Frequently Asked/Answered Questions
1. What does my ticket pay for?
The purpose of the Rocket City Brewfest is for you to enjoy and sample a wide range of great beers. A ticket grants you access to the event, where you will be provided:
- a commemorative sample glass to be used at any and/or all of the beer tents for 2 oz. samples
- Live musical acts on the various stages
- Food vendors who have wares that pair wonderfully with the brews offered
2. So we pay to get in, and then we drink all we want for free?
No. State law and ABC regulations do not allow us to give “unlimited free samples.” The ticket price gets you admission to the festival. Once inside, you will be charged $0.01 for each beer sample. (Penny-a-Pour buckets are stationed at each beer tent.) We utilize the honor system. Therefore, you can toss, say a quarter in any one bucket, and enjoy 25 samples. So forth and so on. HOWEVER, that money goes to a local charity that we select each year, so feel free to do a GOOD DEED and toss in a little more for another great cause!
3. Why is there a charge for designated drivers?
This is an event that offers live musical entertainment and food vendors in a contained environment where alcohol is served to those of age ticket holders. It’s no small expense to put on an event of this size and scope. Almost all major beer festivals charge for designated driver, some festivals even charge full price. We strongly encourage and happily welcome DDs, but each body that enters our gates becomes our responsibility to entertain, offer services to, and protect until they leave our gates. Think of it as a VERY reasonably priced ‘Cover Charge’ to get into a great event!
4. Why do DD’s need their ID on them?
Well… If they are entering with the purpose of driving you home, they will need their driver’s license on them per Alabama State driving laws. IF they are simply accompanying a ticket holder they could be asked to produce their ID by the ABC agents doing random checks. (The Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) agents are allowed on site for spot checks to ensure we are doing our due diligence in abiding by their rules.) They can request to see the ID of anyone inside our gates. Old or young, they can ask for it. It would be bad enough if they found someone without an ID. It would be grounds for shutting the whole event down if they found someone underage had not been properly carded and allowed to drink. If your child is with you and under an the age of 15 years old, they must always be in the company of a parent or legal guardian while at RCBF. Otherwise, everyone through our gates should have a state issued photo ID on them at ALL TIMES while at RCBF. We don’t make the rules; we are just required to enforce them in order to ensure the event operates as its intended.
5. What is the difference between the two sessions?
The only difference is the date, time, and the music lineup. The same food and beer will be available at each session.In practice, the Friday night session tends to attract a younger crowd ready to blow off the work week. While, the Saturday afternoon session is a little more laid back and family-friendly. Both sessions will be sure to offer a great time, so just pick which vibe fits your preference.
6. If I buy tickets in advance, do I have to wait in line with people who are buying tickets?
No. We will have the Will Call, DD Tickets and Box office inside the Depot Roundhouse which all guests will enter through. When you reach the entrance, ticket holders will be shuffled into four open lanes where IDs and tickets will be collected, glasses will be provided and you will gain access to the venue. We will open the gates thirty (30) minutes prior to session start time and corral all attendees into a holding area inside the venue. We will NOT allow anyone past that point until the session time begins. No beer will be poured before the official beginning of each session.
7. Why can’t we just pay cash to the food vendors?
Unlike many similar events, we pay the local restaurants and caterers to participate in the Rocket City Brewfest. Most of the money you pay for tokens goes to the vendors. However, we’re a single point of sale for sales tax purposes which just makes the accounting a lot easier at the end of the day on Saturday. It also alleviates the need to have security monitor the cash changing hands at the vendor tents. It takes the ‘Beer Math’ from slowing down having a great time!
8. Why aren’t the brewery reps pouring my beer?
We love for the breweries to come out to our festival! However, they are not allowed to serve beer at our event – even to themselves! This has to do with our ABC license – ONLY the volunteer pour staff are allowed to serve alcohol. The good news is that the brewery reps are then free to talk to you about what you’re drinking!
9. Don’t you think the festival is a little pricey?
No. Not at all, actually. The truth is that the Rocket City Brewfest is one of the best value beer festivals in the country! Ticket prices are set as low as possible while also being a successful fundraiser for Free the Hops.
10. If I like a particular beer, how can I find out where to buy it?
We certainly want you to find beer you like and plan to seek out after the festival! Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to compile a list of which bars and stores carry specific beers, meads, or ciders. Even past the nightmare of compiling such a list, it’s almost certain to be out-of-date quickly as retailers change their inventory.
11. Why do people linger in front of the beer tent and get in the way of me and my beer?
This really is a common complaint from our guests. And we agree wholeheartedly! All we can say is that it happens at major beer festivals all over the country. Part of the fun of being at a brewfest is meeting and talking to the brewers and talking about craft beer. At the popular and local breweries, there’s going to be a crowd. If there’s a line behind you, don’t be That Guy, please step to the side to talk to the folks at the brewery so the (gold) Shirt volunteers can serve the people behind you.
12. Why is the smoking only in designated areas in an outdoor festival?
The purpose of the brewfest is to savor, enjoy, and sample all of the beers that you wish to try. In doing so, you will need your sense of smell, taste, touch, and sight to appreciate each brew. Smoking around the beer tents hampers that experience for the majority of our event goers. Not to mention the close quarters created around the beer tents presents opportunities for other to be accidentally burned by lit cigarettes. That becomes an increasing hazard when children accompany their parents to this event. They are at the same height as most hands trying to conceal smoking in a crowd. In short, not everyone wants to enjoy your ability to smoke. So, please be respectful and find the areas designated just for this, if you wish to smoke. *There is an on-going debate every year, as to whether or not to allow smoking at all. Therefore, this privilege is subject to change, if abused.
13. Why did some tents have signs to show beers that were not available last year?
The tents signage is handled by either the brewery or their distributor. In some cases, they may use stock signage that displays beers that are not Rocket City Brewfest specific. We will strongly encourage them to use RCBF specific signage, but it’s not something that Free the Hops controls.
14. What does Free the Hops/RCBF do with the Penny Buckets after the festival?
Glad you asked! Each year after the festival, we tally them up and DONATE them to local charities here in Madison County. In 2010, it was the Tornado Relief fund for Madison County that got your generous contributions. In 2013, it was donated to the Autism Resource Center, here in Huntsville/Madison County. In 2014, it was donated to a local Blessings in a Backpack group. In 2015 and 2016, the donations went go to The Good Samaritans. Each year we try to find worthy causes in THIS community to support with these funds!
15. How does RCBF decide which beers to offer?
Each year we comb through the Alabama licensed distributor’s inventory lists to
order what we KNOW to be BEST in the craft beer markets worldwide. We have
cicerones (certified beer experts) and world class beer enthusiasts that travel the
county attending other brewfestivals year round. And when in doubt, we sample,
sample, sample, and sample the brews ourselves to be sure that we are offering
up the best our markets have to bear.
16. YES, We will have Ciders and Meads again this year!
Due to the overwhelming response to the Cider and MeadTents, we will be happily welcoming them back this year, courtesy of Whole Foods Huntsville. They will also be carrying the same offerings in their store that you will sample in the tents!