River City Brewing had such a merry little “Christmas in July” in its taproom last summer that it’s going full Griswold this year.
Saturday’s second annual celebration, from 2 to 10 p.m., will spill out into the brewing space and parking lot as well, with the additions of food trucks, live music and games.
“We had such a good time with it last year, we decided to go all out this year and make it bigger and better,” said Emily Schwartz, the downtown brewery’s marketing and sales director.
Like last time, the taproom at 121 S. Cedar will be decorated for December, and then some.
“I got full rein this year, and I’m a bit of a Christmas fanatic,” said Schwartz. “I’ve been borrowing stuff from all of my friends. We’ll have seven Christmas trees, inflatable yard ornaments, tons of lights and garlands, the whole nine yards.”
Servers will again be dressed in holiday costumes, with Christmas music on the sound system and classic movies on TV. Santa himself will be on hand for photos with customers from 2 to 4 p.m. (actually, that’s one of Schwartz’s friends, but don’t tell the kids).
Speaking of costumes, the winner of an ugly sweater contest at 4 will receive a Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel growler.
Live music kicks off at 5 in the brewery with the pop trio Friends of Mine, followed at 7:30 by the nine-piece R&B ensemble L.O.S. (Left Over Soul). The 3 Ninjas and Mac Daddy’s food trucks will be in the parking lot along with cornhole and ladder ball games.
And yes, there will be beer – including the last remaining keg of 2014 Deep Thaw winter warmer (which hasn’t been brewed since, and was tasting great at January’s anniversary party) and both the rich, original 2015 and drier 2016 renditions of the anniversary Congratulator Doppelbock.
Five variations on the winter seasonal Midnight Marmot imperial stout also are coming out of the cellar: last year’s regular and nitro versions, plus the final taproom releases of Marmot conditioned over French oak and raspberry, whiskey-soaked oak chips, and oak chips and cocoa beans (aka Oako-Coco, also on nitro).
Some of those specialties are in smaller sixth-barrel kegs, Schwartz said: “It’s definitely first come, first serve on those so be sure to get there early.”
On the more summery side, there will be two soured options – the Tart Saison collaboration with Perry Street Brewing and Gose-Away, a “recovery” beer brewed with energy drink-style electrolytes plus cranberry, acai and orange – along with the spring seasonal Clocktower Imperial IPA, summer seasonal Inconceivable Imperial Pilsner and a small-batch Munich Helles light lager.
“It will be hot, and we want people to be able to hang out all day,” Schwartz said of the lighter offerings.
You’ll buy beer tickets at the door for $3 each, with an eight-ounce pour for one ticket and a full pint for two. Since it’s an all-ages event, it’s also worth mentioning that River City makes its own root beer.
And in the true Christmas spirit of giving, donations of nonperishable food will be collected for the Our Place Community Ministries food bank in the West Central neighborhood.