Just a reminder, everyone: the Fourth Annual Riverside Craft Beer Festival presented by Rotary Club of Riverside returns to the Riverside Arts Market under the Fuller-Warren Bridge on Saturday, February 25. (See earlier preview story.) General fest hours are 4-7pm, with a one-hour early VIP entry beginning at 3pm. Tickets are still available online, and a limited number of additional VIP tickets have recently been released. Otherwise, tickets may be purchased at the gate on Saturday.
Look for a “more intimate” fest this year, according to Fest Director Matt McLauchlin. Because of the size of the Riverside Arts Market, the fest organizers focused on “aesthetics and logistics” by bringing the components of the fest closer together this year, while still allowing for a relaxed ambience with plenty of space to move around. The fest will feature a more formal entrance. Generally, breweries will be grouped by distributor and will serve beer under tents and via small distributor trucks and several brewery vans. Over 100 craft beers will be available from over 70 local, Florida, regional, national and international breweries. A brewery list can be found on the fest website. To help fest attendees sort through the many beers, a list of breweries and beers is expected to be available for patrons as they enter the fest.
Rather than a separate VIP area, the fest allows holders of VIP tickets access to beer sampling an throughout the fest an hour earlier than the general admission ticket. Many of the beers available at the early 3pm time will be “specialty” beers poured while supplies last. In other words, once those run out, they’re gone!
Music will be provided by Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, from 3-7pm. Food will be available for purchase on site from at least 10 local food trucks. The organizers also increased the number of tables and seating options this year, says Matt McLauchlin.
Proceeds from the event benefit Community Peds Care and the Riverside Rotary Foundation, which disburses funds to charitable causes. Last year, the fest raised roughly $95,000, and Rotary hopes to pass that figure this time around. This fest has become an “established event” throughout the beer industry and among the beer crowd, adds Matt, and it’s been “gaining interest over the years.” Fest organizers encourage everyone to try new beers and “enjoy Jacksonville.”
And, it should be a great day for doing just that! See you Saturday!
Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®
(cover photo by Linda Johnson)