STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Philly Beer Scene Magazine nominated it for “Best Beer Festival.” That’s how popular it’s become.
“We’re one of the few suburban festivals recognized by them,” commented Lansdale Borough Council Vice-President Ray Liberto, adding that the Lansdale Beer Tasting Festival (LBTF) was recently voted “Best Summer Event” by MontcoHappeningMag.com.
The sixth annual LBTF will run 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday June 27, with a grand total of close to 300 beers by 100 regional and national brewers, food and live music. You can track what breweries are going to be there at www.lansdalebeerfest.com.
“What I enjoy are the local guys,” said the festival’s president, Drew Stockmal, naming Round Guys Brewing Co. in Lansdale, Free Will Brewing Co. in Perkasie and Prism Brewing Co. in Upper Gwynedd.
Discerning beer drinkers will be eyeing up the VIP ticket option, which allows early access at noon to the big tent in the area of the Madison lot; as well as the Brewmaster Series event, also held under the tent, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday June 26.
Now in its third year of offering a more in-depth tasting experience, the Brewmaster Series starts the festival early and offers the chance to sample hard-to-find and one-off, small-batch “scratch” beers coveted by connoisseurs, along with tutored food pairings from the Blue Dog Pub, which also prepares food for the VIP ticket holders during the main festival.
Held just a few weeks after the conclusion of Philly Beer Week, Stockmal said that they have no idea what those special brews will be until the Philly Beer Week taps are closed. “A lot of breweries brew special batches just for that week, and we get the leftovers,” he said. “The beer geeks out there, they’re going to love the kinds of beers we bring.”
As for the LBTF VIP tickets, an important perk of paying that little extra, Liberto said, is “there’s no waiting in line.”
“We always sell a thousand VIP tickets,” he said.
Overall ticket sales for last year’s festival numbered between 3,300 and 3,400, according to Stockmal.
An event produced by the Lansdale Area Fundraising Society, Liberto said that over the past five years, more than $200,000 has been raised for local charities.
“Our bylaws state that we do our best to keep it in the community,” he said, naming Manna on Main Street, the Lansdale Public Library, Laurel House and North Penn Valley Boys & Girls Club among the nonprofits they have supported.
Stockmal said that contributions have also been made to Operation Enduring Warrior, Almost Home Dog Rescue, Lansdale Little League, North Penn Dragons Lacrosse, Lansdale Frogs Swim and Dive Team and the Variety Club Camp.
Here are some important festival dos and don’ts:
If you want to attend the Brewmaster Series, or get the VIP treatment, do buy your tickets before the day of the event to avoid disappointment.
Do arrive early to have your tickets scanned and get your bracelet.
Don’t show up without your ticket or ID that says you’re at least 21 years old.
Don’t bring children or pets.
If you realize that you can’t attend, do give your tickets to somebody. Tickets are transferable, but non-refundable. Fully tented, the festival is held rain or shine.
Be aware that for safety’s sake, all people, bags and packages are subject to search before entering the event.
Do drink responsibly and keep your cool. Malicious, violent or otherwise inappropriate behavior will be removed from the festival grounds without refund.
One option to participate is to volunteer. Do email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
IF YOU GO
What: Lansdale Beer Tasting Festival.
When: June 26-27.
Where: West Second and Wood streets, near Lansdale Borough’s Madison Lot.
Tickets: $130 for a Brewmaster/VIP two-day bundle, $65 for the June 26 Brewmaster Session, $25 for designated drivers to attend the Brewmaster Session, $75 for VIP tickets, $20 for designated drivers for the VIP Session, $45 general admission, $10 for designated drivers during the general admission hours.
Info.: Visit www.lansdalebeerfest.com or www.facebook.com/LansdaleBeerTastingFestival. On Twitter @LansdaleBTF.