Community Tap, Barley’s Ready Upstate Beer Festivals

In case you missed that whole midnight countdown thing a few evenings ago, it’s a brand new year, which means brand new opportunities to expand your palate and wreck your liver at a whole slew of beer festivals. For South Carolinians, there are plenty coming up in the next few months, with the World Beer Festival in Columbia just a few short weeks away on Jan. 19 and the 10,000-pound gorilla of S.C. beer festivals – Brewvival – on Saturday, Feb. 23.

South Carolina’s Upstate will host two festivals during the first half of this year: a returning festival that was the sleeper hit of last year for me and an inaugural festival by one of the region’s best beer stores, and one which has a lot of promise.

Barley’s/The Trappe Door’s Biggest Little Beer Fest – Sunday, Jan. 20

biggestlittleI happened to stumble upon the announcement for last year’s inaugural Biggest Little Beer Fest in Greenville about a week before it went down. The pitch was enticing enough: both floors of Barley’s restaurant would pour domestic craft beers from a variety of taps, bottle, casks and Randalls while downstairs in The Trappe Door – a Belgian beer bar situated beneath Barley’s – would host strictly imported Belgian beers. For the price tickets were being sold for – even VIP tickets, which got you in an hour early – and the lineup of breweries, there were more than enough reasons to make the trip up to Greenville for the day.

The festival is returning for a second go-around on Jan. 20, the day before the WBF hits Columbia. Ticket prices are a bit higher this year – $40 for regular admission, $60 for VIP – but the list of beers is worth the price of admission.

From the looks of things, VIP ticket holders will get to enjoy Founders’ Canadian Breakfast Stout, North Coast’s 2006 Old Stock and Foothills’ Bourbon Barrel-aged People’s Porter. Plebian regular ticket holders will have to suffice with drinking Ballast Point Victory at Sea, a cask of Stone’s Double Dry-hopped Arrogant Bastard and the 2011 versions of Great Divide’s Old Ruffian, Yeti and Belgian Yeti, among all the other great beers on deck.

I, unfortunately, will not make it out for this year’s festival. My schedule of festivals and other events is filling up, and my bank account subsequently emptying. But I highly recommend going if you’re looking for a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And with the MLK Day holiday the next day, you’ll have plenty of time to recoup.

For the full beer list, more details and to purchase tickets, click here.

Community Tap Craft Beer Festival – Saturday, April 13

TCTNew this year is the inaugural beer festival created and hosted by The Community Tap, another Greenville-based beer institution. The beer and wine store has made quite the group of friends in the few years of existence, and they’ve invited a few of them to come play at the Lawkin’s Saw Mill on April 13.

This being the first year, TCT doesn’t want to overwhelm themselves, so they’re limiting tickets to 400 for $50 a pop. The festival will focus on “small batch beers, funky seasonals and one-off selections from each brewery,” according to the event website.

Those breweries include all the major SC players – Westbrook, Coast, Holy City, Thomas Creek, RJ Rockers – and a mighty fine who’s who of regional and nationwide breweries including Anderson Valley, Highland, Green Flash, Oskar Blues and plenty more. Three importers will also be on hand, each with their own impressive catalogues.

There aren’t a whole lot of details out there about the festival yet – it is more than four months away, after all – but looking at the brewery list, the limited number of tickets and knowing TCT’s desire to make a statement right out of the gate, I have a feeling they’re planning something people will be talking about.

At least, I hope it will be, seeing as how I bought my tickets the minute they want on sale a few weeks ago. But I get the feeling I won’t be disappointed.

Everything you need to know about the festival can be found here.

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