Home brew guru Papazian on tap

The Southeast Alaska State Fair’s 22nd Annual Great Alaska Craft Beer and Home Brew Festival is rolling out the red carpet this year for special guest Charlie Papazian, founder of the Association of Brewers and author of “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing.”
Papazian, a celebrity in the brewing world, will speak at Friday night’s Gourmet Brewer’s Dinner. The 80-seat event sold out in March, and will also feature Juneau musician and host personality Collette Costa as emcee.
Haines Brewing Company owner Paul Wheeler called Papazian’s book “the Bible on home brewing,” and said it helped start the whole craft beer industry.
“Anybody that is a home brewer most likely knows who this guy is,” Wheeler said.
The dinner, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday, will be prepared by Seattle chef Travis Kukull.  
Fair director Jessica Edwards said in addition to hosting a guest as noteworthy as Papazian, the tasting event from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday will also feature a new set-up to better spread out the more than 1,400 attendants.  
Last year, tents distributing beer lined both sides of the inside of Dalton City, causing massive congestion, while the area around the entrance and community garden was largely empty.
This year, tents will only line one side of Dalton City and the rest will wrap around the corner toward the community garden and entrance. “They are just going to go down one side this year so there aren’t those dueling lines,” Edwards said. “I think the layout this year will ease the traffic and congestion.”
Edwards is also bringing out the fair’s High Striker for fest-goers looking to show off their strength.
For the first time, the event will feature a simple game called “Smash,” where participants attempt to break glass bottles by throwing rocks at them. “We try to keep it fresh and keep it a little different,” Edwards said.
Equipment for a bean bag toss game will also be put out if the weather is nice, Edwards said.
Attendees can also expect to sample more beers than ever, Edwards said. Fourteen individual breweries will attend, and combined with distributors, about 50-60 beers will be available for tasting.
Anchorage’s Broken Tooth Brewing – of Moose’s Tooth and Bear Tooth fame – will be sending a representative for the first time in the event’s history, Edwards said. “They have sent beer before, but they haven’t been able to attend in the past.”
Nationally-ranked beer judge Rob Miller is once again heading up the Home Brew Competition. Entries will be judged Friday, and winners will be announced Saturday.
Those looking to preemptively offset the calories of four hours of beer-drinking can attend the Slammin’ Salmon 5K walk/run or 10K run at 9 a.m. Saturday. The $10 entry fee includes an event t-shirt.
The 10K route runs around the fairgrounds, down Haines Highway, around the Mud Bay Road/Small Tracts Road loop, and back to the fair.

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