Coolest Beer Festival Around!7/13/2016
Indoor air conditioned venue, unlimited beer samples, food vendors and live music take Des Moines’ original beer festival to a new level.
Cityview’s annual Summer Brewfest returns this Saturday, July 16 with unlimited beer samples, an assortment of food options, live music, and, for the first time ever, the climate-controlled environment of 7 Flags Event Center at 2100 N.W. 100th St. in Clive.
The area’s “Original Beer Festival” will take place from 4-7 p.m., with VIP ticket holders gaining early entrance beginning at 3 p.m.
This is the 10th consecutive year for Cityview’s Brewfest, which has become one of the most recognized beer festivals in Iowa. But this year, some upgrades have been made to make the event an even bigger success.
Gone are weather forecast worries and squinting at the horizon for storm clouds. It’s no longer important if the heavens unleash a torrent of rain or the scorching sunshine brings about oppressive humidity and heat. No matter what the weather does, the atmosphere inside the climate-controlled confines of 7 Flags Event Center will be the same: cool with a 100 percent chance of beer.
Come thirsty, have fun, and be ready to treat your taste buds to the best local concoctions of barley, hops and fermented yeasty golden goodness that the local and national scenes have to offer.
Cityview began its Brewfest in 2007, and in each successive summer, it has shown its passion for beer by engineering the region’s premier beer festival. A number of partners and venues have been part of Brewfest through the years, but none has provided the benefits and features that are part of this year’s event.
Brewfest has improved each year, and expert brewers come from near and far to offer hundreds of unique and different varieties of beer.
But, according to event organizers, Iowa’s unpredictable and sometimes unbearable weather made the decision to move the event indoors a no-brainer.
“July summers can get very hot,” said event coordinator Ashley Sohl. “So to have this event indoors this year is a great benefit to the attendees, as they won’t have to sweat waiting in long lines. We have lots of space for people to sample beers comfortably.”
Each general admission ticket grants admission to the event, a sampling glass, a copy of the official event guide and a tasting scorecard to keep track of how each lager measured up to which ale, along with a bevy of other unique items that will be provided to the first 2,000 paid attendees to go with their unlimited samples.
And it’s all for $30, at least for those who purchase tickets in advance, making it one of the lowest-cost beer festivals in the state.
“It’s a good way to kick off your night,” said Sohl about the three-hour event. “There’s something for everyone — food, music, beer, and we’re expecting a lot of people again this year.”
“It’s great for date night, ‘bro’ night, bachelor party, bachelorette party,” agreed Katie Hawley, a sales representative for Cityview who will also be working at the event. “It’s even good for a ‘bring your parents night.’ ”
An estimated array of more than 200 beers will be at the festival. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the door on the day of the event. The discounted tickets are available now at brewfest.dmcityview.com or at the 7 Flags Event Center box office.
Brewfest had grown large enough to be held in the concourse at Principal Park in recent years. Shane Goodman, Cityview’s owner and publisher, has many fond memories of the event at the former venue, but he said it was time for a change.
“We had 3,000 people one year,” said Goodman. “And it was great, but it was hot and crowded. A lot of people probably went to that and thought, ‘I’m never coming back.’ We’re bringing it back to something more manageable.
“The folks at Principal Park served us well — they are good people and have an incredible venue — but the ice-cold air conditioning of 7 Flags Events Center and the protection from the elements will make the event much more enjoyable for everyone.”
FOOD AND LIVE MUSIC
And then there was food. In prior years, Brewfest’s food options ranged from no food at all, to only having a pizza truck. This year’s festival is upping the ante and will have various food options with an assortment of delectables available for purchase. Take note, though: Food is not included in the price of admission.
Food and air conditioning aren’t the only upgrades to Brewfest. This year’s event will feature live music. Local band, The Broken Keys, a fun and upbeat cover group, will be onstage playing everything from classic rock to modern Top 40 pop tunes. This energetic band is a fan favorite, and its set list includes Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep,” Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and Lynard Skynard’s “Gimme Three Steps” among others. Formed in 2015 under the original name Party Attack, the band changed its name to The Broken Keys not long after. They play events all over the area, bringing you the songs you loved before and the songs you’ll love in the future.
Beer distributors, craftsmen and various vendors and retailers will bring in hundreds of beers to whet the unquenched thirst of Des Moines’ beer-tasting citizenry. Samples are unlimited, so it’s a good time to try out new flavors you wouldn’t normally delve into.
