Growlers: Great Arkansas Beer Fest, Flyway Expands Capacity, Bike Rack Pilsner Arrives

This Saturday is the Great Arkansas Beer Festival, the only beer festival in the summer. That’s because it’s indoors at the Statehouse Convention Center, away from the miserable heat. Expect the largest crowd at a beer festival this year. If you’re going, spending the extra money to get VIP tickets is probably the best option. VIP attendees will get in an hour early to try some very rare beers, including the three famous brews from Westvleteren in Belgium, considered by some to be the best beers on the planet. The rest of the festival will feature plenty of brands you would expect. Virtually every major Arkansas brewery will be there, as will names like Sweetwater, Founders, Oskar Blues and Mother’s. Advance tickets are $30; that goes up to $40 the day of the event. VIP tickets are $60 and get you in at 4:30 p.m. The festival opens to all ticket holders at 5:30 p.m.
Flyway Brewing has a busy week coming up, starting with putting the finishing touches on the installation of two new 30-BBL tanks in the brewhouse. Demand for Flyway, like many Arkansas breweries, continues to climb, and the added capacity will help the brew team keep customers happy. Then on Wednesday at 4 p.m., Flyway is releasing a second take on its Saison Avifaune. This time, Flyway is tapping a full batch of the brew, which got some great reviews on its debut last month. Saison fans shouldn’t miss this one. Finally, Flyway is sponsoring the first “Beers and Queers” Argenta Community Pride Block Party on 4th St. between Maple and Main. The Clean Eatery and Count Porkula food trucks will be on hand, as will live music from the likes of Bijoux and John Burnette. The block party is scheduled to go from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.
About a month ago, Bentonville-based Bike Rack Brewing officially launched in Central Arkansas. This week, the Little Rock area will get its first taste of a Bike Rack seasonal brew. Bike Rack’s Czech-style Pilsner will be on store shelves around Central Arkansas starting Wednesday. This 5.5 percent ABV pilsner is unfiltered and hopped with Czech saaz and American lemondrop hops. It will be sold in six-packs for much of the summer. Bike Rack’s head brewer is Josiah Moody, former head brewer of Vino’s Brewpub and the mind behind Moody Brews, which has been on hiatus for the past couple of years.
Lost Forty Brewing has another fun, experimental brew from its Wild Barrels Project for today’s Freshcut Monday release. This one is Wild Barrels 4.5, a 7.2 percent ABV brew made from Look-See Hefeweizen, fresh strawberries and special yeast strains. After aging for four months in oak barrels, the .5 version got an extra long soak in red cabernet barrels. Like all Wild Barrels, this one is only available in large-format bottles from the taproom; you can enjoy 4.5 at the taproom or take it home with you. This one gets released at 4 p.m. today.
Rebel Kettle has a brand new one out for its 4:30 Thursday event. The brewery is release A Lil’ Mo’ New England-style pale ale at the taproom this Thursday. It’s a juicy brew made with Mosaic hops. At 4.8 percent ABV, this one reads like it’ll be a summer crusher with plenty of citrus notes.
For its regular #NewBrewFriday event, Stone’s Throw Brewing is tapping its Hoppy Papa, a variation on its regular Papa Geyer’s Pilsner. This recipe dry-hops the brew for a new take on this imperial version of the pilsner. Papa Geyer’s Pilsner is a big brew at 9 percent ABV, and there’s no reason to believe that Hoppy Papa will back down from that. It goes on tap Friday starting at 4 p.m.
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