All About Beer magazine's World Beer Festival returns to Columbia, South Carolina, this coming Saturday, January 19th, and it isn't too late to get in on the action.
Tickets for the festival, this year in its fifth iteration at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, are still available for purchase. $40 will gain you entry into the festival, a souvenir 2-ounce sample glass, and unlimited samples of over 150 beers from breweries around the country and around the world. For an additional $45, VIP ticket holders will receive a commemorative glass and access to a special VIP hospitality area where they will find food, special beers not available to regular ticket holders, and a nice place to relax, in addition to access to the beer available to regular ticket holders. Tickets can be purchased here, and are sold separately for each session. The first session runs from noon to 4 pm; the second from 6 to 10 pm.
The festival generally includes three educational seminars on beer history, styles, tasting, etc., and I would expect this year to be no different. Things are changing from last year, though, as evidently there were insurmountable issues at the 2012 WBF that prompted All About Beer publisher Daniel Bradford to issue a formal statement to festival goers.
Special rates are available at the nearby Hilton Columbia Center, so festival goers should not be tempted to drink and drive. For those who leave the event feeling a little parched, though, there are several great beer bars in Columbia -- both the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium and World of Beer are about a block's walk from the convention center.
Hurry and purchase tickets before they all disappear -- this year's event is poised to be greater than the last! If you happen to run into me, be sure to say hello. And for those who have to miss out on the fun, I'll be providing a recap the following week.