By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Suwanee Beer Fest is raising the bar in OTP festival standards

The 6th Annual Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest returns to Suwanee Town Center Park this Saturday, March 19th, 2016 from 1:00pm – 5:00pm.

Thousands of beer enthusiasts will flock to Suwanee Town Center Park to enjoy what the 2014 & 2015 Gwinnett Daily Post Reader’s Choice Awards named the “Best Festival in Gwinnett.” A limited number of General Admission tickets are available at suwaneebeerfest.com, but this event is known to sell out each year, so attendees are encouraged to purchase in advance. General Admission is $55 and includes: unlimited samples of beer and wine, a commemorative tasting glass, live entertainment, games, access to all food and vendors, and more. 

With unlimited sampling of over 350 craft beers from over 100 breweries, Suwanee Beer Fest has become a destination for beer enthusiasts nationwide. And, this year, event organizers are dedicated to giving attendees a craft beer festival experience unlike any other they can find in the metro Atlanta area, or even in the South for that matter. “We have partnered with Dimensional Design, a 3D display manufacturer, and they are elevating the experience by bringing huge new structures, event signage, features, media displays, games and more to the festival,” said Event Director, Michelle Fasig. 

beer fest190Back by popular demand, the Georgia Brew Battle powered by DraftServ Technologies will also return to the fest. DraftServ is a Suwanee-based technology company that has developed the only beverage-dispensing system that enables customers to pour their own drinks by the ounce. The system then gathers data in real-time so that attendees can see which participating beer is in the lead at any given point during the festival. This year’s showdown features exclusive brews from the following 10 Georgia breweries: Eagle Creek, Southern Brewing Company, Monday Night Brewing, Cherry Street, Jekyll Brewing, Reformation, Copper Creek, Southern Sky, Coastal Empire and Terrapin. Each brewery is vying for the title of “Brew Battle 2016” champion. Last year Jekyll Brewing from Alpharetta, GA, took home the coveted golden trophy and are hoping they can come out on top again despite the stiff competition. 

Over 100 breweries from across the U.S. will be pouring at this year’s festival, including several new breweries. Wicked Weed Brewing from Asheville, North Carolina, recently started distributing in Georgia and has been wildly popular, but very hard to find. They only select two or three out-of-state festivals to attend, and this year Suwanee Beer Fest made the list. Over 30 Georgia breweries will be in attendance at this year’s fest, including those that are new to the scene such as: Southern Sky in Kennesaw, Gate City in Roswell, Left Nut in Athens and Southern Brewing from Athens. 

The food scene is looking tasty with Atlanta’s top food vendors lining the festival. You may recognize food truck, Cousins Maine Lobster, from the popular ABC series, “Shark Tank.” Backed by Barbara Corcoran, the small lobster roll food truck has since become one of the most popular in the country. Irish dancers, bagpipe players, backyard games such as cornhole, giveaways including a chance to win a Yeti cooler full of beer and psychic readings, are among the wide variety of activities that vendors are adding to the festival this year. Local coffee roaster, Phoenix Roasters, will also be onsite serving their delicious, smooth, nitro-infused “Homeless Joe’s Nitro Coffee” – a project geared towards helping provide resources and job training for Atlanta’s homeless community. 

Festival attendees can feel great knowing that they are drinking for a cause at Suwanee Beer Fest. Event organizers have donated over $40,000 to date and are dedicated to giving back and supporting the local community. This year, a portion of all proceeds is going to two local charities: Cooper’s Crew and Kingdom Kids. Kingdom Kids grants wishes in Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties, to children with terminal illnesses. Cooper’s Crew is a Suwanee-based nonprofit that raises college scholarship funds for North Gwinnett High School students who have overcome unique hardships, as well as funds for Clear Cell Sarcoma and childhood cancer research. 

With unlimited samples of over 350 beers, wines and ciders, the Suwanee Beer Fest organizers understand the importance of safe rides, which is why they have made several accommodations for attendees. Comfort Inn & Suites in Suwanee is offering a discounted rate for all ticket-holders and vendors. UBER has also partnered with the festival to offer a free first ride or $20 off to new users who use promo code “RideSBF16”. At the event, festival attendees may take advantage of the “Designated Driver Alternative” booth - a service that drives people home safely in the comfort of their own cars for just a few dollars. Tannery Row Ale House in Buford, Twisted Taco in Suwanee, and Mega Package Store in Suwanee, are all offering complimentary shuttle service to and from their locations and the event, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Tannery Row Ale House and Twisted Taco will be hosting large After-Parties as well to keep the St. Paddy’s celebration going all night.