If you’re 21 years of age and like to kick back in the company of more than 200 beer enthusiasts while tasting a wide variety of exceptionally crafted homebrew, we may have plans for you on April 23.

Oh, and did we mention amazing food and live music?

That’s right folks: it’s the second annual Skagway Craft Brew Festival.

Following an awesome conversation with festival organizer, Katherine Nelson, we promptly ran out to throw our passports in the car and brew an oatmeal stout. We are pumped.

Here’s the lowdown: There is a dedicated group of homebrewers in Skagway (dubbed The Beer Club) whose president, Jim Boynton, said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could get a bunch of beer enthusiasts together to sample our beers, share tips, swap ideas, and make it a special event?”

From there, things spiraled out of control. There was music. There was food. There were door prizes. There were 200-plus enthusiastic festival-goers sampling 25 craft brews from seven local homebrewers.

It went so well that, in the spirit of Oktoberfest, it instantly became an annual event.

This year, we fear, it may be much of the same, and we want in.

As a taster/beer enthusiast, you are looking at four hours of sampling some pretty incredible craft beer. Last year the styles ricocheted from a Belgian sour ale to IPAs, ESBs, chocolate porters, ambers, a raspberry lager, a Rupert Pumpkin Stout – and more. (We did mention that Skagway homebrewers are dedicated, right?)

Community festivals of this type are fantastic ways to sample a wide variety of beer styles that you may otherwise not have the opportunity to try, and you can guarantee that each beer is made with the attention and passion that a true craft brew deserves.

In addition, you can talk directly to the brewer: how was it made? Is the recipe their own? Can they recommend a commercially available beer like it?

And of course, they need your input. The People’s Choice Award was such a success last year that for 2011 it has been widened to include first, second and third-place prizes. Simply sip, enjoy and vote.

This festival is an entirely non-pretentious event, created to include all lovers of beer, from the drinkers to the brewers.

If you are thinking about submitting a beer or two for the festival, why not make it five gallons worth? (With five gallons of homebrew, admission to the festival is free!) Registration forms are available online, but hurry; you have to be registered by April 16.

If you just plan to head to festival to enjoy Mexican tacos (whipped up by the acclaimed chef of Starfire fame), listen to Hank Karr & The Canucks, try your luck with the fistfuls of door prizes and eavesdrop on tidbits of homebrewing info from seasoned pros, admission to the festival is only $10.

If you are planning to taste beer, the entrance is $25. If you plan not to pay, then you have to win the logo contest. (We’re not even kidding. This is how cool this festival is.)

So get down to Skagway before the cruise ships arrive for a fantastic weekend of good folk and great beer. For more information on registering, the logo contest and more, take a peek under special events at www.skagwayrecreation.org. See you there!!!

Please enjoy this article responsibly.