Suds With Sophie: Countdown to Beer Fest

I recently talked to Kait Shanks about the Door County Beer Festival, to be held June 19 in Baileys Harbor. She works with a team from the Peninsula Pacers to put on the event, and her responsibilities include selecting, coordinating and organizing the many breweries that will showcase their beers. But Shanks takes the role to the next level by making sure the brewery mix includes old favorites and new experiences while keeping the quality and variety at a maximum.

Although this isn’t her first year managing breweries for the festival, it is definitely a new experience because this year’s event will not be so far removed from the days of COVID-19 restrictions to make it completely worry free.

Each element had to be carefully planned to ensure a safe event where people felt comfortable gathering. This is one reason for moving the festival to MAX at Maxwelton Braes from its previous location in downtown Baileys Harbor. The new space is a little out of town, so it offers a lot more green space and opportunities to spread out. Shuttles will transport attendees between downtown and MAX.

After a year with no major events in Door County, the Pacers are hoping to make this Beer Fest the best one yet. Although the new, expanded space could allow organizers to invite every brewer from far and wide, Shanks’ goal is to grow quality over quantity.

She’s been working with a few smaller breweries to allow festivalgoers to experience new beers from new places. One new brewery she’s especially excited to welcome is the Manitowoc-based PetSkull Brewing Company, which creates wild and delicious craft beer that she thinks Door County drinkers are sure to enjoy. Another is Milwaukee’s Eagle Park Brewing, which is more of a familiar name and now distributed to Door County. The wide variety makes Beer Fest an excellent location to try a new brew or reaffirm a decided love.

Food will also be available from Wickman House, Lumberjack Taco Shack, the Dog House and Wally’s Weenie Wagon.


While tickets to the Beer Festival are now sold out, Festival organizers are still looking for volunteers to help set up, pour beer and clean up. To volunteer, email [email protected].

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