Craft Brew Fest set for June 21

WINNEBAGO – New breweries are coming to the 3rd Annual Craft Brew Fest, set for June 21 in Whiting Park in Winnebago.

“In my view, it’s a wonderful way to show that small rural communities aren’t dead,” said Julie Stoltz, co-chairperson with Steve Malchow. “It brings people from all over the place to let them see our community.”

“Dang near everybody in town contributed in some way,” Malchow said. “We want everybody to have a good time.”

Beer sampling runs from 2-5 p.m., with the beer garden open from 3-7 p.m.

Food will be served by the Winnebago Grill and the Q Crew, a traveling barbecue outfit. Vendors will be outside the gate and open to the public, whether or not they buy tickets to Brew Fest.

Entertainment will be by Calamity Jean, which has been to every Brew Fest, and Blue Drifters Duet, which is new.

Only 800 tickets are available and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

“They’re starting to go faster now; everybody knows the weather will be absolutely gorgeous that day,” Malchow said.

People buying tickets on PayPal include some from the Twin Cities, Iowa, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

Tickets can be purchased at City Hall, Roerig’s Hardware or online.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the gate and designated drivers will be admitted for $5.

“The Women of Today will hand out water and pop to any designated drivers,” Malchow said.

But it’s the other drinks people come for.

“Over 20 different breweries, bringing over 60 different kinds of beer,” Malchow said. “Quite a few new ones and some old standbys: Mankato Brewery, Schell’s and Summit.”

About a dozen new breweries will make their debut. The brewery coming the farthest? Kona from Kona, Hawaii. There’s also Alaskan Brewing from – you guessed it – Alaska. A little closer to home, West O Beer is from Okoboji, Iowa.

The event is sponsored by the Winnebago Lions Club, with proceeds going to programs the Lions support, such as the fire department and food shelf.

“That’s why its such a good organization to go through,” Malchow said. “Quite a bit of money does get used locally.”