By all accounts Saturday's inaugural Gnarly Hops and Barley Fest brewed up by Culpeper Renaissance Inc. in the Spencer Street parking lot was a major success.
The weather cooperated beautifully as visitors from near and afar turned out to sample the wares of the 24 different breweries and numerous food vendors during the six-hour event, which kicked off at noon in downtown Culpeper and featured music from Culpeper native Carlee Chilton of Aberdeen Green from Nashville, Tn.
Kelsey Carlson, chair of CRI's committee for the event, said 1,500 tickets were available for the event. Of those, 1,200 were sold in advance, with about a quarter of those going to buyers from outside Culpeper County.
"It just started out as an idea CRI had. We've had the wine festival here in the fall for some time, and we thought it would be nice to have an event for beer enthusiasts and do it in the spring," Carlson said.
Carlson said the event highlighted "quality craft beers" from a wide variety of places.
"The farthest away is a brewery from Hawaii," Carlson said.
Carlson said the event also highlighted downtown Culpeper.
"The people can leave and come back if they wish, so they can go and check out the shops on Davis Street and around town while they're here," she said.
The event cost $25 per ticket, which allowed the ticket holders to sample 10 glasses of beer of their choice with the sample glasses provided by CRI. Carlson said all proceeds from the event will go to fund CRI.
Mayor Chip Coleman said Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for such an event.
"It's a beautiful day; there's lots of people, and it's a great location for something like this," Coleman said. "I think CRI has done a great job."
Chris Bostic of Culpeper said he enjoyed the event and thought it was a good fit for the Culpeper community.
"They have the wine festival, so I think it's nice to have an option for beer," Bostic said. "And I think anything that brings the community together is great."
In fact, Saturday's Gnarly Hops event went so well that Carlson said a date has already been settled upon for next spring.
"It will be on Saturday, April 26, 2014," she said. "I would say we've started something pretty huge here."