Cheers to Beers and LarryFest
As Father’s Day approaches, many a dad will contemplate how they’ll be remembered and what legacy they’ll leave. While most probably don’t envision a huge beer festival thrown in their honor, friends and family say it’s exactly what Larry Hartzog would’ve wanted – especially since the proceeds go to Northshore Humane Society. Now in its ninth year, the Larry Hartzog Twisted Beer Fest and Homebrew Competition (LarryFest for short) has grown into a regional event held at Pelican Park in Mandeville. From humble beginnings with Larry’s fellow members of homebrew club, The Mystic Krewe of Brew, gathering at a Covington pizza joint, LarryFest is now a major fundraiser for the local no-kill shelter. Says Scott Bernier, CEO of NHS, “Besides giving the community some great fun and great beer, as a private nonprofit, we rely on fundraising events like LarryFest to achieve and continue our life-saving missions.”
Held inside the air-conditioned Castine Center, organizers are quick to point out that it’s the coolest June festival – in more ways than one! They also tout a Beer Garden with over 200 samplings from homebrew and commercial breweries from around the state. Larry’s wife Nancy, who was instrumental in establishing the festival at the behest of her children as a way to honor their dad, says the festival’s variety and enthusiastic participants are a true testament to him. As such, LarryFest is always held on the weekend after Father’s Day and this year will fall on Saturday, June 25 starting at 4 pm with VIP ticket-holder entry at 3 pm. Just as Larry was known for his “off-the-wall ingredients and wild homebrew concoctions,” the festival celebrates a wide variety of beer styles and flavor profiles. Thriving brewmasters from the growing craft and specialty beer industry such as Chafunkta Brewing Company, Gnarley Barley, Abita, Port Orleans, Bayou Teche, Urban South and Great Raft will show off their most popular recipes along with some new twists to try out on enthusiastic taste testers. And homebrewers will have their chance to shine, too, via a people’s choice tasting competition. Each paid ticket-holder into the festival will be able to vote on their favorite home-brewed beer. The homebrewer who receives the most votes will be crowned the winner of the 9th Annual Larry Hartzog’s Twisted Beer Fest. That talented homebrewer will receive a first-place medal, recognition on the festival’s website and, most importantly, bragging rights until the next LarryFest winner is crowned.
Attendees can also enjoy delicious food and music. And since festival beneficiary, Northshore Humane Society, will be out with their adoptable dogs, organizers have decided to make the whole event dog-friendly and invite attendees to bring their furry friends! Pet-related vendors will also be on hand so pups can have as much fun as their people. Admission includes all beer samplings, with added special food and beer samplings for VIP ticket holders. While all canines are welcomed, organizers emphasize that humans must be 21 or older to attend the fest. Reduced price designated driver tickets are also available to make sure everyone stays safe as they enjoy the day’s offerings.As for Larry Hartzog’s family, friends and fellow brewers who work so hard to honor his memory while supporting a great cause, surely their hearts will be warmed each time a glass is raised and a homeless animal is saved. Cheers!