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Events join forces for a day of music, beer, running

By Bethany Knipp

Throw together a race, a beer competition and tasting and a music festival and you’ve got a Rhythm and Brews. 

The event was an all-day affair comprising Manhattan Running Company’s Brew 2 Shoe 5k and 10k races on Saturday morning, the Hail the Ale competition throughout the day and the Little Apple Music festival, put on by K-State’s Union Program Council, in the evening.

“We wanted to make each one of those events stronger by making one big event,” UPC program manager Beth Bailey said.

Marcia Rozell, the Rhythm and Brews coordinator and tourism sales manager at Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau said that though the Brew 2 Shoe race and the music festival has been going for years, organizers decided that having them all in one weekend would be good for Manhattan.

The evening portion of events with the microbrewery tasting and music festival was held in City Park.

Rozell called it “a classy, elegant evening in the park with beer.”

“We wanted to bring these events together to grow them and to bring people from out of town,” she said.

The race, in its sixth year, was created to celebrate the anniversaries of Manhattan Running Company and Tallgrass Brewery. After hundreds of runners made it to the finish line, those 21 and older could drink Tallgrass beer. The race raised money for the Special Olympics.

The music festival, in its 10th year, featured headliner The Steel Wheels, an Americana band based in Virginia; Samantha Fish, a blues rock singer from Kansas City; Noah Hoehn, a new blues performer from Minneapolis; and Vinyard Rock, a pop and rock band from Manhattan. The festival raised money for the Arts in the Park concert series. But for the first time and as a first in the state of Kansas as a part of Rhythm and Brews, a homebrewing competition called Hail the Ale was created, thanks to a Kansas law effective in late April that allows homemade beers to be tasted outside the home in competitions.

“Since the law passed we have actually been able to share our beer with each other,” said Kenna Jasperson, the competition’s registrar and president of the beer enthusiast group helping with it called the Cluster Fuggles.

The competition was sanctioned by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). Judges have to pass tests in order to be able to evaluate beer for the program.

“It’s a big deal to all the homebrewers who want to see how they’re doing with their craft,” Rozell said.

Jasperson said the event had 84 entries in 23 categories. Nine judges tasted the beer throughout Saturday. Winners were announced at the Little Apple Music festival and given gold, silver and bronze medals.

“To brew a good beer I think a lot of people felt the crunch,” Rozell said. Brewers didn’t have much time to make their drinks this year because the competition depended on the law’s passage.

“We did not think that it was going to go through, so we took this home brewing competition off the table,” Jasperson said.

But it did.

Fellow Cluster Fuggle and director of judges for the competition Brandon Gunn said the group is just excited that happened.

“We’re just excited that Kansas law finally allows us to do it,” Gunn said.

Rozell said that the hope is that Rhythm and Brews will continue as a festival in the first weekend of August for years to come.

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