Fun Brewhaha

The Anderson Recycling Center will be transformed into the destination for Anderson craft beer lovers this weekend as the city’s first craft beer festival returns for its second year. The Carolina BrewHaHa will host several craft brewers from across the country, who will come equipped with proven beers, seasonal offerings and special surprises. The ticket price will afford attendees the opportunity to try it all.

What: Carolina BrewHaHaWhen: 2 p.m. Saturday (1 p.m. for VIP ticket holders)Where: Anderson County Recycling Center, 3024 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., AndersonWebsite: www.carolinabrewhaha.comCost: $40 advance/$45 at the door/$10 for designated drivers; $55 advance VIP tickets/$60 at the door

Stella Grove, co-founder of the Carolina BrewHaHa, said she and the other organizers didn’t see any real missteps in the first festival, so much as they saw opportunities for improvement going forward. With the help of title sponsor Thomas Creek Brewery and presenting sponsors Anderson Bine and Vine and Angell Bros. Catering, the organizers took great care in picking this weekend for the festival so as to not be derailed by football or other festivals’ schedules. But more than anything they’ve focused on making the festival as inviting to the brewers as to the ticket holders.
“We’ve set up hotels for the brewers and are catering an event as a thank you to them before the festival begins,” Grove said. “We want to encourage camaraderie between brewers, which will only improve the festival for everyone.”
The event once again will offer VIP tickets, allowing entry to the festival an hour early. VIP ticket holders also will have access to some rare beers from Clemson’s Wall of Beer in the VIP covered pavilion. These beers include New Belgium’s La Folie 2014, RJ Rockers Peachy King, Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, Anderson Valley Brewing’s Kimmie, The Yink and the Holy Gose and more. The pourers from Wall of Beer will offer samples of those beers as well as mixed samples that will create new flavors many never have thought of.
General admission ticket holders certainly won’t have a shortage of beers to sample. Grove said the festival has added 13 new breweries into the mix over last year, some of which are breweries that are just getting a foothold in the area, such as Charleston-based Frothy Beard and Burial Beer out of Asheville, North Carolina. Grove said it has been exciting to see just how much the festival and beer makers have grown over the last year.
“Keston Helfrich attended last year’s BrewHaHa as a home brewer,” she said, “but this time around he will be representing his own emerging brewery, Carolina Bauernhaus.”
It only makes sense that home brewers would flock to the BrewHaHa, and many local clubs will be in attendance. There will be a home-brew demo at the festival for those interested in brewing their own beer, and the beer brewed last year will be available for sampling. After taking notes at other beer festivals, Grove wants the BrewHaHa to be an event focused on beer education, not just beer consumption.
She said that 23 of the 27 breweries attending will have representatives from the brewery on hand while the other four will be offered by volunteers with close knowledge of the breweries they are pouring.
This is part of the reason the organizers decided to cut the event’s music sets down to an hour per band so that a little more than half of the event will include music. Although Grove emphasizes that Padenrich Station, Peartree Music Company and the Kelly Jo Connect will certainly add to the festival and atmosphere, the organizers want attendees to be able to talk to brewery reps without shouting over music.
It’s not that the organizers don’t want the event to grow. Grove admits that the event can always get “a little bigger,” but they’re enjoying the size of the festival now and the fact that people don’t feel forced to swarm beer tents or jump mindlessly from line to line.
“We don’t want the event to outgrow itself or its community,” Grove said. “It’s about fostering relationships so that brewers can connect with customers in a meaningful way.”
Thomas Creek Brewery
Quest Brewing Co.
Terrapin Beer Co.
Brewery 85
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Samuel Adams
Foothills Craft Brews
Frothy Beard Brewing Company
Carolina Bauernhaus Ales
Evil Twin Brewing
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
River Rat Brewery
RJ Rockers Brewing Co.
Conquest Brewing Company
Stone Brewing Co.
Burial Beer Co.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
The Railhouse Brewery
SweetWater Brewing Company
Palmetto Brewing Company
Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.
Oskar Blues
Abita Brewing Co.
Highland Brewing Company
Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales
SouthYeast Labs
Swamp Rabbit Brewery
Just Brew It Anderson
Clemson Brew Crew
Upstate Brewtopians

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