Savannah Craft Brew Fest this weekend 

Nirvana for beer lovers

The most recent beer renaissance is now complete. Over the past year or so, we've had homebrewing competitions, a new store dedicated to craft brews, probably a hundred beer dinners, and now — a craft beer festival comes to the region.

The Savannah Craft Brew Fest takes place this Labor Day weekend. They kick off the festivities Friday night with a beer and food pairing dinner, basically a gift from God, with local southern rock band Junkyard Angel providing the heavenly tunes.

Saturday night, the grand tasting takes center stage as more than 120 of the country's finest microbrews will be sampled and judged, and it pays to be responsible with designated drivers getting in for only $10. Participating breweries includde New Belgium, Bell's Brewery, Harpoon, Moon River (of Savannah), Abita, Allagash, Brooklyn Brewery, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog, Fordham, Full Sail Brewing Co., Highland Brewing Company, Kona, Lagunitas, Lakefrotn, Left Hand, Magic Hat, Old Dominion, Original Sin, Oskar Blues, Red Hook, Rogue, Samuel Adams, Schmaltz Brewing Company, Sierra Nevada, Southampton, Stone Brewing Co., Terrapin, Stoudts, Thomas Creek, Victory, Widmer Brothers, and Woodchuck. It's an exciting list of breweries, particularly since none of them seem to be the pseudo-craft breweries from the big beer corporations that sometimes show up at beer festivals.

Other events include a golf tournament Friday afternoon (cigars welcome) and a Craft Beer 101 workshop where you can learn to whip up your own award-winning cerveza. Most of the events will be held at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa and the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Prices and more event details are at the festival's website (savannahcraftbrewfest.com). Fortunately you'll have Monday off, so make every night count.

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