Over the past few months I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this Quad Cities On Tap beer festival taking place at the QC Expo Center on Saturday, April 18th. It is the first time this fest has been put on in the Quad Cities and a lot of people are hopeful that it will be a good replacement for FestivAle. FestivAle was organized and sponsored by Rock Island Brewing Co., held in the District of Rock Island a few years back, and was overall a great event. However, I believe that it won’t be anything like that – that it will, in fact, not be worth your time at all.
One of my favorite things about craft beer is the local aspect – you can meet the people that produce your favorite Midwest beers, if you try hard enough (you really just have to be pushy, or charming, I can’t quite figure out which one I am yet….). It is a personal experience for each and every one of us, a way to connect with the craft, and I believe this QC On Tap event will be the exact opposite. First off, I’m guessing that the people pouring the samples will be uneducated, impersonal volunteers, not brewers or even anyone from the brewery. They are there, not for their love of beer, but to get in and drink for free.
I also think that the beer poured will be from bottles that American On Tap purchased and had delivered in on a truck the night before. I highly doubt any brewers will bring kegs and set up jockey box rigs. The beers available will also most likely be something that you’ve already had or can easily purchase at any local Hy-Vee. There aren’t going to be any super rare gems or limited releases or one-off’s of any kind.
American On Tap ascribes to the term “national brand” on their website here. The term ‘national’ is near the opposite of ‘local’, it is certainly not a word I would associate with craft beer. Craft beer is about individuality, freedom, and rebellion, its about being creative and trying new things, not identifying with a unified, national image. Some other examples of national brands that I believe are relevant to bring up here: Budweiser. Miller. Coors. I’m sure you get my point.
Below is a quote from their website:
America On Tap is the foremost producer of premium beer festivals in the country, and the first and only nationally integrated entertainment series dedicated to showcasing specialty and craft breweries from around the globe. With more than 70 planned beer festivals in 2015, each featuring sought after specialty and craft breweries and their highly anticipated releases, America On Tap delivers a unique and robust beer focused experience filled with live music, great vendors and delicious local food.
There’s nothing local, nothing personal, nothing crafty about this. This company travels all over the country putting on the same festival over and over again. This is not worth $35 of my money or 3 hours of my time. I’m sure that one can find rarer beers at several of the area’s craft spots at a much lower cost with better ambiance, all the while supporting your community. Places where familiar faces happily greet you in a nice warm bar, as opposed to a cold, florescent-lit, concrete room that has no personality to it whatsoever.
Admittedly, I could be wrong. I don’t truly know what the event will pan out to look like, no one does as its the first time ever visiting the QCA. I’ve worked many a beer festival in my time, though, and they can be successful for a variety of reasons. But given the generic, limited information on their site, my hunch tells me that Quad Cities On Tap that is a festival worth missing.
If you do happen to go, stop up and see me afterwards and tell me how it went, I’m working. That’s actually the real reason why I’m not going. Ha!