Morgantown is the ultimate destination for a West Virginia getaway. The city has something for everyone whether it's rafting on the rapids of the Monongahela River or meeting new people at community festivals.
The Cabin Fever Craft Beer Fest is a brand new event on the West Virginia beer festival circuit. It will take place at the Mylan Park Community Center on Feb. 11th. The event is a celebration of West Virginia brewing and will feature only breweries from the state, including a few of the state's newest breweries. Paid admission to the event includes entry to the event and a souvenir tasting glass. Patrons will get to purchase snacks from local food vendors, and a marketplace will feature a variety of beer-related items for purchase. Games and activities will be set up for patrons, and WCLG Radio will be on hand doing a live broadcast. The event aims to help the community, and it will help local non-profit groups including PopShopWV (music academy) and Girls on the Run of North Central WV (an organization supporting and teaching young women). We got the chance to interview Kristina Szczyrbak, Festival Organizer, to talk about this brand new craft beer blowout.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
KS: 2017 is Cabin Fever Craft Beer Festival’s first year.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract?
KS: The fest is a 21-and-over event. It attracts people who enjoy experiencing new foods and celebrating Appalachian culture.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
KS: The event proudly features craft beer brewed in West Virginia. Some of the best, hand selected breweries in the region will be in attendance showcasing both their regular and seasonal products. The fest will feature five brand new breweries just recently licensed in West Virginia including Brew Keepers (Wheeling), Brewstel (Elkins), Parkersburg Brewing (Parkersburg), Pubstomper (Morgantown), and Sophisticated Hound (Princeton).
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
KS: The participating breweries will be competing in a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) competition during the event and winners will be announced around 3:00 pm that day. Attendees can expect unique tastings and food pairing experiences. There will be a handful of gourmet snack vendors presenting their treats including dessert hummus and flavored shell-and-all peanuts. Food vendors will be serving up dishes including cheesesteaks, pulled pork, and grilled chicken drummies.
The festival also hosts only the most eclectic and authentic merchant vendors in the region. Many are local artisans who have an Appalachian or craft beer theme in their products. There will be games set up to enjoy while sampling and eating. WCLG Radio, a premier sponsor, will be onsite providing entertainment while doing a live remote broadcast. MoTown Taxi will have a kiosk set up and cars at the ready to help attendees travel safely to and from the event.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
KS: Ticket holders coming from out of town should contact The Best Western Mountaineer Inn. It’s just three miles away from the venue, and they’re giving Cabin Fever ticket holders a discounted rate. Just call them at 1-304-599-5399, mention Cabin Fever, and ask for the discounted rate.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
KS: 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. According to the Brewer's Association, WV 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.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
KS: My goal in designing this event was to create a festival that I would want to attend. I hand-selected the breweries to include the newest in the state and sought out vendors that all carry Appalachian and beer themed products, many of them handmade. The food vendors all have some unique twist in their menus, and I've opened the festival to community groups that have some great ideas for exhibits including a local homebrewing club. One of the exhibits I'm most excited for is Brewstel's. It's a well established Brewshop + Hostel in Elkins that just got it's license to brew craft beer. They'll feature a pairing menu of really exciting food that will rotate with their selection of beer throughout the day. I'm going for the Happy Nancy Chicken & Bacon Wrap with Red Pepper Goat Sauce paired with their Downtown Maple Brown Ale.
For more information about the Cabin Fever Craft Beer Fest, please visit the event website.