Ten Arkansas microbreweries traveled the dirt roads of rural Logan County to a beautiful little area locally known as Cottontown, just northwest of Subiaco Saturday.
They traveled from all across the state, bringing with them clientele from their region for the Cottontown Brews beer and music festival. The event was largely the vision and effort of PrestonRose Farm and brewing company, located near Midway. Owners Mike and Liz Preston have been a huge success in the short time they have been open, drawing the respect of the industry and numerous publications.
The microbrewery industry has seen a significant increase, and the stories of those in attendance were each unique. The Preston’s hold degrees in Nuclear Engineering and Microbiology, another was a group of four guys who had been home brewers, and yet another, Stone’s Throw Brewing Company from Little Rock was started with a Kickstarter campaign. They come from all walks of life and bring a local culture to the taste, ingredients, and even the names.
While you can find the Heritage IPA from Preston Rose on tap locally, they have locally grown ingredients and local names like Abbey Pale Ale and Sand Ridge IPA that connect to the local community.
Food trucks were a staple for the event, with regional favorites Wonderbus and Cypress Knee joining local Cottontown BBQ and Zippity’s Son Cones, who made non-alcoholic adult-flavored beverages for the designated drivers. Wonderbus even stayed overnight to feed those who were camping at the festival.
Five bands took the stage, offering a variety of music and entertainment. From the lighthearted and satirical lyrics of Poor Ol Uncle Fatty to regional favorite Jamie Lou and the Hullabaloo, there was something for everyone. Dry Town closed down the evening with sensational covers of hits from different genres while engaging the crowd into the evening.
The beer festival was a four-hour event, from 4p.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday, with music and food carrying on into the night.
The festival brought in a largely out of town crowd. Local vendors, event staff, and volunteers all commented on how many people found the rural venue. One vendor commented on how events such as this help support small business in Paris, with out of town money being invested over the course of the event. When Lost Forty, the largest microbrewery in the state, shows up and is engaged, you know you have done something right. Their Love Honey Bock, made with 120 pounds of honey in each batch, is the number one craft beer in the state of Arkansas.