North Mississippi’s first craft beer fest was a big success

tupelo signWell, the weather sucked, but nothing else did as Rhizome Productions kicked off the inaugural Tupelo Craft Beer festival. March 2 in Mississippi is usually Spring like, but not this year. I’m not sure it ever got over 36, and it snowed half the day. Yes. Snow. In Mississippi. In March. Obviously, the beer fest weather gods have a sense of humor… Nashville’s 12 South Winter Warmer beer fest (also a Rhizone event) was held on a balmy 73 degree December day. Regardless of the weather, Matt Leff’s Rhizome Productions throws the best damn beer fest anywhere.

YazooHopProjectDeliveryJune & I made the trip to Tupelo to help with the festivities and we’re glad we made the trip. Our good friends Neil & Ivan from Yazoo made the trip down from Nashville with a delicious cask of Sly Rye Porter with Cocoa Nibs. They also brought down a tricked out tricycle to give away, and before the drawing Neil used it to deliver fresh Hop Project. (Neil is really shy and hates to draw attention to himself. Not.) We enjoyed several beers not available in the Nashville market. Of course Mississippi’s three breweries were there, the stalwart Lazy Magnolia, and startups Lucky Town and Crooked Letter. I’m glad to report the MS breweries are making some great beer. We also got to try some great beer from Kansas, Missouri, Alabama & Arkansas that we can’t get in TN: Tall Grass, Crown Valley, Back Forty and Diamond Bear, respectively. All were mighty fine beers. We hadn’t tried any of those beers yet (except Lazy Magnolia) and enjoyed them. There were the usuals too, the big boys — you know the names… Sam, Sierra, Widmer, Goose Island, North Coast, even Shiner (whose farmhouse ale is not to shabby). Also, our good friends in Ponderay, Idaho sent down some Laughing Dog to enjoy. Their Anubis Imperial Coffee Porter is really good, btw.

mattLeffTupeloTupelo was a great host and the attendees were great, friendly folks. I wasn’t sure how a craft beer fest would go over in an area that still mostly prefers the BMC lite beers, but folks were digging the great beer. It just proves craft beer is the future. If you can sell craft beer in northeast MS, you can sell it anywhere. (Trust me, I have a long history and intimate knowledge of the Tupelo area… spent a lot of time in Pontotoc.) It doesn’t hurt that Matt Leff and the Rhizome Productions crew put on a top-notch, perfectly executed, thoroughly enjoyable beer fest. Can’t wait until the next one, the East Nashville Beer Fest. It’s sold out, but you can probably find tickets if you look around Craigslist.