It can also be a place to swap war stories with fellow basement brewers and garage fermenting neophytes. The event has become a Mecca for homebrewers looking to gain an appreciation for what can be done with barley, hops, yeast and time. If you brew your own beer, or if you’re thinking about giving it a try, this is a place to gain new ideas and understanding. Beer experts and brew masters are frequent attendees of this event.
The popularity of craft beers has surged in recent years. Craft brewers have become so common, most Americans live within 10 miles of one.
According to the Brewers Association, craft beer accounted for $22.3 billion of the $105.9 billion in overall sales of beer in the United States during 2015.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Putting an event like this together isn’t easy. Lining up the beers, food vendors, bands, volunteers and everything else that goes along with it is a challenge. But all those flavors of beer make it worth it.
The primary tasks facing organizers during preparation are managing the event and getting everyone organized.
“The planning for this began in March and will continue through the end of the night,” said Ashley Sohl, Cityview’s advertising and events director overseeing Brewfest. She also said she has some help from friends.
Joe Wells, special event coordinator for Beer Can Alley, is helping with the nuts and bolts of putting the event together. He said everything is going as planned, and he’s looking forward to the event.
“I’ll be there,” he said.
Unfortunately, it’ll be on the working side of the equation.
“I wish I could be tasting the beer,” he said with a smile.
7 FLAGS EVENT CENTER
7 Flags Event Center’s capacity is 3,000. And besides the air conditioning, the cavernous facility is equipped with restroom facilities, an outdoor smoking area and consessions. It also has a standard bar that will be open for business in case you can’t find something you like amongst the hundreds of craft brews.
Popular national brands like Budweiser, Miller and others will be available for purchase alongside mixed drinks, shots and other bar staples.
“You never know,” said Goodman. “Somebody may want to buy a regular beer.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of beers will be available to sample with a ticket purchase.
“There is a ton of space here. And even though we’ve changed locations, you’ll still get an unlimited number of beer tastings,” said Goodman.
According to Doug Thornton, general manager of 7 Flags Promotions at the event center, the new location offers other perks, too.
“Parking is free,” he said. “That’s a big plus.”
He also said security is important to him, and the center has experience hosting a wide variety of different events.
“We’re diverse,” he said. “(We can) handle country music (events), hip-hop, pro wrestling, cage fighting — there’s not a whole lot we won’t do.”
Thornton said he’s even looking forward to this event himself.
“I’ll be there,” he said. “I’m a (beer) connoisseur.”
Starting in 2007, Brewfest has been an event for beer tasters to sample hundreds of different quaffs. It’s also an opportunity for local businesses and craft breweries to promote the up-and-coming craft beer on the local scene.
As a result of the popularity, other festivals have also popped up, and some haven’t always followed state and city rules and regulations.
The State of Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) has specific rules for events like this, and Brewfest abides by them.
“By the ABD’s definition, Brewfest is not a sampling event, but Cityview and 7 Flags Event Center follow the specific rules and regulations that are required by any liquor license holder,” said Sohl.
Participants must be 21 years or older and not intoxicated, and just like at a bar, consumers are not allowed to be over-served.
Cityview and 7 Flags Event Center encourage responsible drinking. Yellow Cab Company will be available for taxi services as needed.
For those who want to get a head start on the sampling before the crowd arrives, a special VIP pass is available for $45. This allows the ticketholder to enter one hour early, and it also provides access to closer parking.
“We actually are selling a lot of these, so those interested should do so ASAP,” said Sohl.
A CELEBRATION OF BEER
Air conditioning. Live music. Food. Free parking. Hundreds of beers to sample for one low price. Brewfest truly celebrates craft beer the way only Cityview can.
“What’s not to like?” asked Sohl.
Let the party begin! CV
What: A celebration of beer
When: Saturday, July 16 from 4-7 p.m.
Where: 7 Flags Event Center, 2100 N.W. 100th St., Clive
Who: Anyone who loves beer, 21 or older.
Why: Because you like beer
Ticket price: Advance tickets are available at a 25 percent discount, $30, at brewfest.dmcityview.com or by going to the 7 Flags Event Center. Tickets are $40 the day of the event at the gate. VIP tickets are $45 and allow one-hour early entry starting at 3 p.m.
Taxi service: Yellow Cab Company will be available for taxi services.
Parking: Free parking is available in 7 Flags Event Center lots.
