Quad State Beer Fest continues to thrive, educate beer enthusiasts
A little more than six years ago, Hagerstown native Rob Immer found himself at a crossroads in his career.
At the same, he also felt that the Hagerstown area was in need of festivals offering wine and beer that celebrated the products of local vintners and brewers.
So Immer took his master’s degree in marketing along with his 15 years of vendor experience and crafted the Quad State Beer Fest.
Entering its sixth year, the event’s success prompted Immer to form the Interstate Festival Group, which now organizes several events per year in addition to Quad State Beer Fest including ShamRocked, Interstate Wine Fest and Interstate BBQ Fest.
“I’ve been a fan of wine, beer, barbecue and sports my whole life. To have the opportunity to do this close to home as my full-time job is very gratifying,” Immer said.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Quad State Beer Fest is expected to have its typical turnout of 2,000 people. The event is scheduled to run from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro.
Immer attributes the recipe for the event’s success to his personal travels as a vendor across the country where he not only sold various items but observed festivals that attracted masses of people.
“You get to see what people like and what works,” Immer said.
At most beer festivals there are about 1,000 gallons of beer consumed in several hours, according to Immer.
Quad State Beer Fest fits into that category, however, it offers much more along the lines of brewer’s education and interaction with attendees.
Immer has built the beer festival around showcasing breweries from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, but has also strived to have most of those breweries represented by the people who either craft or develop the beer.
“Beer fest-goers want to learn more about the beer. They have questions and if beers are being marketed by a distributor or even being poured by a volunteer, they can’t get answers,” Immer said.
Typical 30 breweries showcase more than 100 beers at the Quad State Beer Fest. Immer says typically 90% of the breweries are represented by their employees.
“Ultimately, it’s our goal to get 100% participation from breweries,” Immer said.
The Quad State Beer Fest has served as an opportunity for local breweries to test new products and get feedback before going to market.
Immer added that a VIP session is held in the first hour of the event where up to 300 people have the opportunity to engage brewers and sample beers before the masses embark on the grounds. The VIP session is sold out, according to Immer.
Another one of the main attractions is the home brewing seminar. Immer says that the seminar is hosted by a physicist and a chemist which break down the process of brewing beer.
“We always have beer education and the desire for it has grown from being one hour at the festival to being held throughout the day,” Immer said.
Sparx, a rock ‘n’ roll band, and Hot Fun, which plays dance music from the ’70s through today, will highlight the music provided at the beer fest. Adult games and around 50 local vendors are also expected including Mountaineer Meat Smokers and C&O Taco.
General admission is $38 and twilight admission (4 p.m. entry) is $28. Admission includes unlimited samples.
For more information, contact 301-259-1991, email info@quadstate festivalgroup.com or visit www.quadstatebeerfest.com
Top photo: In this 2015 file photo, Robert Elliott of Williamsport tastes one of the beers offered at the Quad State Beer Fest held at the Washington County Ag Center. (Herald-Mail file photo)