Longwood Conservatory Will Host Beer & Wine Dinner the Night Before the Kennett Brewfest

I’ve teased this a bit in past posts, but now things are definite enough that I can reveal, if not everything, at least the broad picture.

There will be a high profile beer and wine dinner the night before the Kennett Brew Fest at the world-famous Longwood Gardens Conservatory a few minutes east of town on Rt. 1. That’s Friday, Oct. 3 for the dinner, Saturday Oct. 4 for the fest.

My old home town be goin’ even more upscale and high class.

Friday evening’s Dinner will be one of the Sam Calagione – Marnie Old “He Said Beer, She Said Wine” competitions, but with a very prominent beer twist overall (the link, by the way, is to a UTube conversation between the two so be aware that there’s, you know, sound, in case you’re reading this at work).

At a Reception before dinner and during a Silent Auction and Dance afterwards, beers from three local breweries will be pouring. This part hasn’t all been officially set up so far, so I’ll hold off naming the breweries. The concept will be that each brings two beers, one relatively accessible to mainstream drinkers (another assumption: a goodly number of the attendees will come from the Conservatory mailing lists and they will be primarily wine folks) and one Belgian style to open the discussion of all the possibilities. I have suggested the beers I think would work in informal talks with all three breweries but, as I said, nothing has been formalized just yet. In some fashion, either with the brewer in attendance or through other materials, the beer and food argument will be made during the Reception to a lot of people for whom it will be either a brand new or relatively untried concept.

This is a high-end event, obviously, and ticket prices are still be worked out. It will be a major (and hopefully annual) opportunity to advance the cause of good beer to a broad, affluent audience. It will present good local beer in a positive light in an absolutely superb venue. It is All Good.

Longwood Gardens, if you are not familiar, is considered one of the world’s premier horticultural center and the Conservatory is one of the world’s great greenhouse structures, housing 20 indoor gardens and 5,500 types of plants. It was built in 1919 and now covers 195,668 square feet—or 4.5 acres. Those choosing to make a weekend of it all, starting with touring the grounds Friday afternoon, followed by the Dinner and Dance, the Festival on Saturday and last stroll around Longwood on Sunday would be setting themselves up for a truly memorable three days. It will be a great showcase for craft beer.

More details will be coming soon (believe me, you ain’t never seen nobody as anxious as these folks to get everything nailed down), both here and at the Kennett Brew Fest site. Meanwhile, Mr. Jeffrey Norman has been kind enough to share with us all (like we could have stopped him) some good news about the festival itself:

I’m hoping we can increase to over 50 breweries in attendance. And we will limit attendance significantly in 2008 to insure a quality experience, as promised. I already have seven brewers committed (I’m hoping for 20) to the Connoisseur tasting and over 100 tickets have already been sold. That session will be capped at 300, the same as last year.

I think it will be a grand weekend and a perfect tune-up for the Great American Beer Festival which gets underway in Denver five days later.

October, it’s not just for Halloween any more.

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