The Fountain of ‘Brewth’: Ponce de Leon beer fest taps kegs to help kids

Beer Fest Featured Image

Photo by Dylan Goldmanz

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Beer-lovers and brewmasters came together last Saturday for the second annual Ponce de Leon Beer Festival at the Yaarab Shrine on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta.

One of the five events listed on Creative Loafing’s “Things to Do” list, the festival featured craft beers from over 30 breweries – most native to Georgia, with a small sprinkling of out-of-state representation in the mix – and included big names like Sweetwater and Terrapin, and up-and-comers including  Twains Brewpub and Billiards, Second Self Beer Company and Monday Night Brewing.

“We always want to make sure the beer quality is top notch,” said Rebecca Jennings, festival organizer and founder of Enterwoven Productions.

Jennings was contacted by the Shriners about putting together the festival last Spring, the proceeds of which – less overhead – benefit The Shriners Hospitals for Children.

To keep overhead costs low, Jennings primarily uses social media to advertise the event, the rest being donations from local publications. “I’ve heard so many people badmouth social media, and I am one of the biggest advocates for it. It’s a free tool, it’s just about how you utilize it,” Jennings said.

A beer lover herself, Jennings is personally invested in the quality and purpose of the event, having friends who were helped by the Shriners when they were young.

Thimblerig Circus member Adam Lowe, 36, juggled while walking around on stilts. His other acts include fire-breathing – both on and off stilts – glass walking and the bullwhip.                           Photo by Dylan Goldman

Thimblerig Circus' Jen Montgomery specializes in juggling and driving nails into her face as human blockhead Kizka Myazka.

Thimblerig Circus’ Jen Montgomery specializes in juggling and driving nails into her face as human blockhead Kizka Myazka.                                                              Photo by Dylan Goldman

“To be able to bring people in and give them the most enjoyable experience around a festival is what I’m trying to create,” she explained. “I don’t want it to just be beer, I want it to be amazing beer.”

From hoppy India Pale Ales (IPA) and deep caramel-colored Stouts to delicate, full-bodied Wheats with subtle notes and aromas, each beer provided the palate with new and complex under- and overtones unique to the breweries they came from.

Along with an extensive tasting assortment of craft brews were Atlanta’s “deifiers of death, definers of fun”, the Thimblerig Circus. The circus of three – Jen Montgomery, Jason Munger and Adam Lowe – met while working at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. The for-hire act has performed at events all over town, including the Georgia Renaissance Festival and East Atlanta Beer Fest.

“While many side shows ask that you be in awe or shocked, we work the make the audience laugh with us – and at us,” explained Montgomery. “Our tricks are dangerous and impressive, but we like to think that we bring a whole lot more to the stage than just the stunts.”

Great beer and entertainment was topped off by live music from local bands including, Migrant Worker, Sweet Auburn String Band, Villain Family, Sweetwater Creek and Auction House Letters.

As for the future of the festival, Jennings hopes to continue bringing Atlanta the best she can deliver. “People just love that little touch of connecting and feeling like [they’re] a part of something,” she explained. “And that’s what I want to fulfill moving forward…just making people feel alive through that.”

Thirsty for more? Check out the Ponce de Leon Beer Festival in Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Weekend Roundup.

Participating Breweries @

The Second Annual Ponce de Leon Beer Festival

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