By Grace Usher
The 19th Annual Chillin’ N’ Swillin’ took over London Bridge Beach Saturday afternoon.
The event has typically been venued at Rotary Park but moved to a new location this year. The new location was no obstacle to beer lovers who flocked in droves to the event.
This year, there were more than 20 beer and food vendors participating. Live music from local cover band, CrossCutt, kept the energy alive. T-shirts, merch and the famed pretzel necklaces were being sold and proceeds benefited local charities.
The annual event showcases major and micro-breweries from across the country. Local breweries present for the event were: College Street Brewhouse, Mudshark Brewery, Hangar 24 Brewery, and soon-to-be-open Black Bridge Brewery.
In addition to Havasu locals, other Arizona-based breweries were accounted for including: Kingman’s Rickety Cricket, Prescott Brewing Co., Lumberyard Brewing Co., and Mother Road Brewing Co.
“[Kingman’s] Rickety Cricket has the American-style Anaconda Squeeze. It was delicious” said local resident, Kayley Galati.
Many staple beer names also served up their brews including Shock Top, Goose Island, Golden Road, Four Peaks, Elysiam, Stone Brewing, Ace Premium Craft Cider, Belching Beaver, Blue Moon and Bootlegger’s Brewery.
Festival goers were given tickets and a 2-oz. taster mug, just enough to get a taste of each crafted brew.
The five-hour event was not only for excited beer connoisseurs, but also a competition for vendors to showcase their beers. The two categories for the event were: People’s Choice and People’s Choice Guest Brewery.
For the third time, and twice consecutively, Barley Brothers’ Brewery won the “People’s Choice” award. This year, the prize was awarded to their debuted Organic Pop Tart Strawberry Blonde Ale.
Barley Brother’s is the oldest brewery in Lake Havasu and the only brewery that is a traditional pub style – meaning they do not distribute their craft beers outside of the bar and restaurant.
“[Our favorite part] is being outside, watching everyone have fun, enjoying our great weather and trying everyone else’s beer.” said server and daughter of head brewer, Marlene Schwartz.
For the People’s Choice Guest Brewery, Black Bridge Brewery took home the prize for their Date with Poison beer. The brew is an exclusive for Lake Havasu and will only be available at their soon-to-open Tap House.
In upcoming months, the Kingman-based brewery will be opening the Tap House in the former Pacific Buffet building (next to Rosati’s Pizza). This was Black Bridge’s fourth Chillin’ N’ Swillin’ beer festival.
The annual Chillin’ N’ Swillin beer festival is a staple for the event season.