Brewmaster’s festival dream becomes reality, shining spotlight on local craft beverages

Moon River Brewing Co. on Bay Street will be the site of the first-ever “Midday in the Beer Garden” festival featuring craft beverages from across the region.
Moon River Brewing Co. on Bay Street will be the site of the first-ever “Midday in the Beer Garden” festival featuring craft beverages from across the region.
Moon River Brewing Co., is set to host its first-ever Midday in the Beer Garden Festival at their celebrated spot on Bay Street on Saturday, August 14, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the midday.

The beer festival will feature some of the most visible craft breweries in Savannah and the Lowcountry. But beer isn’t the only drink on the menu, as local mead, ciders, and cocktails will also be available for midday sampling.

Organizers say there will be a little bit for everyone to taste at the festival.

Moon River Brewing Co. brewmaster Mike Livings said he hopes guests walk away from the event with a better idea of how diverse and delicious the craft brewing and distilling scene in the Hostess City really is.

“I hope we will see more locals coming downtown to taste the beer fresh out of the taps,” Livings said. “The beers are great in a six-pack at home, but there’s no substitute for coming down to your favorite taproom and sitting down with some new or old friends and sharing a pint.”

Since starting at Moon River Brewing four years ago, Livings has dreamed of hosting his own beer festival. Now, with the help of his colleague Alex Yendell, that dream is becoming a reality.

“When the Savannah Craft Brew Fest announced they weren’t doing it anymore I said, ‘Well, that’s it. We’re doing this,’” said Livings.

With the pandemic closing the doors of many businesses over the past year, Livings said his focus was on making beer and keeping the lights on at work, but he never let his beer festival dreams die.

After attending numerous beer festivals himself, he took note of what he liked and disliked and created a blueprint.

“We really wanted independent brewers and producers from Savannah and the Lowcountry,” Livings said. “It seems like we’re kind of an afterthought when it comes to Georgia—the craft scene —and I think that should change.”

For Livings, the best part of the event will be having all of the regional producers in one place. He explained that it’s a small community of people who are always willing to help each other out.

“The level of dedication it takes to produce craft beer, well, we’re well aware of how hard it is to produce a quality product that is consistent that people want to buy again,” Livings said. “Having 11 other people doing the same thing this is—you can experience the love they put into it.” Mike Tripka, owner of Bluffton’s Bee-Town Mead and Cider, has been making award-winning mead for 20 years. According to their website, traditional mead is made with three simple ingredients: water, yeast, and honey.

Just three weeks ago a gold medal was awarded to their strawberry mead and a silver to their blueberry mead at the Indiana State Fair.

Tripka said he is always excited to see people try mead for the first time.

“Your immediate reaction is ‘Well, is it sweet?’ That’s not the style that we make and we kind of surprise people that it’s not, but it still has the honey flavor background to it,” Tripka said.

Tickets are $25 which includes a souvenir glass. A tasting sheet will also be provided with backgrounds on the breweries and distilleries at the event, and what they will be pouring.

Those who purchase tickets are automatically entered into a raffle that supports the mission of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire.

For more information on the festival, visit moonriverbrewing.com

About The Author

Jamie Burton

Jamie Burton is a journalist and music enthusiast from Upstate New York. She graduated from Penn State University where she received her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and minored in both Theatre and Global and International Studies. You can find Burton discovering new music, enjoying the sunshine or scoping out...
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