While Homer Simpson (credited with the famous quote in the description of this event) may have appreciated beer a bit too much during the past 23 seasons of The Simpsons, there's no denying that there is a growing culture behind good beer, and plenty of people who have dedicated their lives to the passion of creating and enjoying a tasty cold one.
In celebration of those people who have made beer an art form, and those who enjoy the product of said art form, All About Beer magazine is hosting the 16th annual World Beer Festival this Saturday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. In two four-hour sessions, the first from 12-4pm and the second from 6-10pm, visitors can taste and sample craft and specialty beers in two-ounce pours while supplies last. Enjoy over 300 beers from more than 100 different breweries from all over the country with your very own festival tasting glass.
"The one thing that I keep looking forward to with the Durham World Beer Festival is how beautiful the atmosphere is," says Daniel Bradford, president and publisher of All About Beer magazine. "We're expecting a gorgeous day with a bright Carolina Blue sky, magnificent white tents, the green of the outfield and all the historic buildings and artifacts like the bull, the Lucky Strike smokestack, the water tower. It's just spectacular."
There are several surprises in store for this year's festival. This year, for instance, a special tent will be set up just for North Carolina's own breweries with the help of Anna Lockhart, the president of the North Carolina Brewers Guild. For every beer brought to the festival from NC breweries, All About Beer will make a donation to the Guild.
One of the highlights of the festival are the educational sessions by industry experts, and this year has quite the repertoire. Roger Protz, editor of the "Good Beer Guide," Doug Odell of Odell Brewing, Ft. Collins, CO, and Julia Herz from the Brewers Association and CraftBeer.com will all be new presenters at the festival. Julia will host a "smackdown" between four brewers as they try to pair their beer with food prepared by chef Charlie Deal of Dos Perros and Jujube.
"We are also showing quite a few new breweries that haven't been here before, which adds a special element to the beer hunter's quest for interesting beers," Daniel says. Some guest breweries this year include Deschutes Brewery, Boulevard Brewery, New Glarus Brewing Co., Summit Brewing Co., Kuhnhenn Brothers Brewing Co. and Wynkoop Brewery.
For those new to the festival, or who just want to find a better way of navigating through the beer tents, Daniel says the key is the very in-depth program guide, a mini-magazine.
"There are many different ways to approach this extravaganza of beer," Daniel says. "Personally, I wander around and look for beers that I've never had before, and there are always some great surprises. Another strategy is to pick a style, like the ever popular IPA, and try the different interpretations of it across all the brewers."
In addition to great beer, local bands will entertain the crowds throughout the day. During the first session, rhythm and blues band Children of the Horn will take the stage at noon, followed by Funkuponya. Those at the second session will get to hear bluegrass band Fireside String Band at 6pm, and end the evening with Po Boyz, a band that's a mixture of bayou funk/rock, with hints of gospel, country and Latin influence.
Familiar Durham names, like Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, Mellow Mushroom, R&B Grill and James Joyce Irish Pub, as well as other restaurants around the Triangle, will be on hand to provide some eats alongside all the drink.
"Our goal is the creation of a comfortable, casual, fun atmosphere for exploring the world of beer," Daniel says.
Tickets are still available, click here for more information or to purchase your tickets.