Beards, brews converge at Holiday Inn

Lindsey Haney of the Style Lounge trims Shawn Martin's beard Friday night at Brew-Beard-B.S. at the Holiday Inn Conference Center. Jason Schoonover/

Lindsey Haney of the Style Lounge trims Shawn Martin’s beard Friday night at Brew-Beard-B.S. at the Holiday Inn Conference Center. Jason Schoonover/

They came, they saw, they tried beers.

More than a hundred people gathered at the Holiday Inn Conference Center Friday night to celebrate facial hair, sip beers, listen to music and more during Brew-Beard-B.S., a beard/mustache competition and craft beer tasting.

People like Catherine Haslag and Shawn Martin, both of Austin, enjoyed the opportunity to try craft beers from about seven breweries, including many flavors not normally available in Austin.

Whalen and the Willows. Jason Schoonover/

Whalen and the Willows. Jason Schoonover/

“I think stuff like this is exactly what Austin needs,” Martin said.

Haslag called the event fabulous and said she hopes she has the chance to attend it again.

“I hope it becomes a yearly event,” she said.

Austin Area Commissioner for the Arts Executive Director Jennie Knoebel and her father, Scott, attended the event and both like trying different beers.

“It’s enjoyable to get to taste the varieties,” Scott said.

The two are no strangers to such flavors, as Jennie and Scott have toured several Minnesota breweries across the state.

“The craft brewery scene is very exciting,” Scott said.

Jennie compared touring the breweries to a beer scavenger hunt and said each brewery has its own unique flavor.

Rob Blahak came all the way from Lincoln, Nebraska, to drink some beers and compete for best beard.

“So far I’m digging the atmosphere,” he said.

His wife Ashlee’s family lives in Adams.

Blahak typically shaves his beard each July and then lets it grow the rest of the year. He said his beard attracts a lot of positive attention.

“I’ve had random guys buy me beers, random chick buy me beers,” he said.

While people also like to come up and stroke his beard, Blahak joked his wife doesn’t like people touching his beard — so he didn’t volunteer for the beard stroking booth Friday night.

Blahak has competed in several other best beard competitions, and he’s won several best beard competitions at a Warrior Dash in Nebraska.

While a date is not yet set, organizer Ben Ankeny, the Holiday Inn’s director of catering, said the event will likely be held again.

Rob Blahak

Rob Blahak

Brew-Beard-B.S. winners

Beer Snob Award: Boulder Brewing Shake Chocolate Porter

—Chosen by the 9 person panel of Eric Ihrke, Jennie Knoebel, Scott Knoebel, Chris Tok, Jason Schoonover, Nick Roth, Evan Tieskotter, Liz Ankeny and Jill Jones

Crowd favorite beard: Rob Blahak

Crowd favorite mustache: Adam Wradislavsky

Crowd favorite brewery: August Schell’s Brewing Company of New Ulm

Estimated Attendance: 130


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