The Eastern Shore’s only beer festival returns this Saturday, May 7, when 99 Bottles of Beer on the Lawn kicks off at Southern Napa from 1-4 p.m. in Daphne.
“Each year, as more people learn to enjoy craft beers, this event gets bigger and bigger,” according to Jim Cox of Southern Napa.
That certainly holds true this year.
Celebrating its fourth year on the lawn in Olde Towne Daphne, 99 Bottles is a showcase for the wide variety of beers available in Lower Alabama. Saturday’s event will highlight brews from more than 40 breweries, including the local debut of Band of Brothers Brewing Co.
The Tuscaloosa brewery’s offerings are only available on draft, and while Cox admits they like to highlight beer that can be sold in bottles or cans, “when we get a chance to debut a beer, we always want to jump on it, even if we can’t offer it to take home.”
To Cox and the folks at Southern Napa, exposing festival-goers to new breweries is what 99 Bottles is all about.
Band of Brothers will be pouring four beers at the festival — Voodoo Mild, Monk on the Radio, White Widow IPA and Station One Saison.
Heretic Brewing Co. from Fairfield, California, will also be making its Lower Alabama debut. Owner and brewer Jamil Zainasheff may not be a household name, but he has been a major influence on homebrewers, including myself, for years. Zainasheff’s podcasts and books, such as “Brewing Classic Styles,” are staples of the homebrewing community, and seeing Zainasheff’s creations distributed here is a real treat. Three Heretic beers — Evil Cousin Double IPA, Petit Rouge and Chocolate Hazelnut Porter — will be pouring at 99 Bottles.
In addition to the 99 Bottles lineup, three “celebrity brewmasters” have teamed up with Fairhope Brewing Company to pour some special brews at the festival. Kelly Jones, morning anchor at Local 15, will feature KJ’s White Hot Chocolate Mocha Stout; Dan Brennan of the 95KSJ Breakfast Club will feature his Peachy’s Pale Ale; and Sean Sullivan of FM Talk 1065 will be pouring his Delta Rat IPA.
Advance tickets are $45.01 and include a six-pack sampler pack of beers they are pouring at the festival. If you wait until Saturday, however, when tickets are $45 at the door, you’ll be leaving empty-handed.
“It’s a cool thing we wanted to do to encourage people to get their tickets ahead of time,” Cox said. “I wanted to reward the people who committed to buy their tickets in advance.”
Live music will be provided by Brett LaGrave, and Will’s Farm Fresh Food Truck will be onsite to provide food.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Baldwin County Humane Society, which has been a charity partner of Southern Napa since the fine-wine store opened in 2012. “We will always continue to support those who are champions for rescue animals,” Cox said.
The event will be held rain or shine, and while rain has been an issue in the past, Cox was confident Monday the weather would cooperate. “I think we’re in for a good weekend.”
Dan Murphy is a Certified Cicerone® and the founding brewer at Fairhope Brewing Co. Follow him on Instagram @Grand_Krewe and on Twitter @Beer_Man_Dan.