With over 15 breweries in the Reno area, craft beer is one of the fastest-growing trends in the biggest little city. One local festival celebrating not only the local populace’s love for craft brews — but the national and international community — is the 23rd Annual Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival. The 2019 event will be held on Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15.
The festival, held yearly on Virginia Street in the heart of downtown Reno, is a celebration of barbeque and the beer that pairs so well with it, as well as some live music to help set the mood. The barbeque is prepared and supplied primarily by the Eldorado Resort Casino, but smaller booths, typically run by local businesses, also attend and set up their smokers and pits ready to feed and sell to attendees of the festival.
As the name implies, patrons aren’t just coming for the barbeque though, some may be looking to just enjoy some music. The festival stretches from around seventh street and stops just before second, and at each end of the festival, stages can be found. At any given time, one or both of these stages may be in use.
Blues is the genre mainly highlighted during the event but other musical acts have appeared in the past, including 90s rapper Vanilla Ice who performed at the 2018 festival. Musical talent for this year has yet to be announced but with acts such as Everclear and Smashmouth performing in the past, attendees can expect an interesting lineup of musicians and bands.
The majority of patrons coming out for the festival are most likely looking coming for the beer. According to VistiRenoTahoe’s website, the current lineup of breweries in attendance for the 2019 festival is up to 65, but that number is subject to change as the event approaches. Some of the breweries set to attend include Hop Valley Brewing Co., Lagunitas and local favorite Lead Dog Brewing. The breweries that set up shop along Virginia Street aren’t just doing it to showcase their beers though, they are also doing it for competition. Visitors to the festival are given a sheet of paper upon entry to be used to help score each brewery based on flavor and enjoyability. Votes are taken over a texting service and from the paper scorecards, votes are then tallied and awards are given out. The categories for this year’s festival have yet to be announced.
The festival is free and open to the public, but everything other than the music requires a payment to be enjoyed. A tasting package is offered to attendees who wish to sample from each of the attending breweries. If a package is purchased, visitors will pick up a wristband and a small cup for tasting at a centrally located booth inside of the event. The beer tasting package is arguably the best deal if you’re wanting to sample as many beers as possible. If you choose to opt out of the beer tasting package, patrons will need to buy “beer tokens” to be used at each beer sampling location they visit.
More information about the 23rd Annual Great BBQ, Brews and Blues festival can be found at https://www.eldoradoreno.com/event/events/great-eldorado-bbq-brews-blues-festival.
Ryan Freeberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.