Forever Summer Festival brings international brewers and others without distribution in Virginia.

Updated: Tickets have sold out according to the Veil’s website.

More than 40 national and local breweries—as well as some from Sweden, Belgium and England—will be pouring samples at Richmond’s Main Street Station on Saturday, July 22 for The Veil Brewing Company’s annual Forever Summer beer festival.

Matt Tarpey, co-founder and head brewer at The Veil says the festival is something they’ve been doing since opening in 2016. “We actually started the beer festival and the whole concept, the summer of our grand opening,” says Tarpey. “We did it in the parking lot of our Roseneath original location. I think we did that for at least one or two years.” They moved it to the Virginia War Memorial for a year, he adds, but paused for 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

One of Tarpey’s goals with the festival is to invite brewers who don’t normally have distributors. Many also happen to be from different parts of the world and have a connection with him. “A lot of the people that are attending the festival are actual friends of mine and colleagues that I’ve met before and spent some time with [at] other beer festivals all around the world,” he explains. “I think there’s only five international brewers, two from Belgium, one from Sweden, one from England and one from Spain. We know we were supposed to have our friends from New Zealand to be a part of it too. But they weren’t able to. We weren’t able to figure it all out. It was a little kind of last minute, you know, some of these international things, take some serious logistics and all that stuff.”

But international brewers aren’t the only ones coming. “We have them all over the US everywhere,” Tarpey says. “Florida, New York—every corner of California up to Oregon and all the way up to upstate New York and Portland, Maine, all the way down to Florida. And all in between.”

Local breweries aren’t being left out, he says, though the numbers are small. “There’s actually minimal brewers that are attending from Virginia,” he says. Besides The Veil, there are only three local Virginia breweries—but that’s the point. “The whole intent of the beer festival to begin with was [that] it wasn’t supposed to be a Virginia beer festival, because there’s already like 75 of those,” he points out. “That kind of speaks to our whole business model … we aren’t trying to be one of the other hundreds of Virginia breweries in the in the state. We want to set ourselves apart, to do something different. We want our spaces to feel different.”

Tarpey says the idea of creating a festival with his friends and colleagues also gives local beer fans access to breweries who don’t distribute in the state. “I wanted to be able to create this cool special event for the local beer community,” says Tarpey. “To where they could come and get this once-in-a-year chance to be able to try all these beers that they wouldn’t be able to try unless they literally went to all of their tap rooms to try them.”

General admission for the Forever Summer festival costs $65 and V.I.P. tickets—which include the chance to interact with brewers—are $95. There’s also a designated driver admission ticket for $5. All proceeds will be donated to the local nonprofit Childsavers, which provides mental health services and childcare resources. “All incredible folks. We’ve been working with them since day one on this festival,” says Tarpey. “They are doing amazing things for the city, and they really are hyper focused on a lot of different avenues of mental health and after school programs.”

Tarpey adds that the cost for this year’s festival is actually less than previous years—and that the price shouldn’t scare people away because it’s expensive. “This is the cheapest ticket we’ve ever had. Last year, our ticket was $175 or something and there was only one ticket,” he says. “We’ve completely changed the format of the beer festival this year, for the first year ever.”

Throwing a festival, especially at Main Street Station, is expensive, he says, and many people don’t realize the costs and logistics involved. “I mean, just the space is thousands of dollars. We have to hire security, we have to pay for just the pouring dispensing units. Each one of those are anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on the type of unit that you get.”

Plus, with more brewers on hand and many of them bringing more than one type of beer, Tarpey says they have to expand their draft system to accommodate them. “It’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars just for free for one kick,” he says.

They’ve already sold over 800 tickets to the event, he adds, but beer lovers should still be able to get a ticket up the last day.


The Veil Brewing Company’s Forever Summer Festival takes place at Main Street Station on Saturday, July 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission tickets cost $65. 1500 East Main St. For more info, visit The Veil’s website.