We are in the throes of winter, and beer festival season seems frustratingly far away.
Or so we thought.
Fossil Cove Beer Company just announced that it’s hosting Arkansas’ first winter beer festival. Frost Fest 2016 will take place on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 603 W. Ash Street in Fayetteville. The location is just around the corner from the brewery, and is the spot that – at some point in the not-too-distant future – owner Ben Mills plans to build a brand spankin’ new Fossil Cove.
What can we expect for the first rendition of Frost Fest?
More than 20 breweries are currently slated to attend the festival. The list includes brewers from Northwest Arkansas and Little Rock, as well as a handful from outside the state.
“People who don’t normally have access to them – because they’re not distributed here – will get a taste of something new,” said Fossil Cove’s Danielle Dotson. “Then when they go to Kansas City or St. Louis they’ll know a brewery they’ll want to visit.”
An exciting aspect of Frost Fest is the fact breweries will be representing themselves and pouring their own beers. Many festivals utilize distributors or volunteers to work the taps – which is perfectly fine, but cuts down on the direct contact with brewers that many festivalgoers covet.
“One of the things we wanted to get away from was the impersonal atmosphere of some beer festivals when it comes to out-of-state brands,” said Mills.
There will, of course, be a big emphasis on Arkansas beer at the festival. Most of the state’s breweries will be in attendance. The Arkansas Brewers Guild is also planning a tap takeover event at Apple Blossom Brewing Company the night before the festival.
Live music and food vendors will be there. So, too, will The Home Brewery, the local supply shop that continues to serve as the backbone of the local beer community.
A portion of festival proceeds will be used to support Apple Seeds, a local non-profit organization dedicated to educating children about where food comes from.
“We did a fundraiser for them earlier this fall,” said Fossil Cove’s Andrew Blann. “We really like what they’re all about.”
If you’re afraid of the frigid temperatures often seen in February, don’t be. A 40 x 80ft tent will be erected to provide shelter. And to keep attendees warm from the inside, Fossil Cove will be releasing a barleywine ale at the festival that has been aging for almost ten months.
Tickets to Frost Fest are $30 until the week of the event, when the price climbs to $35. They can be purchased at Fossil Cove’s website, or to avoid processing fees, can be picked up in person at the brewery’s taproom.
Festivalgoers will be provided a commemorative tasting glass for unlimited 2oz pours from participating breweries.
You’ll have to dress warm, but you won’t have to wait for spring to arrive to enjoy a good beer festival. See you at Frost Fest, Northwest Arkansas beer lovers!
Participating Breweries – Frost Fest 2016
Apple Blossom Brewing Co. – Fayetteville, AR
Columbus House Brewery – Fayetteville, AR
Fossil Cove Brewing Co. – Fayetteville, AR
West Mountain Brewery – Fayetteville, AR
Black Apple Crossing – Springdale, AR
Core Brewing & Distilling – Springdale, AR
Saddlebock Brewery – Springdale, AR
Prestonrose Farm & Brewing – Paris, AR
Ozark Beer Company – Rogers, AR
Bentonville Brewing Co. – Bentonville, AR
Bike Rack Brewing Co. – Bentonville, AR
Blue Canoe – Little Rock, AR
Damgoode Pies – Little Rock, AR
Lost 40 Brewing – Little Rock, AR
Stone’s Throw Brewing Co. – Little Rock, AR
Diamond Bear Brewing Co – North Little Rock, AR
Flyway Brewing Co. – North Little Rock, AR
Bubba Brew’s Brewing Co. – Bonnerdale, AR
Crane Brewing – Raytown, MO
Earthbound Beer- St. Louis, MO
Springfield Brewing Company – Springfield, MO
Torn Label Brewing Company – Kansas City, MO
Anthem Brewing Company – Oklahoma City, OK
Coop Ale Works – Oklahoma City, OK