This Saturday, January 18, marks the return of All About Beer Magazine‘s World Beer Festival to Columbia. The sixth-annual festival returns once again to Columbia Convention Center for an all-day extravaganza covering macro, micro, local and international breweries.
While the festival has faced some criticism in the past for its disorganization and lack of local representation, organizers have said this year’s gathering should run much smoother than previous years. And, in a welcomed addition, South Carolina breweries will not only be represented in force, but will have an entire section of the convention floor dedicated solely to them.
If you plan on attending, here’s what you can look forward to from the Palmetto State.
Needless to say, there will be a wealth of choices for every attendee, whether this is your first beer festival or you’re back for the sixth year in a row. You can get a jump on planning your route by checking out the map and brewery list posted on the event’s website. You’ll notice that on the lower level of the convention center, South Carolina’s breweries will all be grouped together in one section, which makes drinking local even easier.
Ten SC breweries and one cidery will be present at the festival. A full list of all breweries and beers can be found here, but there are a few noteworthy additions to the lineup:
- Conquest – which made its debut at last year’s WBF – will be releasing Beer Fest Beer, a collaborative porter brewed with All About Beer staff members. The base 6% porter will be on tap, but also two variants voted on by tasters at a recent preview event, including chocolate and cherries.
- Following their expansion and return to production, COAST will be bringing back their HopArt IPA and 32/50 Kolsch, both of which have been sorely missed in the Capitol City.
- River Dog will have five casks set up at the Art of Beer Experience section: Chocolate Coconut Rye Porter, Chocolate Donut Rye Porter, Mango and Papaya IPA (dry-hopped with Mosaic), Serrano Pepper IPA and Koastal Kriek Cherry Sour.
- Windy Hill out of York will be pouring a few of its excellent ciders. If you’ve yet to try any of them or are hesitant toward ciders in general, give them a shot. They changed my opinion of ciders and they could do the same for you.
- Freehouse, Charleston’s newest brewery, will be pouring as well (namely their Ashley Farmhouse Ale, which I’m looking forward to trying).
- Columbia’s second production brewery, River Rat, won’t be pouring any beer (it’s still in production), but they will have a wealth of merch to purchase and the brewers will be on hand to talk about the upcoming opening and future of River Rat.
If you’ve been sitting on the fence about buying a ticket, they’re still available for both the afternoon (noon to 4 PM) and evening (6 to 10 PM) sessions. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $85 for VIP (which obviously comes with some added perks). You can buy tickets and learn more about the festival at the event webpage.