• Steven Keith

Epic food-and-drink events fill three consecutive weekends

Get ready for three straight weekends of back-to-back-to-back “food and drink” fun!

Food samples from Taste-of-ALL Charleston
Food samples from Taste-of-ALL Charleston

After a two-year hiatus, OktoberWest returns to Charleston’s West Side on Saturday, Sept. 25.


Presented by Charleston Main Streets, this outdoor street party claims to be West Virginia’s largest traditional German Oktoberfest, in addition to being one of the largest craft beer festivals in the state.


OktoberWest beer, music and food fest
OktoberWest beer, music and food fest

Based on record-setting attendance in 2018, and again in 2019, big crowds are expected to come sample more than 100 craft beers while listening to three bands from 4 to 9 p.m. that day.


Thirsting for even more fun? There will also be stein-holding, keg-rolling, best traditional dress, sausage toss and beer-belly contests as well.


For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.cwvmainstreets.org.


Taste-of-ALL Charleston food festival
Taste-of-ALL Charleston food festival

On the following Saturday, the region’s premier food fest returns from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 2, when Taste-of-ALL Charleston and its participating restaurants, bakeries and more once again takes over inside and outside of the Four Points by Sheraton along Kanawha Boulevard.


At the longstanding celebration, now part of FestivALL, area restaurants serve up samples of some of their signature or new dishes, which the public can enjoy by purchasing tickets to redeem for each taste.


Food samples from Taste-of-ALL Charleston
Food samples from Taste-of-ALL Charleston

General admission tickets are a buck each, with each sample costing anywhere from one to four tickets. VIP tickets offer one-hour early access, plus reserved indoor seating and servers taking drink orders.


Live music, entertainment and children’s activities will be offered throughout the day, as will a cash bar to help quench your thirst after all that eating.


Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks, including an announcement of the restaurants and dishes you’ll be able to enjoy!


Foam at the Dome craft beer fest
Foam at the Dome craft beer fest

The very next weekend, another large Charleston beer fest returns, but with a new look and location on Saturday, Oct. 9.


This year’s Foam at the Dome will not only include the East End’s annual Hops & Heat Chili Cookoff, but will also move a few blocks east to take over the corner of Elizabeth Street and Washington Street East near the State Capitol.


General admission tickets are $40, Early Entry $50, Designated Driver $20. For more details or to purchase tickets, visit www.foamcwv.com.


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Finally, after teasing all of the tasty food and drink pairings leading up to this past Saturday’s Capital Cocktail Classic, I’m now following up with the winners.


All four restaurants (Bar 101, The Block, Black Sheep and Sam’s Uptown Café) deserve mad props for participating, but the people have spoken!


The Block's winning food-and-drink pairing
The Block's winning food-and-drink pairing

Best Cocktail: The Block’s Hendrick’s Lavender Bees Knees edged out Sam’s Tito’s Sangria for the drink win.

Best Food: Sam’s, however, came out on top for its Italian-inspired Enchilada ala Vodka.

Best Pairing: The Block also took top honors for its Bees Knees pairing with honey lemongrass sriracha chicken satay over a peanut kale salad.


After tasting three of the four pairings beforehand, I’d also throw my vote to The Block’s offerings as well, with the Sam’s enchilada a close second in the food race.


The Capital Cocktail Classic is presented by Fund for the Arts and benefits a dozen local arts organizations.


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Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at www.wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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