Roar off the Shore Brewfest grows with increased attendance, vendors
LUXEMBURG – At a time when the big beer producers are reporting declines, craft breweries are tapping into a booming industry.
More than 1,000 craft beer fans had the opportunity to taste-test their favorites during Roar off the Shore Brewfest on March 24 at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg.
Ed Thiry of Thumb Knuckle Brewing Co. of nearby Walhain was reinventing customer favorite Gunmetal Porter with a special tapping that incorporated homemade maple syrup. The new brew was aged in oak whiskey barrels. The response was contagious.
“It was real nice. It was also good to see regulars, but many more here were just finding out about us,” said co-owner Thiry, who opened the brewery a year ago.
Thumb Knuckle was among 60 other beer vendors from across the state and the country tantalizing taste buds with stouts, ales, porters and lagers. They were joined by local wineries offering their best fruitful selections and a handful of eateries carrying signature fare.
The 12th annual event was hosted by the Kewaunee and Dyckesville Lions Clubs. As a result, the brewfest will financially benefit many organizations, eye banks, parks and individuals through the two clubs.
A few home-brewed crafters poured samples as well.
“I’ve been making beer since 1993,” said Rick Nelson of Kewaunee. After spending a year in England, he came back to the lakeshore with British ales which tend toward dessert beers. “Not so hoppy,” he said of his 10 gallons of New Year Pale and Decommissioned beer, named for the closed nuclear power plant in Carlton.
The $40 advance admission ($45 at the door) included a commemorative brewfest glass for the samples. Breweries poured a couple inches of each of their fermented beverages. Tasters could rinse their glasses with water before sampling another. A disc jockey kept the music lively.
“We increase (attendance) every year,” said event co-chairman Jeff Kohnle of the Kewaunee Lions Club. “Last year there was 850 people, and more than 1,000 attended this year. We are at capacity.”
The brewfest aims to offer a complete array of hospitality.Two safe-ride buses originated from Algoma and Kewaunee this year and Kohnle said the rides are looking to reach Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay next year.
“We do everything we can to enforce the designated driver incentives,” he assured.
Co-chair Jeff Dorner of the Dyckesville Lions Club said it’s the community that makes the brewfest one of the largest in Northeast Wisconsin.
“It is the camaraderie that we see and the comments we hear that keeps us going,” Dorner said. “All profits go back into the community.’’
“It is a lot of fun,” said taster Gary Denil of Forestville, who has attended all 12 years. “I’m partial to the Ahnapee Brewery (from Algoma) but like to try out the new flavored stouts.”
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Roar off the Shore Brewfest grows with increased attendance, vendors