Summer can be a lonely time for festival goers in Acadiana. Downtown Alive takes a break from the heat and most festivals won't get kicked off until early fall when its more "hospitable". But there is one festival you can count on for a "cool" time this July: Gulf Brew 2010.
Gulf Brew 2010 is a local beer festival with proceeds going to support the Acadiana Center for the Arts. They use the money to support their "Arts in Education program". The program "provides tools for educators and arts experiences for students and the community throughout the year." The AcA does much more for arts in Acadiana. Check out their website, and better yet, become a member or volunteer your time to this fine organization.
Gulf Brew 2010 will be held Saturday, July 24, 2010 6-10p.m. Parc International, Downtown Lafayette. Gulf Brew showcases some of the finest beer in the Gulf South. Brewers and distributors will be on hand under air conditioned tents to present their wares. One ticket ($25 for Tasters, and $15 for Non-Tasters) will get you in the door and you can taste as much beer as you want. Enjoy a great selection of beers from around the country as well as the South. Some notable beers you should try are: Brooklyn Lager (one of my favorites), Stone's Arrogant Bastard and Ruination IPA, Harpoon and Brooklyn's Summer Ales, and many many others. I haven't seen a list of local or regional breweries in attendance, but it's a sure bet that Parish Brewing Company, Bayou Teche Brewery, Heiner Brau Brewery, Covington Brewhouse, and Lazy Magnolia will be there to present tasters with some of the finest beers anywhere.
From the website of AcA, here are some tips to make this year's Gulf Brew a safe and enjoyable time for all:
- Buy your tickets early. Gulf Brew is likely to sell out so buy your tickets early to ensure that you can attend.
- Designate a driver. With so many beers to taste and so little time, make sure you have a safe option for getting home. Bring a non-drinking friend to do the driving or plan on taking a taxi or other public transportation.
- Drink responsibly. There’s a reason Gulf Brew uses small sampling cups: so that attendees can enjoy a number of samples of a variety of styles of beer responsibly. Don’t try to sample every beer at the festival; rather pick some you’re interested in or have never tried before that you’d like to taste. Gulf Brew encourages responsible drinking and will refuse alcohol to individuals who are obviously intoxicated. For the safety of yourself and others, know your limit and refrain from overindulging.
- Drink lots of Water. Drinking alcohol dehydrates your body, which can make you feel pretty bad. Drink lots of water to help detoxify and keep you hydrated. Gulf Brew will have water available for free around the parc courtesy of Cooler Talk so everyone can hydrate.
- Appreciate the beer you’re drinking. Take time to really taste each beer. Note the color, smell and taste. Try to pick out the individual flavors in the beer. You might taste grapefruitty bitterness or chocolatey sweetness or any number of other flavors. Notice how one style differs from another. You might even want to circle the types of beer you like in your Brew Book and make notes so you’ll remember to buy it later. Appreciating craft beer is what beer festivals are all about.
- Be patient. Beer festivals can get crowded. You will likely have to wait in lines to get some beers. Be patient, courteous and have fun.
- Dress accordingly. Beer festivals are pretty causal events. You’ll want to wear comfortable clothing. Check the weather in advance and wear sunscreen and/or rain gear if the forecast calls for it.
To learn all about beer, you have time to get this book from Randy Mosher called Tasting Beer-An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drinlk. It is written in layman's terms and is the first comprehensive book on tasting, appreciating, and understanding the fine world of craft beers. Or, check out this page on my website about Evaluating Beer. No matter what your level of expertise, there will be lots of knowledgeable brewers and homebrewers as well as distributors around to answer all your questions.
Speaking of homebrewers, one of the highlights of the festival will be the beers made by award-winning homebrewers from right here in Acadiana. Last year we served over 125 gallons of homebrewed ambrosia and this year looks to be even better. Some beers we served last year included a Tabasco Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Irish Red, Kentucky Common, and an Apple Cider. Be sure to stop by the Dead Yeast Society's tent and taste some of the best beer you will ever experience. There should be a homebrewing demonstration as well as lots of friendly homebrewers that love to talk about everything "Beer", including how you can become a member of The Dead Yeast Society and how you can make your own beer. For those interested in homebrewing, check out my website as well.
Hurry and get your tickets early before the event is sold out.
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