The Huntsville Chapter of Free the Hops is once again giving North Alabama a top tier beer festival experience on Friday, May 8 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m. with the seventh annual Rocket City Brewfest at the Historic Huntsville Depot and Roundhouse (320 Church Street, Huntsville).
Each year, the folks in Huntsville’s chapter of Free the Hops scour the state in search of only the best craft beer offerings to feature at their annual Rocket City Brewfest (RCBF). With a firm focus on local and regional breweries, RCBF allows attendees to become more familiar with Alabama-made brews and the people who make them. This year’s event will even introduce the public to Green Bus Brewing, Huntsville’s newest brewing operation, as they debut their first production beer. Beyond the fantastic Alabama brews, this event also features countless out-of-state offerings from world-class breweries such as Against the Grain Brewery (Louisville, Kentucky), Ballast Point Brewing (San Diego, California), Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, California), SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia), and many more. You can check out the growing lineup of confirmed breweries by clicking here, and **UPDATE** this year’s Build Your Own Beer (BYOB) List is now live with almost 300 craft beer, cider and mead offerings listed. Check it out! **UPDATE**
In addition to all of the amazing beer pouring at this event, RCBF is also a celebration of local restaurants and musical artists. The following Huntsville-area eateries will be set up at the fest to serve tasty grub and non-alcoholic beverages to the masses:
- Earth Fare – providing free water to all attendees
- Anaheim Chili
- Bandito Southside
- Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizza
- Fred Bread
- New Orleans Lunchbox
- Rocket City Expresso
- Schnitzel Ranch
- Sugar Belle Truck
Food is available at an additional cost and can be purchased with tokens sold at the Guest Services Tent. Bring cash. For more information on this, click here to view Question 7 on the brewfest’s FAQ page.
RBCF has a reputation for attracting some of the best musical talent in North Alabama, and this year is no different. This year’s lineup includes The Gentlemen Bastards and Dirt Circus on Friday, and Josh Allison and The River Hollow on Saturday.
If you happen to enjoy a little friendly competition, RCBF will also host the first round of Redstone MWR’s Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament for the first time this year. The contest will consist of single elimination rounds held at each RCBF session. The top 3 winners will receive prizes and advance to the next round of the tournament held at Firehouse Pub. You must be a RCBF ticketholder to participate in the tournament during the fest.
Advance tickets are available now for the price of $38 (plus fees) per person, and you can arrange yours online through Ticketmaster or by visiting one of the participating retail locations. If the event does not sell out in advance, tickets will be available at the gate day of the event for $45 per person. Your ticket gains you entrance into the event for one session, a souvenir tasting glass, unlimited samples**, and access to the live entertainment. Designated drivers are also welcome to experience the event without beer samples for the reduced ticket price of $10 (plus fees). After expenses, proceeds raised from ticket sales go to Free the Hops to fund craft beer education initiatives and to support the Alabama Brewers Guild in their efforts to change Alabama beer legislation.
Rocket City Brewfest is easily one of the best craft beer experiences in the state of Alabama, and I can honestly say that I look forward to this event each and every year. The reasons are many: beautiful venue, stellar beer list, some of the best beer festival volunteers around, fantastic set up and quick lines. With an attention to detail that I believe is rarely matched, the organizers of RCBF take great pride in making every attendee’s experience their number one priority and it truly shows. If you are a craft beer lover and anywhere near Huntsville on May 8 and 9, believe me when I say that you need to be at Rocket City Brewfest. Get your tickets today before this thing has any chance of selling out, and I’ll see you all there. Prost!
(** ABC regulations do not allow for unlimited free samples, so you will be required to pay a penny per pour. This is done on the honor system, so you can throw a dollar or two in the bucket at the first station you visit and that will cover you for the entire festival. The money collected from the penny buckets will go to benefit a local charity.)