This week’s big event is at Stone’s Throw Brewing near MacArthur Park, where the brewery will throw its 6th Annual Block on Rock Birthday Bash. Every year Stone’s Throw holds one of the best parties around, shutting down two blocks of Rock St. and bringing out plenty of food trucks and local merchants. Admission is $5 with kids 10 and under getting in for free. And yes, I said kids; Block on Rock always has plenty of family-friendly activities and live music that everyone will enjoy. At least ten food trucks will be on hand, including Adobo To Go, Katmandu Momo, Loblolly Creamery and more. Stone’s Throw will have more than a dozen beers on tap, including several collaborations with local breweries. And the whole neighborhood is getting involved, too. First Lutheran Church will be leading free tours of its 1888 building, and the Arkansas Arts Center is hosting a biergarden at the Terry House. You can also go to Stone’s Throw a day early for the #NewBrewFriday release of Zapust Kottbusser, a 5.5% ABV German ale brewed with oats, honey and molasses. It goes on tap Friday at 4 p.m.
I’m not sure how they did it, but somehow Lost Forty Brewing managed to release its seasonal fall beer during the week that temperatures will be dropping in Little Rock. Today’s Freshcut Monday is a double release, and the more well-known beer dropping today is The Hunter Oktoberfest. This is one of the most popular Marzen-style beers released in Little Rock. It comes in at 6.1% ABV and drinks easily with a medium body and just a touch of spice. You can get it on tap at Lost Forty and in six-packs pretty much anywhere in Arkansas later this week. The other beer coming out today is the latest Wild Barrels Project release called Shape Shifter. This one is a 6.7% ABV wild ale made with a blend of Look-See Hefeweizen and Day Drinker Belgian Blonde aged in red wine barrels with active cultures. Lost Forty says this one has notes of pineapple and apricot and finishes tart and crisp. It’s available only at the taproom in large format bottles.
The official word is almost any day now for the opening of Buffalo Brewing Company’s new taproom in the Heights neighborhood. Owner Nolen Buffalo tells me he’s only waiting on the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Beverage Control to sign off on final inspections at this point. When that happens, Buffalo Brewing will open next door to Burge’s Smoked Turkeys and Hams on R St. We are also eagerly waiting the opening of Buffalo’s new brewing facility on Cantrell Road. We’ll have an update on both locations later on this week.
Flyway Brewing this week is putting out a new take a winning homebrew recipe that is one of the lightest beers made in Central Arkansas. The brewery will be tapping Ruby-Throated Raspberry Tart Ale this week. The recipe was originally a Berliner Weisse created by homebrewer Danny Hernandez and won Central Arkansas Fermenters’ wheat beer contest last year. Last time it was out, it was a 3.7% ABV wheat beer kettle soured with lactobacillus and raspberries for a tart, refreshing flavor. We haven’t yet heard if the ABV has changed or how the profile is different. Flyway doesn’t know yet when this one will be released; it will likely happen as soon as a tap on the wall comes open.
And finally, I need to address a second beer festival that is happening this week in Little Rock. The 2019 Great Arkansas Beer Festival will be held downtown at the Statehouse Convention Center on Saturday. That’s the same Saturday (and the same time) as the Block on Rock celebration of Stone’s Throw Brewing’s sixth birthday. Stone’s Throw has had this day on the calendar – complete with Facebook event – for almost a year now. The people at Great Arkansas Beer Festival did not set their date until late May. They knew, or at the very least should have known, that Stone’s Throw was holding their festival on the same day, and they’ve made no public acknowledgement of the conflict to this point. It is insulting to say the least for a big festival like this to try to step on a small, local brewery’s biggest day. That their festival goes out of its way to promote big national breweries instead of supporting local craft beer only goes to show their contempt for Little Rock’s craft beer scene. It’s rare that I would urge anybody to pass on a beer festival, but The Great Arkansas Beer Festival deserves to be scorned. Skip it. Go hang out with some genuine, passionate brewers at Block on Rock instead.
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