The Baltimore Craft Beer Festival promises a day of good food, good brews, live music, and a competition to crown the best home-brewer in the city!

By the numbers, Maryland is below average when it comes to the all-important metric of "microbreweries-per-capita." Yes, that is a real statistic that people use to gauge how good a state's craft beer scene is. But just because Maryland doesn't have as many microbreweries as Colorado or Oregon, doesn't change the fact that local Maryland beer is delicious! October 7 kicks off the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival. More than 45 local breweries will be on hand, as well as close to a dozen local eateries and food trucks for what promises to be a day of good food, good brews, and good times! The day-long event will take place at 3001 Boston Street. Doors open at noon for an exclusive VIP hour. General admission tickets are allowed in starting at 1:30 p.m. Buy your tickets ahead of time and they will set you back $40 for general admission passes and $55 for a VIP pass. Both become $5 more expensive if purchased at the gate. Each ticket levels come with a souvenir tasting glass and unlimited (within reason) samples. VIP pass holders will get a slightly nicer tasting glass, early entry into the festival, and special access to taste some of the more exclusive small-batch "Harvest Ales." Not interested in drinking? Designated driver passes are available for just $15. If you have a growler, consider bringing it with you because there will be stations for you to fill up your growler with hard-to-find brews to bring home with you. [gallery columns="2" ids="4231,4232"] Here's what sets this festival apart from others like it: there will be a day-long home-brew competition. Amateur brewers will get to show off their brews and learn once and for all whether their homemade concoctions can compete with the big boys. The home-brew competition will be judged by Emily Greene (Flying Dog Brewery), Alex Galbreath (Falling Branch Brewery), Kara Capelli (Calvert Brewery), and Katie Curl (Brookeville Beer Farm). But here is the real kicker: you can be a judge too. Tack on an extra $5 to your admission any you can be a Home-Brew Crowd Judge and get to taste the homemade beers yourself.
Think you have what it takes to enter the competition? You can register to enter your home-brew into the competition here. Just make sure that you bring at least five gallons of your best "Harvest Ales" inspired beer. Winning home-brewers will walk away with prizes, gift cards, invitations to local micro-brew events. While you're sampling the brews, there will also be live music from three bands who won the chance to perform at the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival by beating out other entrants in the 1st Annual Battle for the Brewskies. The event will go on rain or shine. All attendees need to make sure they bring a valid form of photo ID to prove they are legally allowed to drink. The event is not kid-friendly, so while children are allowed, just be mindful that there will be no children's activities available on site. There will be corn hole, beer pong, and other games for adult attendees. Also, if you have a small, well behaved dog, you can bring your leashed companion but the festival does recommend that you leave your pets at home. To learn more about the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival, purchase advance tickets, or sign up for the home-brew competition, you can visit the festival's website here. And the best part is, one week after the Baltimore Craft Beer Festival, the Annual Baltimore Beer Week kicks off in the city as well. Hopefully you're thirsty!

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