My personal pick for the beer of summer 2016 comes back on tap this week. Rebel Kettle’s excellent raspberry sour Summer Jam returns this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. At only 4.5 percent, this sour ale is made for seconds (or thirds) and has a wonderful combination of sweet, dry and tart flavors. No wonder it was one of our best beverages of 2016. To mark the occasion, Rebel Kettle has invited the Rolling Blackouts to their outdoor stage for a concert from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. There’s no cover, so there’s no excuse to miss this fantastic beer and what should be a fun evening on the patio.
When I spoke with Diamond Bear’s new head brewer Nathan Greubel last week (read his profile here), I asked him separately about what he brews the most. And while Pale Ale was predictably at the top of the list, warmer weather has seen a lot of demand for the brewery’s Strawberry Blonde, which has been in cans for a couple of months. So much so, that Diamond Bear has begun distributing kegs of Strawberry Blonde all around town. Right now, you can find the strawberry ale at the Arkansas Ale House, but very soon you should be seeing it at restaurants and growler stations all around Central Arkansas. And the brewery has hinted that distribution could soon reach into other states, like Mississippi.
With the Fourth of July tomorrow, most breweries are going to be closed (Stone’s Throw Brewing and Damgoode Pies River Market are the exceptions). So if you’re looking to stock up for tomorrow’s festivities, you should probably get to Flyway Brewing today. All day long, Flyway is selling all growler fill-ups for half price. That includes Bluewing, currently the title holder for the most popular beer in Arkansas, as well as the seasonal Pintail IPA and Red Velvet Imperial Ale. The cost of the growler itself is separate, so bring your own and fill up before Flyway closes tonight at 9 p.m.
Speaking of the fourth, Lost Forty Brewing is getting patriotic with its Freshcut Monday series event today with a triple release. The brewery is putting on tap its Strawberry Day Drinker (red), Pineapple Day Drinker (white) and Blackberry American Wheat (blue) for the fourth. All of these are available by the pint and in growler pours to-go. In addition, there are still a few six-packs of Blackberry American Wheat left at the taproom and in a couple of spots around town, so make sure to pick those up before they’re all gone. The event starts at 4 p.m.
As mentioned previously, Stone’s Throw will be open on July 4 for your beer-drinking needs. And for its #NewBrewFriday, the brewery is somewhat going against the citywide fruit-beer grain with the release of its Dirty Yankee IPA. That one will be available in growlers to go, as well as by-the-pint in the taproom.
And we’re just a few weeks away from the Great Arkansas Beer Festival, easily the largest summer beer festival in Central Arkansas. Last year, there were hundreds of beers available from local and national craft beers. This year’s beer list hasn’t been released, but there’s no reason to expect a weaker lineup in 2017. The event is Saturday, July 22, at 5:30 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center. Tickets are $30 now for general admission. VIP tickets are $60 and include early admission and access to some very rare pours you won’t find around the state.
Lastly, a quick plug for local, independent beer writer John the Beer Snob. His newsletter this week tackles the issue of contract brewing, which is when companies work with another, usually larger brewery to make beer for canning or bottling. It is a topic relevant to Arkansas’ beer scene, and I found John’s take well thought-out. Have a read, and make sure you sign up for his weekly mailing list. It’s perfect for beer fans in Arkansas.
Do you have some beer news you would like to share with us? Email me at email@example.com.