They said it felt like a more together, communal event. Also, it’s a lot easier on our volunteers not to have to work in that heat all day long,” Colee says.

However, you won’t be shut inside – you can still ramble the riverfront with your beer sampling glass in hand.

And while you’re outside you can enjoy the other big new addition to the Craft Brew Fest – food trucks.

“In surveys of attendees, one of the big things people suggested was adding food trucks,” Colee says.

There will be three at the Trade Center: Dark Shark Taco, Chazito’s, and the Squeaky Beaver.

“So we’ll have the actual event, with all the beer tastings, indoors, and the food trucks will be outside with seating,” Colee says.

A lot has changed in the craft beer world since the first Savannah Craft Brew Fest. Not only is there a huge proliferation of breweries – in some estimations glutting the market – but big breweries are now swallowing up many of the most successful ones.

“We see these changes in every market we go to,” says Colee, whose company runs many similar events throughout the South. “We try to include everybody, and really shine a light on the smaller breweries that are the heart of the craft beer movement.”

One of those larger national breweries, Sam Adams, actually has a long relationship with the Savannah Craft Brew Fest going back to day one.

“Sam Adams was at the forefront of the craft beer revolution,” Colee says. “They will be holding their Brew University again this year.”

In years past, the Brew Fest has tried to appeal to college football fans, who might be drawn to season opener games going on Labor Day weekend.

“Foothills Brewing and Terrapin Brewing will be sponsoring our sports bar area,” Colee says. “The Georgia Bulldogs actually don’t play until after the Brew Fest is over, but we’ll have all the other games streaming for folks to watch.”

VIP ticket holders will enjoy catering delights provided in full by BowTie Barbecue, a local establishment that is getting rave reviews.

“BowTie is doing all the food in our VIP area, and they’ll have wings, pork sliders, boiled peanuts, and even some green apple cole slaw!” says Colee.