A-Festing We Will Go

Last weekend, Parkville Microfest officially launched Kansas City into beer festival season. However, as we move forward into Spring and Summer, it's important to remember that opportunities for beer festivals don't just lie in the center of town. There are plenty of upcoming festivals in areas that may be outside your usual stomping grounds, or make for an easy day/weekend trip. Here's a list of some of the upcoming regional beer festivals you may want to keep on your radar, including the usual local suspects. 

May 3rd-4th - St. Louis Microfest - St. Louis, MO

Given how quickly this one is approaching, it may be hard to pull off for some, but those that have a free weekend may want to gas up and make the trip down I-70 to St. Louis for Microfest. Though many of the participating breweries are ones you'd see at festivals here in KC, you'll also get the opportunity to try beer from a number of recently opened and soon-to-open breweries in St. Louis, like Alpha Brewing Company, Heavy Riff Brewing, and Scratch Brewing Company. Tickets to the festival are available in various sessions over the weekend, so check out that information as well as the full list of participating breweries and other details on the STL Microfest website below.

Cost: $30-54, depending on session time and GA vs VIP

May 18th - HopFest - Kansas City, MO (The Well Parking Lot)

HopFest is back for the third year in a row, giving us a festival with over 50 breweries pouring plus the second year of the HopFest Homebrewing Competition. There will also be a number of notable speakers at the festival, including John McDonald and Steven Pauwels from Boulevard, and brewers from Free State, Mother's, Tallgrass and Samuel Adams. At the bottom of this post is a flyer with some of the participating breweries listed and other festival details. 

Cost: $35 General Admission, $55 VIP

Central States Beverage on Facebook (likely the best place for updates/details)

May 18th - Mother's Day Festival - Springfield, MO

Maybe not so much a festival as it is an amped backyard party, Mother's Brewing Company will ring in their third anniversary on the same day as HopFest. The event, located at the brewery, will highlight local beer, music, food and art. Mother's will be releasing their anniversary beer, Love Factory, which will only be available at the Mother's Day Festival. Though the details behind Love Factory are mostly a mystery, the label shows that it will be in 22 ounce bottles, ringing in at 10.5% ABV and 50 IBUs. If the quality of the beer is anything like some of their recent limited releases (MILF, Single Barrel Foggy Notion), I'm sure it will be excellent. Plus, after the Mother's Day Festival, the brewery will throw an after party at nearby Patton Alley Pub with an event they are calling "The Mother of All Tap Takeovers."

Cost: $5 at the gate, kids 15 and under get in free

Mother's Day Festival website

June 7th-8th - Omaha Beer Fest - Omaha, NE

The third annual Omaha Beer Fest offers up two days worth of beer tasting and educational Beer Academy sessions. Nebraska has seen a bit of a boom in breweries over the past couple years, and Omaha Beer Fest will give you the chance to try beers from some of these new names like Benson Brewery (Omaha), Infusion Brewing (Omaha), and Zipline Brewing (Lincoln) among many others. 

Cost: $30 Advance General Admission ($35 at door), $50 Advance VIP ($60 at door) *note that ticket prices are per day*

June 15th - BeerKC Summer Beer Festival - Kansas City, MO (Penn. Ave, in front of McCoy's)

Presented by Sporting KC and benefiting AIDS Walk Kansas City, BeerKC's Summer Beer Festival is returning this year with over 30 breweries from around the world pouring lighter, thirst-quenching styles that are perfect for the summer heat. Plus, many of the brewers and brewery reps will be on hand to answer your questions about their creations.

Cost: $25 in advance, $30 at the door

June 22nd - KC Real Ale Fest - Lee's Summit, MO (The Shops at Longview)

KC Real Ale Fest is a new addition to the Kansas City beer festival lineup, but certainly sounds like it will be an interesting one. Obviously, given the name, one of the main focuses of the beer festival will be celebrating cask beer. Right now, a number of breweries have committed to bringing casks to the festival, including Green Flash, Southern Tier, Perennial, Empyrean and Summit. In addition to the casks that are available, there will also be breweries pouring bottles (Boulevard, for example), and a block party later in the afternoon.

Cost: $15 General Admission, $25 VIP

KC Real Ale Fest website

July 13th - Beertopia Sunfest - Omaha, NE

Stopping at Beertopia, Omaha's original craft beer bottle shop, is always an agenda item for me when I make visits up to Omaha. Their Sunfest has been around for 6 years, and when I've attended in the past, it has been a great time. Sunfest is held at Beer Corner, where Beertopia is located along with Crescent Moon Alehouse, Huber Haus German Bier Hall and Max & Joe's Belgian Beer Tavern. For those that want to make a beer road trip and not worry about any driving once they get to their destination, this is the perfect setup because you can easily move from festival to bar, and then stop at the bottle shop to purchase your haul to take back home. The full list of breweries is available on the Sunfest website below.

Cost: $27 in advance, $32 at the door

August 24th - Great Nebraska Beer Fest - Papillion, NE

Great Nebraska Beer Fest may be the king of Omaha area beer festivals. I talked about the festival last year and how Nebraska Brewing Company's Paul Kavulak was able to persuade the Nebraska legislature to allow for temporary brewery licenses. This allows for out-of-market breweries to send beer to the festival for pouring. Last year saw a presence from breweries like Cigar City, Victory and Crooked Stave, among others. Though no big reveals have been made yet for this year's festival, I think it's a safe bet that there will be some exciting stuff available.

Cost: $40 General Admission, $60 VIP

Fall 2013 - Northtowne Brewfest - North Kansas City, MO

Unfortunately, I really can't tell you much of anything about this festival just yet. When I visited Cinder Block recently, brewer and founder Bryce Schaffter hinted that it was being developed, and a Facebook page recently went live for the event. Beyond that, though, there's really no information to pass along. However, with the upcoming openings of both Big Rip and Cinder Block in North Kansas City, there will certainly be plenty to celebrate, and what better way to do it than with another beer festival? Stay tuned.


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