Rumbles: Little Rocktoberfest Returns, Zoo Brew Thursday, Stone’s Throw Barrel Release

The biggest beer event of the fall is this Saturday with the 16th annual Little Rocktoberfest at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. If you’ve never been, this is a beer festival hosted by the Central Arkansas Fermenters, which is the membership club of area homebrewers. So yes, you can expect traditional regional beers and Central Arkansas’ breweries to be on hand, but Little Rocktoberfest will also feature a massive homebrew area. Will Tracy, who helps organize the event, says more than 50 home brewers are bringing 85 beverages this year. Among the interesting beers, he says, are an oolong tea ESB, a key lime pie ale, a brut ale (made with champagne yeast), a pineapple cider and a strawberry currant mead. In addition, we know of two outstanding professional beers that will be on hand in limited quantities. Flyway Brewing is bringing its outstanding Lord God Imperial Chocolate Stout back, and Rebel Kettle has Black Reign Bourbon Barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout for the event. Suffice it to say, you could easily stay in the homebrew and local beer area and have a fantastic festival experience. The event runs from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. unless you have a VIP ticket; VIP attendees will be able to get in at 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the gate. VIP tickets are $65. This is the only beer festival each year that I never miss, so I hope to see you there this year.

Little Rocktoberfest isn’t the only big beer event this week. Zoo Brew 2018 is Thursday night from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Little Rock Zoo. Zoo Brew features more than a dozen breweries; listed local breweries include Flyway, Lost Forty and Stone’s Throw. In addition, you will find food from seven local food trucks, like Bragg’s Big Bites, Adobo To Go and Hot Rod Wieners. At the moment, we don’t have a beer list from this event, so we can’t tell you what to expect. Tickets to Zoo Brew are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Proceeds from the event go to benefit the Arkansas Zoological Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Little Rock Zoo that raises money to grow and develop the zoo’s capabilities.

In between the two beer festivals, this week is a pretty special release from Stone’s Throw Brewing. For this week’s #NewBrewFriday, the brewery is tapping a barrel-aged version of its Pumpkin Pie Porter, which it released last year. While I haven’t had the barrel-aged version, the regular Pumpkin Pie Porter was a 6 percent ABV ale made with Blackprinz and chocolate malts with just a light touch of fall spices. It will be interesting to see how the barrel affects this one, which already had some good subtlety and complexity to it. You can check it out at the Stone’s Throw taproom at 4 p.m. Friday.

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And of course, the beer week starts today at Lost Forty Brewing for the taproom’s regular Freshcut Monday release. Today, it’s the second release of Lost Forty’s TWIG table sour beer. TWIG is a low-ABV farmhouse saison fermented with wild yeast from Dunbar Community Garden. The fermentation takes place in a white oak foeder, a massive wooden tank used mostly for long-term fermentations. TWIG’s first release has been around for most of 2018; I still have a bottle of it in my fridge. You can pick up this second release today starting at 4 p.m. Lost Forty is selling it by the glass in the taproom and in large-format bottles to go.

Do you have any beer news you want to share with us? Email steveshuler@gmail.com.

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Rumbles: Little Rocktoberfest Returns, Zoo Brew Thursday, Stone’s Throw Barrel Release