The Ready, Set, Growl Beer Festival presented by Whole Foods Tap Room will take place in Juilliard Park in Santa Rosa on Sunday, August 24 between 11am and 3pm. The beer festival will be in conjunction with the Santa Rosa Marathon. Last year the marathon had 4,000 participants and another few thousand spectators.

The beer garden near the finish line was a big hit. So much so that it encouraged Orhan Sarabi, race director, to team up with longtime Russian River Beer Revival organizer, Mark LaGris to plan for a full on beer festival. Some breweries that are already committed include Lagunitas, Bear Republic, Firestone, Faction, Bison, Auburn Alehouse, 101 North, Ruth McGowan’s, Out of Bounds, Warped, Hangar 24, Ninkasi, Stumptown, Dogfish Head, Fogbelt, Sonoma Cider and the list goes on.

Home brewed beer made by some of the best brewers in the Sonoma Beerocrats will be on full display as well. Sonoma Beerocrats is an American Home Brewers Association sanctioned home brewing club based in Sonoma County, California. Attendees will make the decision on who is making the best home brew the day of the event.

The price of admission will be $45 and only a $20 upgrade fee for those participating in the marathon, half marathon or 5K. Simply click on this link https://truegrit.webconnex.com/beerfestival2014 to take you to the secure online ticket sales page.

Those of you that purchase your tickets before July 25 will receive a growler and an official beer festival t-shirt along with ‘all you can taste’ beer samples and limited food tasting samples. You will have the option to purchase additional food from Belly Left Coast Kitchen & Tap Room and BBQ Smokehouse Bistro. Keep in mind that most festivals don’t give you a t-shirt or growler let alone both.

Orhan and Mark have asked me to assist them in different aspects of the festival and have agreed to give me all access to the behind the scenes of putting on a festival of this magnitude.

It should be noted that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the 31 Heroes Project. The following was taken from the official website: “Established to honor the 31 Americans killed in action on August 6, 2011, The 31Heroes Project serves to impact the lives of our nation’s heroes and their families, while remembering the fallen, through athletic endeavors and competitive fundraising events.”

I will be clapping those of you running in then I’ll meet you at the beer festival. For more details about the Inaugural Ready, Set, Growl Beer Festival go to the Santa Rosa Marathon Website and click on ‘Beer Festival’ located in the top banner. http://www.thesantarosamarathon.com/

– Peter Lopez