Growlers: Hot Springs Craft Beer Festival, Slate Rock Closer to Opening, Rebel Kettle Taps Swimmin’ Hole

Beer-lovers from all over Arkansas will be flocking to the Spa City this weekend for the Hot Springs Craft Beer Festival on Saturday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Virtually every Arkansas brewery will be there, as well as craft beer from all around the country. Tickets are on sale now; $35 will get you in for general admission, while the VIP ticket runs $55. VIP attendees get to enter the festival at 4 p.m. and sample some rare beers that aren’t always available in Arkansas. There is a designated driver ticket as well, so there’s no excuse to be driving after the festival closes. This year, the festival will be held outdoors at the Hot Springs Farmers and Artisans Market on Orange Street.

It’s been almost a year since we’ve heard anything about Slate Rock Brewing in Clark County. That’s because the husband-and-wife brew team Orianne and Shawn Burgess had their first child last year, and the two were still working regular jobs in addition to getting a brewery ready. But now construction is almost finished on the two-story brewhouse, and the beer is getting closer as well. Slate Rock picked up six 10-barrel fermentation tanks from Flying Heart Brewing in Bossier City, Louisiana. When it opens, Slate Rock will become the first brewery in Clark County, which was still a dry county just seven years ago.

Let this serve as your monthly reminder of the best ongoing beer-food pairing in Central Arkansas. Stone’s Throw Brewing and The Southern Gourmasian are holding their regular pairing dinner on Thursday at 6:30. Stone’s Throw is pairing a couple of its regulars with some seasonal brews, including its British SMASH and That’s the Way Love Gose. And The Southern Gourmasian’s menu looks excellent again, with a Sweet Potato Thai Curry Coconut Soup and Braised Pork with Tomato Gravy included in the five-course lineup. As always, tickets are $50 or $90 for two, and are available at both locations. Also this week, Stone’s Throw is putting on its Balarama Peppercorn Saison for #NewBrewFriday. It’s a somewhat heft farmhouse ale at 7 percent ABV that was well received when it debuted last August.

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Rebel Kettle this week is tapping its Swimmin’ Hole summer saison for its 4:30 Thursday. This is a light farmhouse ale that brewer John Lee says was a big hit last year, with notes of tropical fruit and spice and a clean finish. By the way, in addition to finding Rebel Kettle at the Hot Springs festival Saturday, stop by the Craft Beer Cellar in downtown Hot Springs beforehand to enjoy a few of their brews on tap there.

Get to Flyway Brewing this weekend for a beer made by one of the best homebrewers in the state. Kent Thompson has won several homebrew competitions, including Vino’s, Rebel Kettle and Damgoode Brews. He also won with his Northeastern IPA at Flyway this past winter, and this week brewed his recipe on Flyway’s pilot system. That one is going on tap Friday. Flyway’s Jess McMullen tells me it turned out really well, so IPA fans will want to take note.

Lost Forty Brewing has another citrus-themed release on today after last week’s Pineapple Day Drinker. This time, it’s the Lemon Cream Blackberry Berliner Weisse on tap for Freshcut Monday. The brewery says the creamy feel of the brew is complemented by the tart lemon and fruity sweetness. No cans will be sold of this one, but it sounds like you’ll be able to pick up a crowler or growler to take home if you like what you taste.

Congratulations to Prestonrose Farm and Brewing Company in Paris, Arkansas, for again passing its “certified organic” inspection from the USDA. The inspection covers both crop planting and harvesting, as well as production and handling standards. You can celebrate Prestonrose’s success with its new “Smession” ale from the brewery. It’s a single-malt, single-hop session IPA made with Columbus hops.

Do you have some beer news you would like to share with us? Email me at steve@rockcityeats.com.

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Growlers: Hot Springs Craft Beer Festival, Slate Rock Closer to Opening, Rebel Kettle Taps Swimmin’ Hole