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Hold Your Glasses High, SCBF | Screw City Beer Fest 2014

Hold Your Glasses High, SCBF  |  Screw City Beer Fest 2014

IMG_20140907_173404I Can Still Feel My Face

By Andy Whorehall  |  Sock Monkey Sound  |  Guest Contributor to

(If you don’t use the internet to read, don’t worry; on the bottom of this page you will find a photo gallery of naked people, food, pets, beer and selfies.)

kryptonite-ro-newTen minutes into the 4th Annual 2014 Screw City Beer Fest, I felt a creeper breathing in on me while contemplating my first Fork & Stein Urban Gourmet burger, the Swamp Thing (cajun goodness).  I turned my head to see the little chode of a man’s face about a foot behind me. Picture him; short brown hair, jean shorts and a white tee shirt, mid 40s – if that – and a pair of generic Aviator sunglasses from Walgreens. His cunning moves were already complete at that point I’d soon find out.

olympic-ro-newIt didn’t settle in yet that I should protect my pocket possessions ala European Vacation style. I ordered lunch to provide a base to what would be many different kinds of beers to sit above it. Miinutes later, I reached for my back pocket to make a move towards a beer tent and that’s when I realized I got Rockforded. The Rockford ‘billy in the jean shorts and generic Aviator Walgreens sunglasses stole my beer card.

artale1Doh, first lesson learned:  I got Rockforded at my first beer fest, poetic at best. (How dare I hold people who love beer to higher standards!) A dear friend of mine and experienced beer fest goer, Patrick, told me later in the day that he had his beer card stolen from his back pocket as well upon arriving to the fest. Stripes earned the hard way, this day was about beer and 12 free drinks missing from our back pockets weren’t going to be slowed down by a few billies with quick fingers.  Especially today, early Fall weather, sunny and smiling faces everywhere wIMG_20140907_171835ho came to enjoy beer.

aaron-sleger-ro-newAside from that very early-in-the-day event, I chalked it up as my mistake and proceeded to enjoy one hell of an event.  The corners of State and Main Streets in downtown Rockford, IL, played host to two-thousand-plus people who attended the sold-out 2014 Screw City Beer Fest this past weekend, September 6th, 2014. The festival began as a grass roots organization in 2011 between a few small business owners and local craft beer enthusiasts; Aaron Sleger, Zak Rotello, Chris Wachowiak and Anthony Artale.

This being my first attendance at a beer festival of any sorts, I didn’t know what to expect besides the beauty of beer and lots of it. I figured it had to be a whole lot better of an experience than attending another random music festival where people by the thousands gather to drink, eat and talk loudly above the music while rendering the few music lovers in attendance useless in our efforts to actually listen to why we’re there – music.

SCBF is all about beer, enjoying and sharing the day with others who are there for the beer. Nothing competing with your attention but your own desires for a little food, maybe a bathroom break and the company of others who clearly had the same mission as everyone else – beer. Fest organizers have hit a rain-or-shine home run here in downtown Rockford where the event is about the love of beer, food, smiling faces and getting together for a few hours to enjoy it all.

Highlights from the 2014 SCBF included:

The schmuck that stole my beer card.

The Swamp Thing burger from Fork & Stein’s Urban Gourmet prevented me from getting too drunk before day’s end, a great delicious base.

Stone brewery’s something or another Old Guardian.IMG_20140907_173427

Whatever was in the Bell’s casket.

The lady who asked the question, “Where can I get a Bud Light?”, that my friend Patrick overheard before his beer card was stolen, too. Wrong festival lady–thank you for the laugh, though.  (Come on, y’all, git Rockforded!)

The Velvet Rooster by Tallgrass had a cool can, but I can’t say much about the beer because my notes are half-assed. I liked the can; it was red.IMG_20140907_173140

Taboo Blah Blah caught me off guard with their greatest hits. Great young band, performers with original songs – all kinds of yes. The drummer was drinking a tallboy can of Pabst which is no different than drinking a can of bad breath or your own pee pee – ahahahhahaha – come on. This is America, we have choices, kids!  That’s the only fault I found in the band’s performance at a beer fest.
IMG_20140907_172555Pipeworks Brewery told me that I drank something called a Unicorn Hits Rock Bottom.  I didn’t believe him, he didn’t believe me. We laughed.

IMG_20140907_172719My friend, Dana, provided me the best beer(s) and taste testing moment of the day:  Take one part of Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout and mix it with one part of Lindemans Framboise Lambic Organic Raspberry.  If those two old European breweries can get together for a special brew–thank Dana.  The highlight of my beer drinking day, and I’m not a dessert beer kinda guy.

Things got a little blurry after that; what was a frozen smile all afternoon with gums and pearly whites showing their coffee stains started melting. I don’t recall much aside from my face hitting a pillow before 8pm on a Saturday night after a great day. Fortunately, I made some notes while the day was unraveling to assist the morning after.

Unlike most events I’ve attended in the downtown Rockford regioSCBF-2014_Notes_Andy-Whorehalln the last few years, this city event is still void of political and oft-corrupt governmental influence, including the public charities mirage that many of Rockford’s most nepotistic, wealthiest and regressive private-sector influencers hide behind to keep Rockford moving backwards as a community in-order to position themselves for those ample state and federal hand-outs.

Screw City Beer Fest is a testament to progressive energy and efforts made by a group of young, independent business owners and entrepreneurs who came together with the help of local supporters, restaurants, distributors, wholesalers, brewers, volunteers and the March of Dimes – sans political and civic pride influence – to give people what they want – beer and food with some great music. It’s that simple, everyone.

A special thanks to Chris at Kryptonite for serving up my first opportunity to take in a beer fest without having to travel far. I’m already looking forward to 2015’s Screw City Beer Fest.

Hold your glasses high, SCBF. Let there be beer and pet those puppies,

AW  |  Andy Whorehall

2014 Screw City Beer Fest Photo Gallery

“Hold Your Glasses High, SCBF” Words & Images © 2014  |  Rights limited to and  |  Please contact for rights, license and permission to reproduce.

Tags assigned to this article:
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