Dining With Denise Neil

The beer will be better at Riverfest this year

Dale’s Pale Ale is one of the craft beers that will be served at this year’s Wichita Riverfest.
Dale’s Pale Ale is one of the craft beers that will be served at this year’s Wichita Riverfest.

Craft beer is the thing in Wichita.

So it’s also going to be a thing at the Wichita River Festival.

When the event opens on May 29, festivalgoers will find that, for the first time, they’ll have choices beyond Budweiser.

This year, the festival is adding a craft beer “tap truck,” which will be tucked in under the awning of Century II adjacent to Kennedy Plaza, where all of the big concert crowds will be. The bar, run by The Bar’s Open, will have multiple taps serving craft beers including Odell’s IPA and 90 Shilling, Goose Island’s Goose 312, New Belgium’s Fat Tire, Slow Ride and Skinny Dip, Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale, and Sierra Nevada’s Nooner.

The traditional beer garden, which is set up north of the main food court near Douglas, also will be enhanced this year. Budweiser is bringing a “pop up lounge,” complete with big-screen TVs. That area will serve Bud products.

Two other bars – one just north of Kennedy Plaza and one on the north side of Douglas set up on the days that Douglas is closed – will serve beer and wine. The Riverfest’s happy hour will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday in Ackerman’s Back Yard, which is inside A. Price Woodard Park. During happy hour, that bar will offer beer, craft beer, wine and mixed drinks and some drink specials.

To celebrate the addition of craft beer to this year’s festival, organizers will be passing out samples at this afternoon’s Button Launch party, scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. at the Farm & Art Market Plaza, 835 E. First St. Admission is free, and attendees can also try some Riverfest food, hear music, meet Admiral Windwagon Smith and see a balloon artist.

The Wichita River Festival is May 29 through June 6. For more information, visit http://wichitariverfest.com.