Midwest Beerfest too big for old venue

Organizers of the Midwest Beerfest realized they had a problem during last year’s event — but it was a good problem.

The event, which each fall fills Century II’s Exhibition Hall with vendors serving up samples of more than 350 beers from around the world, drew a massive crowd last year. It was so massive, in fact, that it was hard to move around. See the photo I snapped here as evidence.

So the 12th annual Midwest Beerfest, scheduled for Sept. 22, will move to the much bigger Expo Hall. The date, beer fans will notice, is earlier than normal. Typically, the Beerfest takes place in October. But scheduled conflicts at Century II necessitated the date change.

Last year's Midwest Chickenfest contenders.

The event, as usual, will include food from local restaurants as well as a chicken wing contest, which the public can participate in.  This year, organizers also have added a “Reserve Room,” which will feature higher-end, higher alcohol-content beers plus food from the DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport. Tickets to that room are an additional $25 and must be reserved in advance by calling 316-682-5502.

The day before the grand tasting, on Friday, Sept. 21, three different beer dinners will be staged: A Free State Brewery dinner at the Wichita Marriott, an Empyrean Bewing Company dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport, and a New Belgium Brewing Co. Dinner at Larkspur. The dinners will be at 7 p.m. and are $55 a person. The menus are available online at www.midwestbeerfest.com. 

Tickets to the Sept. 22 Grand Tasting are $40 and can be purchased at Century II’s WichitaTix box office, by calling 316-219-4TIX or online at www.wichitatix.com.