Submitted by Melissa Howsam — Correspondent
Staging a Showdown, literally, your fav outlaws are at it again with the fifth installment of their frothy face-off, Brew It Forward, as part of the Lonerider Showdown fest. The crafty coup will invade Moore Square this Saturday, featuring a laundry list of 18 of Loneriders best craft brews (try not to bang back too manyI mean, ya wanna be a smooth criminal), the Brew It Forward competition for local home brewers (obv), plenty of bangin beats (with headliner Dillon Fence and including Lila, Jack the Radio, The Debonzo Brothers and Dark Water Rising), tasty treats and Wild West shenanigansall to benefit Nourish International, a nonprofit who seeks to impact extreme poverty.
Wrangle a spot with a trite 12 bucks for general admission, affording you four different beer samples, along bands, bites, games and so on. Super-Billy the Kid types will wanna spring for VIP tickets ($75), where, in addition to exclusive access to brews and catered chews, you score your own corralled area close to the stage (think bull pen, but with beerso even better; no gunfights thoughits not that kind of showdown).
Salivating yet? Try to keep it in check. But whet your appetite with a preview from our chat with Loneriders top beer bandit, CEO Sumit Vohra.
Q: As CEO and Chief Drinking Officer at Lonerider, you must, um, love your job? Give us a glimpse of a day in the life at Lonerider? Beer crafting? Binge tastings?
All of the above. Although, I wish I could say my current role was as lucrative as our Head Brewer Ian Van Gundy's, who oversees all the tasty creations. The majority of my day is spent in the car driving around, though. As the evening draws to a close, I can be convinced to grab a pint. Alright, maybe convinced was a stretchno arm-twisting needed to end the day with a few frothy brews.
Q: Now a seasoned 4 years old, how has Lonerider evolved from that beer and a dream it opened with in January 2009?
In the four years, we have grown all over N.C. and taken the first step to distribute in Atlanta pretty far from the earlier days of trying to hand-cap our bottles so we could have samples for tastings in early hours of the morning. The dream started with my co-founders and I four years ago, but today its on the shoulders of the awesome crew that makes Lonerider beer and brand the best there is.
Q: So, Brew It Forward what's that all about?
Since we [at Lonerider] began as beer geeks and home brewers, we always wanted to give back to the community in as many ways as we could. What better way than to invite a talented home brewer to be a part of our crew for a day. I met with Bill Dubas and Kevin Thorngren four years ago with just a simple idea, and with their help, Brew It Forward has continued to flourish. The winning beer is available for purchase a few months after Brew It Forward. On the day of Brew It Forward, only the daring judges get to sample all the creations. We brew the winning brew on our system with the winner, and divide the proceeds post-sales equally between the winner, North Carolina Brewers Guild, and a nonprofit.
Q: So, this year, Brew It Forward V is a major component of a larger festival. Give us the lowdown on the Showdown? Brew It Forward has gone through four prior iterations and has been successful. With Showdown we wanted to throw a larger event with the Outlaw flair and celebrate craft beer.
Brew It Forward has gone through four prior iterations and has been successful. With Showdown we wanted to throw a larger event with the Outlaw flair and celebrate craft beer.
Q: What can we expect, then, at the Lonerider Showdown there will be duels?
The Moore Square takeover involves Brew It Forward, great bands, 18 different brews from us and, yes, some pretty cool games that incorporate the Wild West. The VIP area is also set up like a Wild West Saloon. Definitely keep your eye on our website for up-to-date festival info!
Q: The Showdown benefits nonprofit Nourish International's remarkable quest to make an impact on extreme poverty. How excited is Lonerider to partner with Nourish, and what is the brewery's vision regarding community partnership via these events?
We are extremely excited to partner with Nourish. Nourish incorporates three elements that I myself am very passionate about: empathy, education and entrepreneurship, all toward a bold mission of impacting extreme poverty. At Lonerider, we believe its the responsibility of a business to give back to the community. This is our small attempt to do so.
Q: With all the new local breweries popping upenthusiasts are, no doubt, excited. (See what you started?) But, we gotta ask how does it feel, right now, to be a bandit? What's Lonerider's view of the field? Camaraderie? Competition?
You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk? Of course we think we are badasses. But we cannot take credit for the growth of the craft-beer scene. There have been pioneers before us who have made the craft-beer scene what it is, and the list is long (Fritz Maytag, Jim Koch, Ken Grossman, our very own Daniel Bradford, etc. I can go on forever!). We are glad to be a part of it and raise a glass to the true Outlaws: The Craft Beer Drinkers. They deserve the most kudos.