Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Bay Area Craft Beer Festival on April 21st on Martinez waterfront

At Martinez' fourth Bay Area Craft Beer Festival this weekend, there will be more than 30 microbreweries pouring specialty brews and limited edition fermentations.

"It's focusing more on West Coast breweries," said Jason Petros, beer expert and spokesman for the festival. "There are a couple from Colorado; a lot from the Bay Area."

Stephen Lopas, owner of Ale Industries in Concord, is one of the many local breweries that will be pouring Saturday. Lopas said they will have a special brew for the occasion called Spring Fling. It's brewed with roasted coffee beans, mixed with chocolate from Rachel Dunn Chocolates, located around the corner from the Concord brewery.

"It's unique," he says. "It has an ice mocha flavor."

Ale Industries will also have their popular Orange Kush and Rye'd Piper. Rye'd Piper is a hoppy red beer with a touch of rye malt to complement its roasty-chocolate flavors. Lopas said it is available at Whole Foods and some local liquor stores.

Lost Coast of Eureka will again be pouring, but Bay Area Territorial Manager Jack Van Stone said they don't plan on having a special edition beer, but promise to have their favorite IPA (Indian Pale Ale) and Tangerine brew.

"It was great last year," Van Stone said of the festival, and he expects this year to be better with the move to Waterfront Park and the predicted good weather. If the weather turns bad, there will be tent coverage.

When Main Street Martinez held its first beer festival in October 2010, Lopas, who is on the beer fest board said, "It had a pretty good turnout."

He said the second one in March 2011 had nearly triple the turnout.

"It was much more than we expected, we were running out of beer early."

The same thing happened with the third one, so for this year, there are a limited number of tickets.

Main Street Martinez executive director Leanne Peterson said the change is to assure all attending there will be enough beer as well as to cordon off enough room to allow people to move about. She says 2,000 tickets have been printed up and are on sale for $35. If the event doesn't sell out Friday, tickets will be sold at the door, but will cost $45.

The cost of the ticket includes admission, a commemorative glass, unlimited tasting and entertainment.

In addition to the regular ticket, festival producers will sell a $5 "designated driver" ticket to those who are 21 and over wishing to attend the event, but not drink. Those purchasing this ticket do not get a glass and their wristband is a different color.

Peterson said security will closely monitor the pouring and drinking.

Along with the various breweries, including E.J. Phair Brewing Company, Creek Monkey Tap House, Drake's Brewing and Sierra Nevada, there will be food and live entertainment.

Martinez' own Garageland Rodeo will be up first followed by PUSH, featuring Dan Ashley, local anchor for Channel 7 News.

BART is running a free shuttle bus looping from the North Concord BART station at Highway 4 and Port Chicago Highway to Best Western John Muir Inn, 445 Muir Station Road, to the Martinez Amtrak station across from the festival.

Peterson said there will be two buses running about 30 minutes apart. There will be a stop at Main Street and Alhambra Avenue and possibly another added. The shuttles will run until 7 p.m. Best Western John Muir Inn is providing discounts to those booking rooms and attending the festival.

If all goes well, Peterson said there are plans for an October Brew Crawl on Main Street. Pours will take place inside participating downtown businesses.

If you go

What: Bay Area Craft Beer Festival
When: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Where: Waterfront Park, Martinez
Cost: $35 pre-sale or $45 at the gate. Includes unlimited tasting and commemorative glass. Also available $5 designated driver tickets, no tasting or commemorative glass.

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