- When is Magic City Brewfest?
- Magic City Brewfest falls on the first weekend in June, which for 2016 means June 3rd and 4th.
- How much are tickets?
- General Admission tickets are $38 per session, bought in advance. (Yes, you can come to both sessions if you want, but you’ll need to buy 2 tickets.) At the gate these tickets will be $45.
- Designated Drivers, who cannot drink any alcohol and must accompany someone with a General Admission ticket, are $15. (You cannot buy a standalone DD ticket.) DD tickets are only sold at the gate. The price includes $5 worth of food tokens.
- When are the sessions?
- We have 2 sessions: Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
- What is the difference between the two sessions?
- The music line-up and the time of day. And though there may be some slight differences in some special beer tappings, the beer selection will be exceptional at both sessions. The quantity of beer will be the same at both sessions.
- Why are you charging for designated drivers?
- It wasn’t an easy decision but the two FTH brewfests were the only major beer festivals we know of that allowed designated drivers to get in for free. It’s no small expense and also contributes to overcrowding.
- Do you offer a group rate?
- No, sorry.
- Is this a “family-friendly” event?
- Absolutely, though we recommend the Saturday session as the most “family-friendly”. There’s no charge for children. Note that no-one under the age of 21 will be admitted without a parent or legal guardian. This means you cannot bring underage family members (including as a designated driver) unless you are the legal parent or guardian.
- Can I bring my dog?
- No, sorry.
- What about chairs?
- There will be some places to sit, but you’re welcome to bring a camp chair. We can’t take any responsibility for it though.
- What happens if it rains?
- You get wet, but the beer will continue to flow! We recommend checking the weather forecast and making appropriate preparations for sun, rain, hail, fog… The only likely weather event to affect MCBF is lightning – if that happens, we’ll need everyone to get under cover until the storm passes for safety. (No exceptions.) But it’s only happened once so far, and we haven’t closed yet!
- Do you have anything other than craft beer? What about regular beer, wine or liquor?
- While this is a craft beer event, we will offer some meads and ciders to drink along with the beers.
- Is any of the beer gluten free?
- For some reason we’ve been asked this a lot recently. The short answer is “possibly”. We will offer gluten free Ciders and Meads most beers are not gluten-free, simply because of the nature of beer (its primary ingredient is typically barley, or occasionally wheat). You’re welcome to check out the beer list and see if any meet your requirements though.
- What’s this “Penny a pour” business?
- State law and ABC regulations do not allow us to give “unlimited free samples.” The gate price gets you admission to the festival. Once inside you will be charged $0.01 for each beer sample, which we donate to charity. (In 2011, we raised $298.33 for tornado relief in Alabama.) We utilize the honor system so you can leave a quarter in one bucket and enjoy 25 samples.
- Where is Sloss Furnaces?
- Twenty 32nd Street North, Birmingham, AL 35222. There’s also a map on our front page.
- Will there be a fee for parking?
- The normal parking fee at Sloss is $5. That pays for parking staff and security to keep your vehicle safe.
- What about getting home?
- We highly recommend you plan to either take a taxi home (there will be plenty available at the end of each session) or to bring a designated driver.
- So we pay to get in, and then we drink all we want for free?
- State law and ABC regulations do not allow us to give “unlimited free samples.” The gate price gets you admission to the festival. Once inside, you will be charged $0.01 for each beer sample. We utilize the honor system. You can leave a quarter in one bucket and enjoy 25 samples.
The purpose of the Magic City Brewfest is for you to enjoy and sample a wide range of great beers.
- Why aren’t the brewery reps pouring my beer?
- We love for the breweries to come out to our festival! However, they are not allowed to serve beer at our event – even to themselves! This has to do with our ABC license – only the Green Shirt volunteers are allowed to serve alcohol. The good news is that the brewery reps are then free to talk to you about what you’re drinking!
- What about food?
- Food will be sold by the plate, priced in tokens. Keep an eye out for more information as restaurants get added.
- Why can’t we just pay cash to the food vendors?
- Unlike many similar events, we pay the local restaurants and caterers to participate in the Magic City Brewfest. Most of the money you pay for tokens goes to the vendors. However, we’re a single point of sale for sales tax purposes, and we also use tokens for other purchases not controlled by vendors such as soft drinks. Trust us, it just makes the accounting a lot easier at the end of the day on Saturday.
- Will there be non-alcoholic beverages served at the festival?
- Yes, there will be plenty of complimentary water available.
- Why do people linger in front of the beer tent and get in the way of me and my beer?
- This really is a common complaint from our guests. All I can say is that it happens at major beer festivals all over the country. Part of the fun of being at a brewfest is meeting and talking to the brewers and talking about craft beer. At the popular and local breweries, there’s going to be a crowd. If there’s a line behind you, please step to the side to talk to the folks at the brewery so the Green Shirt volunteers can serve the people behind you.
- How about some dump buckets if I just don’t like the beer I’m trying?
- Dump buckets will be available near each tent.
After the Brewfest
- If I like a particular beer, how can I find out where to buy it?
- We certainly want you to find beer you like that you will seek out after the festival! Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to compile a list of which bars and stores carry which beer. However, if you ask a Blue Shirted volunteer or the brewery rep, they can certainly point you in the right direction.
- Is there going to be an after-party this year?
- Yes, after the end of the second day the official after-party will be held at the J.Clyde.
- Why is there a line to get in?
- Many beer enthusiasts line up well in advance for the festival, and there will most likely be a line at the entrance to the Magic City Brewfest. An ID check of all who enter the festival is required. The line will move quickly if you have your ID out to make the age verification process run smoothly.
You must be 21+ with a valid photo ID to enter the festival, or be accompanying a parent or legal guardian who meets these requirements.
- Do you accept credit cards or checks?
- We do accept cash or major credit cards, but do not accept personal checks. There will not be an ATM on site.
Note: Tickets for at least 2 previous Magic City Brewfests sold out in advance. There were no on-site ticket sales. Last year we did have some tickets available at the gate, but please plan ahead!
- Don’t you think the festival is a little pricey?
- No. Not at all, actually. The truth is that the Magic City Brewfest is one of the best value beer festivals in the country. Similar festivals typically cost $40–$45. Ticket prices are set as low as possible while also being a successful fundraiser for Free the Hops.
- Will the fire truck be here again this year?
- Yes, the J. Clyde will be serving beers from their fire truck.
- Who are Free The Hops anyway?
- Free The Hops is a grassroots, non-profit organization whose mission is to help bring the highest quality beers in the world to Alabama. It was started in 2007 by Danner Kline, and has so far changed 3 major prohibitive laws: in 2009 we passed the Gourmet Beer Bill, which changed the permissible ABV from 6% to 13.9%, in 2011 we passed the Brewery Modernization Act, which removed some of the archaic restrictions on breweries, brewpubs and taprooms, and in 2012 we passed the Gourmet Bottle Bill, which allowed those specialty beers in 22oz and 750ml bottles.
In 2007 Alabama had exactly 1 working brewery. We now have over 28, with more breweries, taprooms and even brewpubs planned. To learn more, visit our webpage at www.freethehops.org.