By Jeff Maisey
There are so many craft beer festivals these days. Finding a way to stand out from the field is becoming increasing difficult.
Enter a newly hatched festival scheduled for Saturday, May 14. It’s called Common Grounds, a collaborative brewers’ festival.
“Common Grounds started with a conversation me and my wife were having about how we could do that would really bring people together,” said Commonwealth Brewing Company owner Jeramy Biggie. “We thought wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get all of the area breweries to come together and agree to do new collaboration beers. The way the Virginia ABC laws work is not always profitable for one brewery to collaborate with another. You’re only allowed to sell it in one tasting room. We came up with the concept of doing two collaborations: one at your location and one at the other brewery’s. And then bring all of those to the festival at a big campground near the oceanfront called the Holiday Travel Park.”
Participating breweries include Alewerks, The Veil, Bold Mariner, O’Connor, Reaver Beach, Commonwealth, Big Ugly, Coelacanth, Back Bay, Wasserhund, Pleasure House, Home Republic, Young Veterans, Green Flash, and The Answer Brewpub.
The yet-to-open Oozelfinch brewery will make a beer-tastic debut of sorts by collaborating with Back Bay Brewing Company for the event. .
Commonwealth is collaborating with both Reaver Beach and Big Ugly.
“Our collaboration with Reaver Beach is going to be a traditional Slavic style beer,” explained Biggie. “Those were beers that used any sort of leftover fermentables you might have in your home. They were typically low ABV. They used spices in some, fruit in others. It’s a very wide ranging style. We’re going a delicious 5% blonde beer. We’re going to do a kettle sour lacto-ferment so it’ll have tartness, We’re going to put it on citrus and dry-hop it.”
After the festival it will be exclusively available at Reaver Beach’s tasting room.
All the beers featured at Common Grounds are not the regular flagships. They are unique, one-time creative collaborations that bring the breweries together, and help the brewers learn from each other. “We’re a brewing brotherhood and we don’t get to be together very often because everyone’s working seven days a week,” Biggie said. “We reserved 14 cabins adjacent to the festival site for the breweries. The brewers after the festival will hold a bonfire.”
Festival goers are encourage to pitch a tent for the night at the campground. Food trucks will be on location and music will be performed by Strange Rootz.
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Common Grounds Beer Festival
Holiday Travel Park, Virginia Beach
Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the gate