Friday, May 23, 2008

A good time brewing

The second annual Magic City Brewfest is just over a week away. Organizers say this year there'll be more beer, more food, and probably more people.

The festivities will be at Birmingham's Sloss Furnaces Park, Saturday, May 31 from 7 p.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday, June 1, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Tickets are available online now; they'll be more expensive at the gate.

Stuart Carter, president of Free the Hops, which is organizing the festival, says the group learned a lot from last year's inaugural event. Many more people than expected showed up, and organizers are preparing for even mroe this year.

Brewers will be more spread out over the festival grounds to reduce congestion. There will be more food vendors as well, also spaced out around the festival grounds to avoid last year's long lines. FTH also plans to better educate the red-shirted volunteers who will be pouring at the brewers' booths, so they'll be able to share some info on the suds. Between the musical acts on the festival stage, brewers and FTH organizers will be speaking, giving the festival a bit more of an education and advocacy edge.

"This will be about how to appreciate beer as an enjoyable thing, rather than guzzling it as a light macro," Carter told The Star earlier this week.

Perhaps most importantly, Carter says there will be as many as 250 beers available to taste, which he said is the majority of brews available in the state. That's up form last year's total of about 180, he said.