The Keg Liquors Fest of Ale is now in its 14th year, serving craft and imported beers in a fun environment to raise money for a good cause in the form of annual donations to the WHAS Crusade for Children.
The festival, which reconvenes Saturday, June 1, at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater, raised $17,000 for the children’s charity last year and has raised a total of more than $100,000 over the course of the festival’s first 13 years.
Founder Todd Antz, who took over running the liquor store from his father, Keith, launched the festival because he saw a need — at the time, the only other beer festival in the Louisville area was the Brew at the Zoo. But he also found inspiration in growing up with a father who had been a Jeffersonville firefighter.
“When I was a kid, I was able to participate with the fire department in their collections for the Crusade,” Antz says. “One of my favorite memories was riding around in a fire truck and going door to door with him and the other firefighters carrying a fire boot and collecting money for the Crusade.”
The Crusade for Children is a well-known Louisville tradition that started in 1954. Established by WHAS-TV, the charity raises money for agencies, schools and hospitals to help make life better for children with special needs.
This year, the Fest of Ale will feature more than 250 craft and import ales for sampling, plus wine, ciders and hard sodas. Returning are the House of Hops area, featuring hop-forward beers, and the Sour Shack, offering a variety of sour ales.
In addition, several food vendors will be on hand, from Hull & Highwater, a nearby seafood restaurant, to Skyline Chili and Oh My Lollies, a gourmet popsicle vendor.
Helping to raise money will be the Put the Fire Out dunking booth, featuring several New Albany firefighters and other special guests taking the plunge for the Crusade.
An after-party will be held at Hull & Highwater, which is located just down the street from the festival, and to ensure attendees get to the festival and back safely, there will be shuttle rides available starting at Drake’s in St. Matthews and Pearl Street Taphouse in Jeffersonville. A round-trip ride is $15, which includes a pint of beer and a snack.
In addition, a Stay and Play package is available that includes a stay at Marriott Town Place Suites North, a pair of shuttle passes from nearby Pearl Street Taphouse and complimentary breakfast at the hotel the following morning.
A percentage of all proceeds will be donated to the Crusade through an ongoing partnership with the New Albany Fire Department. Antz recalls that when he was helping his father collect funds as a kid, there was a sense of competition between local fire departments as to which department could collect the most donations. Fest of Ale joins the fray yet again.
“Being a very competitive person, I loved being part of it,” Antz says. “When we started the festival 14 years ago, making the Crusade for Children the beneficiary was one of the easiest decisions to make.”
Advanced admission tickets to Fest of Ale, which runs 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, start at $45. All tickets can be purchased online.