Clear your calendar, beer lovers. On Nov. 2, the Arkansas Times and the Argenta Arts District present the Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival. It will run 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Argenta Farmer's Market lot at Sixth and Main streets in North Little Rock (or at Dickey-Stephens if it's raining). Tickets are $35 via arktimes.com/craftbeerfest or $40 at the door if still available. Below, find short profiles of each of the 31 participating breweries.
Anchor Brewing Certainly one of the oldest brewers at the festival (founded 1896), San Francisco's Anchor Brewing is probably best known for its Anchor Steam Beer, a highly effervescent, extremely drinkable beer. But Anchor makes several other excellent brews, including Anchor Liberty, Porter and Small (a low-alcohol beer made from "second runnings" of a stronger beer mash), all of which will be on tap Nov. 2. RB
Blue Moon Born in Denver in 1995 and purchased by Coors, Blue Moon's reach is now pervasive, found seemingly everywhere but in playground water fountains. These guys are big now, but they came up the right way: Blue Moon's head brewmaster and founder has a Ph.D. in brewing from the University of Brussels. SE.
The Boston Beer Co. As the fifth-largest brewing company in the country, Boston Beer Co.'s Samuel Adams is the Target store of American craft brews: wide-ranging and presentable, with a veneer of middlebrow pretense. On tap from Massachusetts at the festival will be the delectable Winter Lager and three you probably haven't tried: the stiff, malty New World; the "wine-like" Stony Brook Red and the oaky/raisin-y Thirteenth Hour. SE
Brewery Ommegang From the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame (that'd be Cooperstown, N.Y.) comes Brewery Ommegang, the only American brewer that exclusively makes Belgian-style ales. That might sound like a niche focus, but Belgium has one of the richest and most diverse brewing traditions in the world, thanks in large part to centuries of beer-loving monks doing God's work on Earth. Ommegang's devotion to doing things the right way speaks to the brewery's level of commitment to delicious beer. The folks from Ommegang will be pouring their Abbey, BPA, Hennepin and Three Philosophers ales. RB
Goose Island The brewery is the pride of Chicago's North Side, just within staggering distance of Wrigley Field. These guys are bringing the full band: Honker's Ale, Mild Winter, India Pale Ale, the Belgian-style Pere Jacques, Matilda and the coveted Bourbon County Stout, of which the brewery makes this enticing claim: "One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer." Read more about the Bourbon County Stout here. SE
Henry Weinhard's A brand new entry into the national beer market, this brewery traces its roots back its namesake, a German immigrant who settled in Portland in the 1860s, started a brewery and once offered to pump beer through a city fountain (the city declined, the story goes, for fear of rowdy horses). MillerCoors now owns the 150-year-old brand, and last month started introducing it to markets across the country. At the festival, they'll be pouring their Private Reserve, Redwood Flats Amber and Woodlands Pass IPA. LM
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. The Wisconsin-made keg-filler college students get when they're willing to shell out a couple of bucks more than the Bud/Miller fare so they can actually taste their beer. The Sunset Wheat, Berry Weiss, Lemon Berry Shandy and possibly the Fireside Nut Brown Ale will be representing. SE
Laughing Dog Laughing Dog, out of Ponderay, Idaho, got started back in aught-five. So while it's not the oldest brewery in the festival lineup, it does offer a big selection of brews, including The Alpha Dog — billed as one of the hoppiest beers ever made, describe thusly by Beer Advocate: "Crazy ... crazy flavors here. Not the most together DIPA [Double India Pale Ale], but it does end up landing on its feet with a good balance of malt base and hop suppression. The choppy, craggy hoppiness will be appreciated by veteran hopheads." They'll be pouring that brew, along with Anubis Coffee Porter, CSB ESB, Dogfather Imperial Stout, Dogzilla Black IPA, Huckleberry Cream Ale, Rocket Dog Rye and Sneaky Pete IPA. RB
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