THE TIMELINE OF BEER (all dates are approximate)
4300 B.C.E. The first beer recipes appeared on clay tablets in Babylon. Beer was a vital part of many ancient societies, including Babylon, Assyria, Egypt and China. The Babylonians produced about 20 different varieties of beer, and beer was often part of worker’s wages.
55 B.C.E. Beer was introduced to Northern Europe by the Roman legions. At this time, beer was considered a food, so all the brewing was done by women.
1000 A.D. Brewing became common in Europe in the Middle Ages, when beer was mostly produced by monasteries and convents. Beer was used as a form of currency throughout Medieval times. Hops became part of the brewing process around 1000 AD.
1400s A.D. The German lager was developed in 1420. The first German brewing guild was established in 1489. In the 1490s, Columbus discovered that Native Americans were making beer from corn and black birch sap.
1500s A.D. In 1553, Beck’s Brewery was founded and is still running today. The first beer brewed in the New World was at Sir Walter Raleigh’s colony in Virginia in 1587. The colonists sent to England for better beer.
1600s A.D. In 1602, it was discovered that beer lasted longer in glass bottles. The first commercial brewery opened in New Amsterdam after colonists advertised for experienced brewers in London. In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they were running out of beer. Many of the Founding Fathers had brew houses and commercial breweries.
1850 A.D. Cold maturation lagers were introduced in the U.S. by German immigrants in the 1850s. Modern brewing in the U.S. began in the late 1800s, when refrigeration, automatic bottling, pasteurization and railroad distribution became available.
1870s A.D. Budweiser became the first national brand in the 1870s.
1890s A.D. In the 1890s, Pabst became the first U.S. brewer to sell more than 1 million barrels in a year.
1935 A.D. In 1935, beer cans were introduced.
1938 A.D. In 1938, Elise Miller John headed Miller Brewing, becoming the only woman to ever run a major brewing company.
2015 A.D. According to Brewer’s Association, the U.S. has seen a recent rise in craft brewers and microbreweries. In 2015, small and independent craft brewers represented 12 percent of the beer market, craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels of beer for an estimated retail total of $22.3 billion, and 4,269 breweries existed in the U.S., the most at any time in the country’s history.
Are there ATMs at the venue? Yes, there are two ATMs at 7 Flags Event Center.
What if I need a ride home? Yellow Cab Company will be available for taxi services.
Will tickets be available at the door? Yes, but they will cost a little more. If you buy your tickets in advance, the cost is $30. At the door, it’ll be $40 for standard admission and VIP tickets will also be available for $45.
Where can I purchase a ticket? Tickets are available online at brewfest.dmcityview.com or at the 7 Flags Event Center box office.
I’m hungry… Will there be food? There will be food concessions as well as beer at the event.
Where can I get more info? Knowing is half the battle, and you can be in the know by visiting brewfest.dmcityview.com or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cityviewbrewfest.
Is the venue handicap accessible? There is an entrance accessible on the south side of the venue. Email Doug Thornton, general manager, at www.sevenflagseventcenter.com/contact, at least five business days prior to the event with any special requests or accommodation needs.
Are kids allowed in? No. This event is for adults who are at least 21 years old.
Do I need an ID? Yes.
|breweries represented at this year’s brewfest
American Vintage Beverage
August Schell Brewing
Avery Brewing Co.
Bent River Brewing Co.
Best Damn Brewing Co.
Boulder Beer Co.
Central Waters Brewing
Coney Island Brewing
Confluence Brewing Company
Elysian Brewing Co.
Exile Brewing Company
Fort Collins Brewery
Great Divide Brewing Company
Green Flash Brewing Company
HUSA Dutch/ HUSA Mexican
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Left Hand Brewing
Lost Coast Brewery
Mark Anthony Brewing
Millstream Brewing Co.
Nebraska Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing
North American Breweries
North Coast Brewing
Odell Brewing Co.
Oskar Blues Brewing
Pabst Brewing Co.
Peace Tree Brewing Company
S & H Premium Brands
Samuel Smith’s Brewery
Shmaltz Brewing Company
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Small Town Brewery
Surly Brewing Co.
Tallgrass Brewing Co.
Tenth & Blake Beer Company
Traveler Beer Company
Two Brothers Brewing
United States Beverage
Vermont Hard Cider
West O Beer
Zipline Brewing Co.
(as of July 11)