The Community Tap's 6th Annual Craft Beer Festival
All good things must come to an end… but that does not mean we have to like it. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that we prepare ourselves for the final Community Tap Craft Beer Fest, an event that many of us have come to know, love, and even depend on for the last five years. Past festivals have allowed Upstate craft beer lovers to sample brews they had never before seen and might never see again, leaving a lasting memory and possible debate between friends as to what the best brews were over the years.
The decision has been made though, as Community Tap co-owner Mike Okupinski explains that the focus going forward will be on smaller – and hopefully more frequent – events limited to 250 or so people. The fun is not ending, it is just getting spread out across the calendar year which does soften the blow significantly. The big upside, though, is that if this party is coming to a close, Okupinski promises that it is going out with a bang.
This year’s festival is going to feature more breweries than ever before with an unheard of 74 breweries signed up to attend at the time of this writing. “To find a festival with more breweries than that, you would almost have to go to the Great American Craft Beer Festival… and that’s the Great American Craft Beer Festival.” Okupinski says, clearly – and deservedly – proud of himself. Of this massive onslaught of craft brewers, two dozen of them are from South Carolina alone, perfectly illustrating just how significant a presence craft beer has become in our home state.
Quantity most certainly does not take the place of quality as this is still a carefully curated list of beers that you want to experience. Seasonal brews, one-off concoctions, and just plain hard to find beer is the order of the day as this is an opportunity to try things you normally only find by physically going to each of these breweries themselves. In the case of breweries such as “Belgian heavyweights” Brewery Cantillon and Brewery Drie Fonteinen, that is quite obviously easier said than done.
All of this is happening in the luxurious surroundings of Fluor Field. Whether you are a baseball fan or not, there is something particularly pure and soothing about a well groomed baseball diamond and Fluor Field is one of the prettiest examples of this you will find anywhere. Additionally, it is a proven scientific fact that even regular beer tastes better in the right surroundings which means this selection of small batch brews quite likely will be the most satisfying thing you sample all year long.
You cannot have a festival of any sort without live music and, like its brewing community, the Upstate has a wealth of talent to select from. The Bad Popes, The Note Ropers, and arrangements led by Matt Fassas and Kelly Jo will guarantee good vibes all afternoon long.
Each of the first five Community Tap Craft Beer Fests have sold out and, with this being the biggest, baddest, and last one ever, you can safely assume that this year will not be any different. It has been a great run and the festival deserves the proper send off. Even more than that, though, we need this selection of beer in our lives one last time.