The tent is going up again outside of the Lantern Tap House and that means one thing to those familiar with the South Perry District pub: a whole lot of beer is flowing.
This time around, the tent is for the second annual Winter Beer Fest, the most recent beer event from the Lantern, coming on the heels of a packed fresh hop festival in the fall. Lantern owner Mike Dolmage says the festival, set for this Thursday through Sunday, should have more than 40 different beers from 23 breweries from throughout the region. For Dolmage, the seasonal festivals are a chance to bring the neighborhood together to taste brews that typically don't stick around too long.
"The Perry neighborhood is an active and vibrant neighborhood that really gets behind us," he says. "With our spirit of being a taphouse, we like to celebrate the times of year when special beers roll out."
Dolmage says curating the extensive beer list is a simple task. He trusts the breweries — many of which he and his wife have visited in person — to bring in whatever beers they think will best fit the festival, and he says that process has yet to let him down. This year's selection should offer a variety of interpretations of the "winter beer" designation.
"A winter beer helps bring alive those senses of wintertime nostalgia — a fireplace or snow falling," says Dolmage. "It's awesome to be in the Northwest because we'll have Belgian-inspired beers, big porters and stouts, and then there's some that have reds that have a hoppy note to them."
The festival, held this year in a larger (and heated) tent, also features live music each night and something called a Slow Track Bike Challenge on Saturday (noon to 3 pm) organized by bike-loving New Belgium Brewing, in which contestants try to bike down a 20-foot track as slowly as possible. ♦
Winter Beer Fest • Thu-Fri, Jan. 15-16, 4-10 pm; Sat-Sun, Jan. 17-18, noon-10 pm • The Lantern Tap House • Free admittance, $2 tastings, $4-$5 full pours, $15 tasting package • 1004 S. Perry • lanterntaphouse.com • 315-9531