Dig Baton Rouge

Beer Me

By Holly A. Phillips

As the unofficial tailgating capital of the world, we’re no strangers to beer. However, it’s a rarity when you get more than 200 different brews in one spot—all available for tasting.

Hop-filled dreams are becoming a reality on Saturday, March 29, from 3:30-6 p.m., when Zapp’s International Beer Festival opens its gates at the LSU Rural Life Museum.

For the tenth consecutive year, attendees can taste more than 200 types of beer, including foreign and domestic ales, many of which are homebrews.

There are 200 vendors that attend the beer festival, and each vendor brings at least five gallons of each product. So, if one brew club brings 40 different brews, that’s roughly 13 kegs for just one vendor…which equals one giant party, if you ask me.

While the variety of beer is outstanding, ranging in flavor from jalapeno and chocolate to crawfish boil and strawberry Pop-Tart, the atmosphere also contributes to the event’s success.

“The LSU Rural Life Museum, often referred to as ‘Louisiana’s best kept secret,’ is located on property donated to LSU by Ione, Steele and Pike Burden,” said Elizabeth McInnis, Marketing director for the LSU Rural Life Museum. “Founded in 1970, special care has been taken to preserve the rural setting and feel of ‘days gone by,’ as part of the Burden Family’s vision for the museum and gardens.”

While the festival grounds are large, tickets are limited to just 2,000 to avoid overcrowding. They are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis for $35 each.

McInnis said the event sells out each year, sometimes well before the day of the event.

While beer is certainly the focus of the festival, there is also live music, and food, including jambalaya, and several cases of Zapp’s potato chips, of course.

All attendees receive a five-ounce tasting cup upon entering the festival. From there, it’s a free-for-all, as far as which beers to taste, and re-taste.

And while the festival doesn’t host a contest for favorite beer, it’s usually obvious when the popular ones run out first.

“The beer clubs share information with each other,” said McInnis. “Some of them compete against themselves, for bragging rights.”

McInnis said the Beer Festival has also been used as a test market, and Zapp’s hosted a contest during the event one year to name a new flavor of chips, “VooDoo.”

For tickets, or more information, call the Rural Life Museum at 225.765.2437. Please note that you must be over 21, and have a valid I.D. to attend the Beer Festival.



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