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JJ Grey of JJ Grey & Mofro.

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Southern Brewers Festival sees big bump in beer offerings this year

They can definitely come and drink for a good cause. That's not hard to sell. If nothing more, they can rest assured that all the proceeds will go to a good cause.

If you go

› What: Southern Brewers Festival.

› When: 2 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Aug. 20.

› Where: Ross’s Landing, Riverfront Parkway.

› Admission: $30 at gate, includes beer mug and one beer token (good for a half-pour); $135 VIP package, includes unlimited beer and food, reserved seating and access to air-conditioned restrooms; 10 additional beer tokens can be purchased in advance for $18.

› Phone: 423-757-5259.

› Website: southernbrewersfestival.com.

The bands

› JJ Grey & Mofro — Blue-collar Floridians whose music combines elements of soul, blues, funk, Southern rock and R&B.

› Perpetual Groove — Athens, Ga.-based arena rock quartet known for its enthusiastic live performances and an “intense, retina-burning, intelligent light show.”

› Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue — The latest project by the founder and lead singer of The Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies. Recipient of the inaugural Best Roots Gospel Album Grammy Award.

› Nick Lutsko & The Gimmix — A Chattanooga-based hook-filled pop rocker and his backing band of man puppets. Winner of this year’s Road to Nightfall battle of the bands.

If there's one thing better than relaxing with a cold beer on the weekend, it's doing it while helping out a charity and enjoying live music on the river.

Over the course of 22 years, the Southern Brewers Festival has established itself as an annual gathering that caters to fans of live music and craft beer in almost equal measure.

"The beer... [is] still a large part of what we do, but obviously, we also recognize that Chattanooga and Tennessee, in general, is huge into music," says Adam Bradbury, a senior manager of the CraftWorks Foundation, the charitable arm of CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc., which organizes the festival.

"Obviously, [music and beer] pair well," he adds. "It's creating a diverse music opportunity, year over year, that will cater to a lot of different tastes. You can say the same thing about the beer. We offer a variety of styles, so that everyone who attends feels they can enjoy the beer they're drinking and the music they're listening to."

This year's festival takes place Saturday, Aug. 20, at Ross's Landing and is expected to draw about 10,000 people. Attendees will be able to sample beers by dozens of breweries and enjoy music by four bands, including JJ Grey & Mofro, Perpetual Groove, Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue and Nick Lutsko & The Gimmix.

Bradbury says he expects the event to generate $150,000 to $160,000, which will go toward funding programming at the CraftWorks Foundation and Chattanooga's Kids on the Block.

Beer fans who attend the event will find this year's crop of 60 breweries to be the largest in the history of the event, which typically sees 50 or fewer in attendance.

"There's been a lot of interest this year, which is great and probably speaks to the growing craft beer market in the area," Bradbury says. "It's really just a ton of styles to select from."

Despite the regionalism implied by its name, Southern Brewers sources its suds from around the nation. There's a strong showing of brewers from Alabama (Straight to Ale, Back Forty), Tennessee (Yee Haw, Blackstone), Georgia (Terrapin, Red Hare) and North Carolina (Highland, Hi-Wire), but the selection also includes breweries from as far away as Hawaii (Kona) and Oregon (Deschutes).

"Every year, by the natural process of things, you'll get new and up-and-coming breweries coming in," Bradbury says. "It's fun and makes for a different experience for people who come every year to try a new brewer. It's really important."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

Participating breweries

› Abita Brewing Co. (Covington, La.)

› Angry Orchard Hard Cider (Walden, N.Y.)

› Back Forty Beer Co. (Gadsden, Ala.)

› Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits (San Diego)

› Bell’s Brewing (Kalamazoo, Mich.)

› Big River Grille & Brewing Works (Chattanooga)

› Blackhorse Brewery (Knoxville)

› Blackstone Brewing Co. (Nashville)

› Blue Moon Brewing Co. (Golden, Colo.)

› Bold Rock Hard Cider (Arrington, Va.)

› Boston Brewery - Samuel Adams (Boston)

› Brooklyn Brewery (New York City)

› Carolina Brewery (Chapel Hill/Pittsboro, N.C.)

› Catawba Valley Brewing Co. (Morganton, N.C.)

› Chattanooga Brewing Co. (Chattanooga)

› Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Ore.)

› Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. (Roseland, Va.)

› Dogfish Head Brewing Co. (Milton, Del.)

› Fannin Brewing Co. (Blue Ridge, Ga.)

› Fat Bottom Brewing Co. (Nashville)

› Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem, N.C.)

› Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

› Good People Brewing Co. (Birmingham, Ala.)

› Goose Island Brewery (Chicago)

› Grayton Beer Co. (Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.)

› Green Man Brewery (Asheville, N.C.)

› Guinness (Dublin, Ireland)

› Hi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, N.C.)

› Highland Brewing Co. (Asheville, N.C.)

› Jackalope Brewing Co. (Nashville)

› Jacob Leinenkugel’s Brewing Co. (Chippewa Falls, Wis.)

› Jekyll Brewing Co. (Alpharetta, Ga.)

› Kona Brewing Co. (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii)

› Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, Calif./Chicago)

› McHale’s Brewhouse (Chattanooga)

› McKenzie’s Hard Cider (West Seneca, N.Y.)

› New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colo.)

› North Coast Brewing Co. (Fort Bragg, Calif.)

› RJ Rockers Brewing Co. (Spartanburg, S.C.)

› Red Hare Brewing Co. (Marietta, Ga.)

› Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House (Cincinnati, Ohio)

› Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, Calif.)

› Sixpoint Brewery (New York City)

› Small Town Brewery (Wauconda, Ill.)

› Smuttynose Brewing Co. (Hampton, N.H.)

› Spoetzel Brewery - Shiner Beers (Shiner, Texas)

› Straight to Ale Brewing (Huntsville, Ala.)

› Sweet Water Brewing Co. (Atlanta)

› TailGate Beer (Nashville)

› Tallgrass Brewing Co. (Manhattan, Kan.)

› Tennessee Brew Works (Nashville)

› Terminal Brewhouse (Chattanooga)

› Terrapin Beer Co. (Athens, Ga.)

› The Duck Rabbit Brewery (Farmville, N.C.)

› The Traveler Beer Co. (Burlington, Vt.)

› Wild Heaven Craft Beers (Decatur, Ga.)

› Wiseacre Brewing (Memphis)

› Woodchuck Hard Cider (Middlebury, Vt.)

› Yee Haw Brewing Co. (Johnson City, Tenn.)

› Yellowhammer Brewing (Huntsville, Ala.)

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