Cherry beer will help kick off Cherry Blossom Festival at Biergarten event

Telegraph correspondentMarch 14, 2014 

Laurentz und die Katzen, a traditional Bavarian band, will perform during Beers, Brats & Brushstrokes Biergarten.

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A Bavarian-themed party with art and cherry-infused beer will highlight a new Cherry Blossom Festival event.

Beers, Brats & Brushstrokes Biergarten will take place Thursday at the Blacksmith Shop. The event precedes the official start of Macon’s signature 10-day festival but will unofficially kick things off.

“It is going to be the very first night that all of our visiting dignitaries are going to be in town,” said Sean Pritchard, business manager for the Cherry Blossom Festival.

“The festival officially kicks off that next morning at 11:30 a.m.”

The event also will kick off the release of a new Macon Beer Company offering.

“We have a beer that we’re going to be doing every spring -- a seasonal beer that is for the Cherry Blossom Festival,” said Cory Smith, co-owner of Macon Beer Company. “That event will be the first time we release it. It will be the first chance anyone’s had to get their hands on it.”

Smith described the beer as a blond ale that has been brewed with 200 pounds of cherries in each batch.

“The beer itself -- the base beer is blond, which is really, really light yellow colored beer,” he said. “But when we put those cherries in there it turns it kind of red so it’s a really neat looking kind of beer. ... There are only 100 kegs of it available. It’s a limited deal, so once it’s gone, it’s gone until next spring.”

Bavarian-inspired bratwurst plates also will be available. The event is free but food and drink tickets will be $5 each with beers priced at one ticket and the food ranging from one to two tickets, Pritchard said.

There will be music from Laurentz und die Katzen, a traditional Bavarian band that was recommended by the chamber of commerce in Helen, he said.

“They said, ‘Here’s this great band, everyone here loves them,’ ” Pritchard said. “Lawrence and the Cats is the English translation.”

The final piece of the event will be artwork for sale.

“Macon Arts Alliance is curating a regional and local folk art gallery,” Pritchard said. “It will basically be a one-day gallery at the event featuring regional folk art items, not at all necessarily Bavarian or German theme, just funky folk art.”

He said dignitaries visiting for the Cherry Blossom Festival will likely be in the costume of their various festivals and they are encouraging people to dress up in traditional Bavarian wear, such as the suspender-looking lederhosen.

“We’re hoping a lot of people dress up but you have to be kind of bold to do that,” Pritchard said.

The idea for the event came from the Macon Octoberfest, which helped with some of the planning.

“We were already in the planning stages for 2014 then and we thought it would be fun to do this on a much smaller scale and from there all of the pieces sort of fit together,” Pritchard said. “Macon Beer Company said they’re wanting to make their second release a cherry ale and they’d like to coincide the release with the festival.”

In addition to the new, seasonal beer, the Macon Beer Company also will have its previously released beer, Macon Progress, for sale.

They also are planning to have T-shirts available that will say, “Come for the trees, stay for the beer,” Smith said.

Beers, Brats & Brushstrokes Biergarten

When: 6:30 p.m. March 20

Where: The Blacksmith Shop, 665 Poplar St.

Cost: Free admission; food and drink tickets $5 each

Information: www.cherryblossom.com, 478-741-0040

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