Exponent Telegram

Feb 4, 2017 2017 Beer Fest

by Kristina S.

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MORGANTOWN — The Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival invites locals to brave the weather and discover new breweries and artisans during its first year in Morgantown.

The festival will allow residents to explore new types of West Virginia beer and breweries, said the festival owner and organizer, Kristina Szczyrbak.

“The state already has some really great annual festivals, but some of them are a few hours drive from here,” Szczyrbak said. “The North Central West Virginia area is home to some of the state’s oldest breweries, and we definitely have the fan base to support a big annual event.”

There will also be several booths with merchants.

“The festival hosts only the most eclectic and authentic merchant vendors in the region,” Szczyrbak said. “Many are local artisans, who exhibit an Appalachian or craft beer theme in their products.”

The event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Feb. 11.

Tickets cost $34.26 for drinkers, which includes a souvenir mug. For designated drivers, tickets cost $12.08.

The breweries at the festival were hand-picked and will be showcasing their seasonal and regular products. There will be at least 10 different breweries in attendance.

“An event like this is a way for beer fans to not only support our local in-state brewers, but also demonstrate the potential positive impact local beer can have on our state’s economy,” Szczyrbak said. “According to the Brewer’s Association, [West Virginia] breweries contributed $118.2 million to the economy in 2012 and $211 million in 2014. Growth like that deserves attention and we can help to draw that spotlight by gathering at big festivals with record turnouts.”

When choosing breweries and vendors, Szczyrbak made an active point to seek out more unique groups that might not be featured elsewhere.

“When I hand-selected the breweries, I reached out to some of the newest in the state that will bring brews I’ve never had the chance to try. I sought out vendors that all carry Appalachian and/or beer themed products, many of them hand-made,” Szczyrbak said. “The food vendors all have some unique twist in their menus, and I’ve opened the festival to community groups that have some really great ideas for exhibits, including a couple of local homebrewing clubs.”

Chris DeFazio, co-owner of Pubstomper Brewing Co., is looking forward to what will be the first festival they attend as a new brewery.

“We’re hoping for a big turnout, and we’ve brewed two small batches exclusively for this event, in addition to our Pubstomper Pale Ale,” DeFazio said.

DeFazio said that showing off West Virginians’ talents is incredibly important with festivals like this.

“Cody [his partner] and I are both West Virginia natives. We attended school here together at WVU as engineering students,” DeFazio said. “That being said, we both know what a beautiful and interesting place West Virginia is and how much potential it has.”

He went on to say it is “an honor to be a part of an event like this that helps to showcase and support all the fantastic breweries and people that help to make West Virginia great.”

For more information on the Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival or to purchase tickets, visit http://wvbeerfest.com.

Staff writer Kirsten Reneau can be reached at 304.626.1404 or kreneau@theet.com

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