Draft beer is served directly from Burnt Hickory Brewery's truck, "The Rowdy."
Photo: Mark Kocher / mark@mkocher.com
Photo: Mark Kocher / mark@mkocher.com

Kennesaw ups the ante with April beer festival

Kennesaw aims to make a big play on the beer festival scene in April.

The city in north Cobb County is upping the ante for its annual Depot Park Beer Festival by pulling in some top brews from across the state and the U.S.

“We’re making it a VIP festival, where we have the best of the best beers in Georgia,” says Greg Niznik, event coordinator.

Among the 70-plus festival beers will be hard-to-find gems from Michigan’s Founders and Kentucky’s Against the Grain. And you’ll find exclusive collaboration beers between Kennesaw’s Burnt Hickory and other Georgia breweries.

The biggest get is coming from Tampa, Fla. Cigar City Hunahpu, an imperial stout aged on cacao nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon and two kinds of chili peppers, doesn’t normally see distribution in Georgia, but there will be a keg at Depot Park.

And since the festival coincides with hometown brewery Burnt Hickory’s fourth anniversary, they are supplying more than 50 of their own kegs, some of which are festival exclusives.

KISS tribute band Mr. Speed headlines the live music acts, which include The Unsatisfied, Genki Genki Panic, Georgia Shine Band and El Caminos.

Activities include homebrew demonstrations. Food will be available for purchase.

Tickets are $75 through Xorbia for access to all the festival beers. Those who want to enjoy the festival but not the premium, rare brews can get a second-tier $45 ticket  ($20 designated driver tickets will be available on-site). A portion of the festival’s proceeds will go to Shriner's Hospitals for Children, which provide specialized care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate.

1-5 p.m. April 2. $75, $45. Depot Park, 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. www.depotparkbeerfest.com

More spring beer festivals

Suwanee American Craft Beer Fest. Sample more than 300 American craft beers, including seasonal and hard-to-find brews in Suwanee. Compete in a cornhole tournament or play other backyard games, like beer pong, while you listen to live music. Food will be available for purchase.

1-5 p.m., March 19. $55 (online), $60 (day of event), $110 (VIP), $10 (designated driver). Town Center Park, 330 Town Center Ave., Suwanee. suwaneebeerfest.com.

Hogs and Hops 2016. Part beer fest and part food fest, Hogs and Hops celebrates the crossroads of barbecue and beer.

1-5 p.m. April 16. Historic 4th Ward Park. 680 Dallas St NE, Atlanta. VIP entry at noon. General admission (one beer and one barbecue tasting) $15 advance, $20 after April 7, $25 day of event. Additional food $3 per sample, beers $5. Beer-only ticket $40 (all beer samples, $3 barbecue tastings), VIP $60 advance, $70 after April 7, $80 day of event (all beer samples, four barbecue tastings). www.hogsandhopsatlanta.com/

Sweetwater 420 Festival. The beer flows at this event, named for Sweetwater’s flagship pale ale. But the 420 Festival puts more emphasis on music, culture and celebrating Earth Day. Headliners include Kid Rock and Ludacris.

4:20 p.m, April 22-24. $89-$138. 265 Park Ave. W NW, Atlanta. sweetwater420fest.com

BBQ & Brews Festival. This inaugural event in Cherokee County puts craft beer and a barbecue competition together for a worthy cause. All profits benefit #ForCanton, a nonprofit group dedicated to fighting poverty. This family-friendly festival will have a play area for kids, plus a cornhole tournament, food trucks and live music.

Noon-8 p.m. April 30. $5, children under 5 free. Main Street, Canton. www.facebook.com/bbqandbrews/

Roswell Beer Festival. Get access to more than 300 brews and sample food from some of Roswell's best restaurants. All proceeds benefit STAR House Foundation, which serves local, at-risk youth.

2-6 p.m. April 30. $50, VIP $100. Roswell Town Square, 610 Atlanta St., Roswell.  www.roswellbeerfestival.com

The Wrecking Bar’s Wild, Wild Beer Fest. The wild ales in this festival’s title refer to specialty yeast strains that yield complex, unusual flavors. Throw in a little bacteria and you get sour ales, too. Both styles are celebrated at this event, which is limited to 300 people.

Noon-4 p.m. May 7. $69. Wrecking Bar Brewpub, 292 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta. www.wreckingbarbrewpub.com

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