The fifth Annual Larry Fest Twisted Beer Competition and Mellow Fest (also known as “Larry Fest”) will be held at the Mellow Mushroom in Covington
(1645 Highway 190, Suite 100, Covington, 985-327-5407) on Saturday, May 7, starting at 4 p.m.
Homebrewers have been preparing for the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)-sanctioned competition by finding creative and hopefully delicious ways to comply with the “food” theme of the competition. "Any style beer which emulates a food will be acceptable. [Examples include] banana nut bread, pizza, fruit salad, blueberry bread pudding, pretzel beer, etc.” according to the event Facebook page.
In addition to the adventurous beers served at Larry Fest, there will be a number of Louisiana and national breweries, including the new Urban South Brewery from New Orleans and Flying Heart in Bossier City. This also is an opportunity to sample The Old Rail Brewing Company’s beer outside of the Mandeville brewpub.
Larry Fest honors Larry Hartzog, one of the Northshore’s most prolific homebrewers and longtime member of the area’s homebrew club, Mystic Krewe of Brew (MKOB). After he died in 2012, the MKOB initiated this event to carry on Larry’s penchant for brewing unusual or “twisted” beers and raise money for local nonprofits.
This year, all proceeds go to the St. Tammany Humane Society. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, and include samples of more than 60 homebrews and commercial beers. Christian Serpas & Ghost Town will perform at the fest.
Larry Fest has always been held at Mellow Mushroom in Covington, but the level of involvement has increased, says Larry Fest board member Sal Mortillaro II. In 2012, Mellow Mushroom allowed MKOB to use the parking lot for the fundraiser.
In 2013, Mellow Mushroom became heavily involved with logistics and promotion, and cosponsored the event. The organizers added a Beer Judge Certification Program sanctioned homebrew competition, which drew more homebrews from other Louisiana homebrew clubs.
Commercial breweries were permitted at the event in 2014, which increased its notoriety, Sal says. This year, the number of commercial breweries increases to 23, with most bringing two or more beers, as well as 30 homebrews.