This Sunday, January 19, marks the return of The Biggest Little Beer Fest, the annual craft beer festival hosted jointly by Barley’s and The Trappe Door in Greenville. For both returning and new attendees alike, the annual event is one of the burgeoning festivals in the Upstate, bringing together local, national and international breweries under one room (and spread out among three floors). If you’re heading to the festival this weekend and haven’t had a chance to attend before, here’s some helpful information.
The third-annual festival takes place over three levels: The lower and upper bars at Barley’s and downstairs in The Trappe Door. Barley’s will host all of the American breweries while The Trappe Door will focus on Belgian beers. One big draw of the festival is the variety of draft, bottle and cask offerings on hand, and the chance to sample beer from a number of different mediums. Both bars will be closed expect for festival attendees, so you won’t have a worry about the usual crowds. In total, there will be 40 breweries on hand and around 125 beers to sample. (Note: The only way to access Trappe Door is to exit Barley’s and walk to the entrance next door, so you’ll have to dispose of your drink however you see fit.)
Inside Barley’s, a who’s who of America’s top craft breweries will be on hand, many of whom will bring rare or exclusive beers you might not otherwise get to try. For example, Allagash will have Midnight Brett; Oskar Blues will have a version of G’Knight aged in chardonnay barrels; Jester King will bring three of its highly sought after farmhouse ales; and much more. Some of the breweries haven’t announced their drink lists yet, but expect some surprises. Down in The Trappe Door, you’ll be able to sample beers from Tilquin, N’ice, BFM, Hof Ten Dormaal, Vicaris and many more.
South Carolina beer will be well-represented also.
Seven Nine of the Palmetto State’s craft breweries will be on hand: COAST, Westbrook, Quest, Freehouse, RJ Rockers, Thomas Creek, River Dog, Brewery 85 and Holy City. Some SC breweries will be bringing well-known beers – Westbrook has Mexican Cake and Gozu, COAST has Smoked Red – but many will be tapping special offerings. Quest will have two bourbon barrel-aged beers: Kaldi Coffee Stout with blackberries and a BA version of Pecan Porter; Thomas Creek will be tapping 3 Beards, a new hoppy pale lager on track to become a spring seasonal; and RJ Rockers will have its new Hop Quake oatmeal IPA. Freehouse, which has been getting rave reviews from its Charleston base, will have Green Door IPA – a flagship – and Winter Brown Forgotten Port available. For many in the Upstate, this will be the first chance to try one of SC’s newest breweries. And Brewery 85 will preview some of their beers before opening to the public in February.
Aside from the draft and bottle options, three casks will also be on hand: Stone Ruination with peppers; Quest Ellida IPA with Pacific Jade hops; and Thomas Creek Up the Creek Extreme IPA with Granny Smith apples and cinnamon sticks. If you’re willing to shell out an additional $15 for VIP tickets, you’ll get access to six VIP-only beers, including Bell’s Black Note, Foothills 2008 Sexual Chocolate, River Dog Jack Daniels BA The Runt barleywine and more.
The festival runs from 2-6 PM on Sunday (VIPs get in an hour early). Tickets at $50 for regular admission and $65 for VIP. Having attended the inaugural festival, I can say it’s definitely one of the more unique and well-rounded beer events I’ve been to in the Upstate, and certainly worth checking out.
You can find out more information, see the full beer list and purchase tickets here.