Staff Photo: John Bohn Lindsay Spear, of Buford, accepts a sample of Rolle Bolle Ale by New Belgian, from Josh Laws at The Brews and Tunes Festival held on the City Green in Duluth on Saturday. Many brands of beer and several live bands were featured.
DULUTH -- Tapping a sneaker to a live instrumental version of "Call Me Maybe," Patrick Fisher stood in the grass, squinting into the distance, sipping ice cold beer.
"As far as beer festivals go, this one's not bad," said Fisher, draining the glass and wiping his mouth. "It's got food, it's got a good, mellow vibe and there's good beer variety."
Fisher was one of hundreds who came out to imbibe IPAs, ambers, pilsners, lagers, ciders and more during the inaugural Brews and Tunes Festival on Saturday afternoon in downtown Duluth.
With more than 100 beers to choose from, ale aficionados like Fisher found themselves happily overwhelmed by the selection. For a fee of $35 online or $45 at the gate, attendees got wrist bands and walked from tent to tent, seeking out new brews as well as old favorites.
After tasting it for the first time, Erin Bushko discovered she liked Redd's Apple Ale. Bushko and Owen Smith walked together Saturday sampling different varieties of beer.
"I love it here," Bushko said. "And it's great because I can walk here from my place, so I don't have to worry about driving."
Amy Davis, another Duluth resident, said she enjoyed Anderson Valley Brewing Company's offerings. "It's got a good taste," she said, snapping a pretzel off a piece of string hanging around her neck.
Others sporting the pretzel necklace included James Gilmore of Lawrenceville, who explained the edible accessory as a means to "sop up all the beer I drink."
Gilmore, Austin McGee, Ryan and Laura Girard seemed to agree that they liked Duluth's Brews and Tunes Festival "more than some of the others" they'd attended.
"It's been good so far," Gilmore said. "A good day."
Fisher couldn't agree more.
Finishing another ice cold beer, he bobbed his head to a live band's cover of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop."
Fisher said he planned to try out several more before his "ride" came to get him Saturday afternoon. "Cold beer on a hot day, man," he said, smiling. "I love it."