The fifth Annual Larry Fest Twisted Beer Competition and Mellow Fest will be held at the Mellow Mushroom in Covington (1645 Highway 190, Suite 100, Covington, 985-327-5407; www.mellowmushroom.com/store/convington) at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7.
Homebrewers have been preparing for the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)-sanctioned competition by finding creative ways to work 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 New Orleans' new Urban South Brewery and Flying Heart Brewing from Bossier City.
Larry Fest honors Larry Hartzog, one of the Northshore's more prolific homebrewers and a longtime member of the area's homebrew club, Mystic Krewe of Brew (MKOB). After he died in 2012, MKOB founded the event to continue Hartzog's affinity for brewing unusual or "twisted" beers and raise money for local nonprofits. This year, 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 performs at the fest.
Larry Fest always has been held at Mellow Mushroom in Covington, but it has grown, 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 cosponsored the event. Organizers added a BJCP-sanctioned homebrew competition, which drew more entries from other Louisiana homebrew clubs. Commercial breweries were added to the event in 2014, which increased its notoriety, Mortillaro says. This year, there are 23 commercial breweries and most will bring two or more beers.