More than 200 beers, 50 wines to taste at Roar Off the Shore Brewfest in Kewaunee County
LUXEMBURG – Roar Off the Shore Brewfest features more than 200 craft beers supplied by 50-plus breweries — including a handful of home brewers; more than 50 wines from six area wineries; and food from nine local vendors, ranging from cheese to bakery to barbecue.
If all that isn't enough, the drinking and eating is for good causes, too — raising funds for a number of local nonprofit organizations and events.
That's what drives the Kewaunee and Dyckesville Lions Clubs to present their hugely popular 13th-annual Roar Off the Shore Brewfest, taking place Saturday at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds.
The beer, wine and food bonanza is the main fundraiser each year for the two clubs and the programs they support. Like other teens, its growth has been noteworthy — it went from generating about $100 total in its first year about $10,000 for each club last year, said John Mastalir, treasurer for the Kewaunee Lions and the brewfest committee.
Yet, Roar Off the Shore might not have had the chance to grow. There were doubts about how well the event would work when it first was organized by the Kewaunee Lions.
"Kewaunee started it as a trial on a three-year basis," Mastalir said. "We had a bunch of young guys (join) and they said something that might go over is a brewfest. Lemme tell ya, I was one of those that was skeptical. There wasn't anything like that around here. We agreed as a club that we would stick with it for three years."
Originally held at Heritage Farm south of Kewaunee, the brewfest — called Roar On the Shore until the "On" changed to "Off" in 2017 — doubled its revenue from the first year to the second, to $200. The Dyckesville Lions took part with a food booth those years, but with the festival's growing popularity, the Kewaunee club decided to take on Dyckesville as a full partner for year three.
"After the second year, things started going better for the event, and (the Kewaunee Lions) didn't have the manpower," said Jeff Dorner, treasurer for the Dyckesville Lions. "So, they asked us to get involved."
Making their move
The venue also changed in their third year. Heritage Farm was able to host about 200 people, "and we just plumb ran out of room," Mastalir said, so the brewfest moved to what now is Lakehaven Hall in Kewaunee, which can hold about 500, and had more space for the brewers.
Good thing, too, because the event blossomed to take in about $1,000 that year.
But by 2012, with wineries and food vendors joining the breweries and the festival regularly testing the hall's pre-renovation capacity organizers were open to finding a larger space for the brewfest. Fortunately, the county completed its Exhibition Hall at the fairgrounds in Luxemburg, and the organizers were impressed.
"The year that the expo building was finished at the fairgrounds, the county came to us and said, why don't you come over here?" Mastalir said. "We went and took a look at it and said, holy wah!"
"Before (Lakehaven) was renovated, we needed to come and put up lights, needed to install port-a-potties," Dorner said. "When the fairgrounds building became available, there was no question what we should do. It's probably the biggest hall in Kewaunee County, it's open, it's airy, has nice facilities."
The move enabled Roar Of the Shore to admit more and more beer aficionados, as well as expand its offerings. Local brewers taking part include Ahanapee Brewing in Algoma and Thumb Knuckle Brewing Co. in Walhain, along with brewers from Door County and the Green Bay area, but they're joined by breweries from all across the state and the country.
And, Mastalir noted the home brewers might provide a look into the future for beer tasters — he said one that formerly took part in the brewfest returns this year as PetSkull Brewing, a brewpub in Manitowoc.
"In our last meeting, we had to say no to a couple of breweries that didn't reply soon enough and we had no room for them," Mastalir said. "This year will be the most (vendors) we've had."
Local wineries taking part are Parallel 44 in Kewaunee, Cold Country Vines and Wines in Carlton and von Stiehl in Algoma, with nearby Duck Creek Winery in Denmark also attending.
Putting together an event of this size doesn't happen overnight, of course. The planning committee of nine people traditionally meets about a week and a half after the festival each year to start planning the next one, Dorner said. It gets together once a month after that for the next four or five months, then twice a month until five weeks before the brewfest, after which it meets once a week the rest of the way.
"Everyone has their little piece of pie to take care of," Dorner said. "It all works together."
The funds go toward a variety of local programs. Dorner said the Dyckesville Lions have offered much of their portion of the revenues over the years for improvements to Red River County Park and its baseball field, this year adding fencing and a batting cage, as well as the Lions Club Park in the village.
Mastalir said the Kewaunee club uses its funds to back a number of organizations and projects around the city, including Special Olympics and a five-year improvement project at Bruemmer Park Zoo.
And, both contribute to local efforts for the Lions' national causes of blindness, vision and diabetes care.
"The nice thing is, much of the money raised stays right here," Mastalir said.
Roar Off the Shore Brewfest takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday in Exhibition Hall at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds, 625 Third St. Luxemburg.
Admission is $40 in advance, $45 at the door and includes beer, wine and food samples and a commemorative glass; $10 for designated drivers includes free soda throughout the event. All proceeds benefit programs supported by the Kewaunee and Dyckesville Lions Clubs.
Bus rides to and from the brewfest depart for the event at 1:30 p.m. from Ahnapee Brewing, then Steele Street Hops in Algoma; and from The Cannery in Green Bay; the Kewaunee bus is full.
All buses leave the event soon after it ends. Registration is required and an advance ticket or receipt for an online ticket purchase is required to board. The fee for the Green Bay bus is $5.
For tickets or more information, call 920-388-3553 or visit roarofftheshore.com; bus registration is under the "Tickets" tab. Tickets also are available at Ahnapee Brewery in Algoma, Bank of Luxemburg branch offices, Blue Water Services and Port O'Call restaurant in Kewaunee, Van's Lumber in Dyckesville and Lemhouse & Associates, LLC — American Family Insurance in Sturgeon Bay.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: More than 200 beers, 50 wines to taste at Roar Off the Shore Brewfest in Kewaunee County