April 18, 2013

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Craft beer will once again be making a name for itself in the city, this time during the inaugural Chattanooga Craft Beer Festival at the First Tennessee Pavilion on April 20.

The event will last from noon until 5 p.m. with a limit of 2,000 people for attendance.    “It’s not a drinking fest, it’s a tasting fest,” said Tony Giannasi, an organizer for the festival. “We’ll have one-ounce pours with waters on each table.”

For those of you who don’t know, craft beer is beer made from a small, independent regional breweries. Chattanooga is home to more than a few, including Chattanooga Brewing Company, Terminal Brewhouse, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, Moccasin Bend Brewing Company, Barley Mob  and McHale’s Brewhouse.

Giannasi said it’s going to be a whole new experience, with brewers trying to show off all the coolest things about different flavors of beer, or “all that weird stuff not typical of other beer festivals,” in his words. He said the wide variety of brewers at the festival will allow people to explore different types of beer.

“We want to raise people’s awareness to craft beers,” he said. “There’s a lot more than what you can see over the mountain.”

A number of breweries have signed on to the tasting event, including Jackalope Brewing, New Belgium, Sweetwater, Yazoo, Lazy Magnolia, Good People, Highland, Sierra Nevada, Schlafly, Starr Hill, Red Brick, Blue Pants, Brooklyn Calfkiller Brewing and many more.

Giannasi said one of the best parts about the festival is that guests get to enjoy different varieties of beer without traveling. He said some types of beer just aren’t available in Chattanooga so the Craft Beer Festival is the only way to try new flavors without having too far.

Giannasi mentioned Calfkiller of Sparta, Tenn., Rivertown from Cincinnati, and Turtle Anarchy of Franklin, Tenn., will be present at the festival, along with many other regional beers.

The Craft Beer Festival is the finale of Chattanooga Craft Beer Week. This week, Taco Mac featured a different cask beer each day and Straight to Ale beers will fully take over Brewhaus’ taps with a total of 12 beers. The Women in Craft Beer Event will be hosted by the Pink Boots Society at 212 Market Restaurant with female-owned and brewed Jackalope Brewing.

Tickets are $45 and include a six-ounce tulip tasting glass, drinking water, educational seminars and samples of all beers.

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